Introduction to Literature
Essay 2 – Choose Your Own Adventure
There is no question that a connection between reading and writing exists. Although, to what degree does one have to be immersed into literature for it to influence students’ writing experiences? Some ideas to help formulate answers and support this connection can be found in the two following articles in which, authors address the relationship between reading and writing. In the first piece titled The Reading-Writing Connection, author Olness (2005) offers insight to this connection by assembling many teachers and researchers information on the connection between reading, writing, and the value of quality children’s literature. Olness provides examples and ideas of how to successfully join reading with writing in the classroom. In the second article titled Literary Borrowing: The Effects of Literature on Children’s Writing, Lancia (1997) investigates the frequency and diversity of the independent ways children use ideas from literature while composing. Lancia illustrates the active relationship between reading and writing through a study he conducted within his second grade classroom. Both of these articles address the strong connection that reading imposes on student compositions and how inexorably writing affects all aspects of reading and the use of language.
Olness (2005) begins her piece with quotes from prominent teachers and researchers to support the connection between reading and writing and states, “the primary reason for exposing children to quality literature is for its aesthetic value; a secondary benefit is its influence on student writing” (p. 1). Olness continues by explaining the ways students develop literary skills and awareness, expansion of vocabulary, and overall literature experience by hearing the language of good writers, which transfers to students composition and the “necessary elements of writing” (p.2).
The author then discusses using authors as mentors and the benefit to students being that they learn a variety authors crafts and writing elements. She then makes a very significant point stating that teachers need to share “that most authors had mentors and were influenced by the writing of others” (p. 2). Next, Olness discusses the consideration of audience as a focal point to writers. She states that writers must decide what to include or leave out of their writing and the importance of audience to a composition that students will then begin to write with an audience in mind, then lists suggestions for writing activities to help students explore the audience as a focal point for their compositions.
The author continues by stressing the importance of having a writer’s notebook readily available as a place to “keep ideas, thoughts, reactions, and words” (p. 5). Olness continues by addressing the use of a variety of genres in the classroom to be used as models for different styles of writing. Within this portion of the text, Olness includes a...