Reflecting on Reading Like a Writer

So I took some time to create a video about the system I created in order to track and reflect on my summer reading. Because I pushed myself to reflect in a new medium, I feel like I dug deeper into the work I’ve done with reading like a writer. (I hope it’s not too boring.) Although I’m very new at creating videos, I know I’m learning more each time and I’m also pleased with how much I learned about myself as a reader and writer because I took the time to create this video.

In a more traditional means of reflection (writing a blog post), I made a list of the things I learned here.

After creating this video, here is a more refined answer to the question: What am I learning from all of this reading?

I have a more intimate understanding of the organic link between reading and writing. As I read, I became a better writer. Because I was reading like a writer, I was driven to write and create and make sense of life by putting words on the page. I was understanding life in new ways through the stories unfolding as I read, but I needed to understand the life I am living by writing. I was intentional about learning the art of writing through my reading. What I didn’t realize was a deeper understanding of key literary elements would emerge.  I wanted to try my hand at the things I was noticing. It is this – the process of attempting to put into practice the different strategies – that made me understand literary elements more personally. Frankly, I have more understanding of literary elements after four months of intentional reading and noticing than I did after years of sitting in English classes throughout high school, college, and graduate school.

Obviously, my little writer’s notebook was a key to this. I was able to toss it in with my other supplies, so when the mood struck, I could try out my learning instantly. When I try it, I have a deeper understanding of the writing process. This is the link that is missing for many students. We can’t just talk about literary elements, pointing them in stories, asking kids to regurgitate answers to questions at the end of each reading if we want our students to have a deep understanding of literature. We must allow the opportunity for them to play with words and develop their own understandings as they write.

Next week I’ll write about how I’m taking my learning even deeper by rereading some of my favorite books to learn the inner-workings of this genre.