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Chapter 4 Reading to Write Because this chapter is so closely connected to Chapter 3, let’s briefly review a few key points from that chapter that provide a helpful lead-in to this chapter. First, reading-writing relations can be approached from three models: directional, nondirectional, and bidirectional (Eisterhold 1990). The directional model, which Eisterhold saw as the most salient model from the teaching perspective, is the one underpinning Chapters 3 and 4. While acknowledging the intricate connections and reciprocity between reading and writing, the directional model nevertheless works on the premise of a primary movement from writing to reading or from reading to writing. In Chapter 3, we saw the “from writing to reading” movement in terms of writing supporting reading, and within that, this dominant theme: that writing serves as an invaluable tool in allowing readers to make sense of reading. Writing about reading strengthens reading. In this chapter, we’ll see reading-writing connections cast in a somewhat different light than in Chapter 3. Here, we’ll look principally at the role of input in connecting reading and writing. More specifically, we’ll explore how various uses of target language input deriving from reading influence writing development. The theme of this chapter is that it’s primarily through meaningful input that reading supports writing. Various terms are used when discussing the core notion of from reading to writing. These include reading for writing, reading to write, reading while writing, and writerly reading. In essence, they are all related to the fundamental belief that at least in academic or school settings, reading is a prelude to 110 writing that shapes writing. Carson (1993) provides a nice definition of this notion: The phrase reading for writing can be understood as referring most specifically to the literacy event in which readers /writers use text(s) that they read, or have read, as a basis for text(s) that they write. . . . Reading for writing can also be understood as acknowledging that writing is often the resultant physical artifact of reading/writing encounters . (p. 85) To flesh this definition out a little more, consider these few well-known statements that, in general terms, frame discussions of reading for writing (the term to be used in the remainder of this chapter): Probably no one doubts that reading plays a major role in learning to write. (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1984, p. 163). . . . reading is what makes it possible for us to write rather than the other way around. (Leki, 1992, p. 468) Teaching writing without teaching reading is not teaching writing at all. (Kroll, 1993, p. 75) Everything points to the necessity of learning to write from what we read. (Smith, 1983, p. 560) In this chapter, we’ll explore the basis for such statements and discuss their implications for and applications in classroom practice. Before looking at some of the specific ways in which writing for reading is categorized and discussed, let’s first provide more of the framework for looking at reading-writing connections from this direction. In his often cited book Writing: Research, Theory, and Applications (1984), Stephen Krashen links the well-known distinction between competence and performance—a distinction at the heart of the dominant communicative language Reading to Write 111 teaching methodology—to the acquisition of writing skills. We know that competence refers to knowledge of something, while performance refers to the ability to use the knowledge stored in competence. With respect to writing, Krashen explains : We gain competence in writing the same way we gain competence in oral language: by understanding messages encoded in written language, by reading for meaning. In this way we gain a subconscious “feel” for written language, we acquire this code as a second dialect. (pp. 27–28) This statement is at the heart of Krashen’s belief that “it is reading that gives the writer the ‘feel’ for the look and texture of reader-based prose” (p. 20). Krashen goes on to say that The competence/performance theory . . . implies that instruction in writing should not focus on teaching form directly , but should instead encourage the subconscious acquisition of form through reading and give students procedures that will facilitate the discovery of meaning and an efficient writing process. (p. 39) In other words, knowledge of writing comes from the input provided by reading. In this case, Krashen’s use of the term form refers to the rules or conventions of writing in the target language. Because these rules and conventions, which may vary considerably...


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