Neil
Is it true that the best way to develop writing is through reading?
To develop listening we need to listen, to develop speech we need to speak, to develop reading we need to read. Following this line of thought, to develop writing, we would need to write, right? However, many people claim that what improves writing is reading, because through reading we learn a good vocabulary and grammar implicitly. Do you agree with that?
Jun 2, 2020 5:23 PM
Comments · 15
Sure but there's way more to it than that, especially if we consider writing to be a creative process...
“I think the first task for the aspiring novelist is to read tons of novels. Sorry to start with such a commonplace observation, but no training is more crucial. To write a novel, you must first understand at a physical level how one is put together . . . It is especially important to plow through as many novels as you can while you are still young. Everything you can get your hands on—great novels, not-so-great novels, crappy novels, it doesn’t matter (at all!) as long as you keep reading. Absorb as many stories as you physically can. Introduce yourself to lots of great writing. To lots of mediocre writing too. This is your most important task.”
Haruki Murakami
June 2, 2020
According to the logic that we learn to speak by speaking and to write by writing, I should have been a terrible writer when I first started penning short stories at the age of six or seven. The truth is, I wasn't as bad as I should have been, and I attribute this to the many hours spent reading and listening to stories long before I put pen to paper.

In my opinion, the popular idea of learning to do by doing isn't applicable to all fields, has limited relevance in the context of language development and encourages a simplistic approach. Exposure to many good stories was the most important factor in the development of my writing skills, not writing itself.
June 2, 2020
Neil writes:
<em>“Do you find it interesting to read with the aid of an audiobook?”</em>

For English, with its crazy spelling system and weird phonology, listening is most definitely beneficial to the majority of English learners. You may want to try listening without reading — it could be quite an “ear-opener”.  Believe me, when a student has learned primarily through reading, it's really obvious, and not in a good way.

Note: The usual phrase is "eye-opener", but I've taken the liberty of modifying it for the context.
June 2, 2020
The method I used to develop my ability to write in Spanish was this:
I bought Spanish novels that were for teenagers, and I copied them.
Page by page.
Line by line.
With a pen and a notebook.
I copied entire novels on paper.
Often I did not understand the words I was writing, but I developed a sense of grammar, structure, and spelling.
And eventually I understood what I was copying.
O método que eu usei para desenvolver minha capacidade de escrever em espanhol foi o seguinte:
Comprei romances espanhóis para adolescentes e os copiei.
Página por página.
Linha por linha.
Com uma caneta e um caderno.
Copiei romances inteiros no papel.
Frequentemente, não entendia as palavras que escrevia, mas desenvolvi um senso de gramática, estrutura e ortografia.
E finalmente entendi o que estava copiando.
June 2, 2020
Reading is incredible beneficial to writing. You will find that writers tend to be voracious readers as reading fuels the imagination.
June 2, 2020
Show More
Neil
Language Skills
English, Portuguese
Learning Language
English