Reading and Writing: An Expert Debate on the Importance of Both

A woman reads a book near the window of a well-lit room

For as long as books have existed, people have been debating whether reading and writing are inseparable. Maybe you’re a busy person or you simply can’t match your friends’ reading goals, but you may have an itching question bothering you: Is reading important to becoming a good writer? Regardless of your position on this issue, you can read the article dedicated to this topic and study what the experts say. 

Meet Leticia Adamson, a PhD in English Literature and Head of the ESL Program at, who believes that reading is important if you want to improve your writing. Another guest is Victoria Brown, a B.A in Marketing and Head of the Marketing Department at, who suggests that reading is not the only way to improve writing skills. We have asked them to provide a few answers for our team. 

Q: Can you agree that reading improves writing?

Leticia: In my opinion, reading benefits people who want to get better at writing because it teaches them which words to use, what to expect, and which tropes and ideas are becoming outdated. I feel deeply sorry for the people who don’t engage in reading for this or that reason. They are missing so much. 

An infographic shows the percentage of people who don’t read

Source: Wordsrated

Victoria: I love your stance, Leticia, but as you know, my reading comes and goes. I think there are many more ways to become a better writer that do not necessarily include reading alone. In general, yes, you can read and write better, but only if you know what you’re actually studying.

If you simply read a lot of stories but don’t stop to focus on whether they are good or bad, it won’t make much of a difference. 

Leticia: I agree that a better writer analyzes content in-depth, and doesn’t simply read with little reflection! 

Victoria: Yep, reading & writing both require skills. 

Q: Can you suggest books to read to become a better writer? 

Victoria: I’ll be honest, I don’t know lots of books to improve writing skills, but I think that the best thing you can do is read about the topic or genre you’re passionate about. For instance, I love the young adult genre, so whenever I think about continuing working on my novel, I remind myself of the power of reading and study the most popular pieces published during a given year. 

Leticia: Good point. But you mustn’t read books in only one genre. Generally speaking, my best books to improve writing skills include “On Writing” by Stephen King, which I assume is a very popular text for all aspiring writers. On my writing journey, I found book writing help in “The Anatomy of the Story” by John Truby and William Zinsser’s “On Writing Well.” 

Victoria: I wrote a nice romance story using Truby’s structure, so I should admit that I benefited from reading as a writer. It just takes too much time from me. 

Leticia: Which brings us to the next question, right?

Q: Does becoming a better essay writer require reading everyday

Victoria: Obviously, I will say “No”, because reading/writing requires a lot of work. As a person who earns a living not as a writer, but as an office worker, I understand that in juggling my family, job, and work with professionals, every day reading is not something that I can manage. 

Leticia: When I was younger, I often asked myself “Does reading improve writing? What makes someone a good writer?” I realized that if I was ready to commit myself to something as important as the skill of writing, I needed to do my best. That’s why I realized that although life is hard, to become a better writer you must read as much as possible. 

Victoria: You’re right. If I can’t read something that requires a lot of involvement during the day, I’ve got a list of well written articles that can also teach me! And it helps me feel accomplished.

Leticia: That’s what I was thinking, too. You can learn to read and write bit by bit. This regular practice is especially important for our brain. 

Numerous studies have shown that 15-30 minutes of reading change the way our brain works. What is more, reading is a great way to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. 

So, though your daily routine might be pretty loaded, 15 minutes could work miracles from a longtime perspective.

Q: What do you do to ensure that reading helps to become a better writer?

Leticia: In my opinion, becoming a better reader is the first step to having a better learning experience. It’s not just about writing skills; it’s also about how you perceive the world. I’m sorry if I’m getting a little bit poetic here, Victoria. 

Victoria: No worries, I like your dedication! 

Leticia: As I was saying, writing and reading are essential and interconnected, so the first thing you do is read for pleasure or knowledge, without analyzing anything. I made this mistake when I was a student; I analyzed before enjoying my reading, and it spoiled the process. 

The benefits of reading aren’t limited to the help with writing it can offer. You have to love what you do. You have to love the words. 

After that, I always ask questions:

  • What made the text good?
  • Did it appeal to me on an emotional or intellectual level?
  • What are the elements of the author’s style that I liked, and can I use them? 

Victoria: Yes, when you become a better reader, you make use of every word you read. Well, maybe not every, but you consider all the details. 

A list that demonstrates five benefits of reading books

Q: What are the common misconceptions out there about the connection between reading and writing

Leticia: I think the first thing lots of people fail to understand is that learning to read doesn’t end when you simply get the meaning of the sentences. 

Victoria: Yes, I read an interesting article about reading, and the author said that we don’t pay enough attention to how to read. That’s why you can read up to 200 books a year and not remember a thing. 

Leticia: I know that it may anger some people, but to me, the biggest misconception is that what makes a good writer is not the same as what makes a good reader. A lot of people can be great readers, but they make pretty bad writers. Obviously, you may read more and know your craft better, but don’t think about the benefit of reading from that standpoint only. 

Victoria: I’m glad I didn’t make this idea up!

Leticia: I don’t think you’re entirely wrong on that part, Vic.

Victoria: I just believe that reading and writing skills don’t always go together. You can write and read and still do badly. So, of course, you learn from whatever you can. But you can be more creative if you meet interesting people or talk to those who use their language well. 

Leticia: I like this claim.

Students tend to dismiss writing opportunities offered by other media, but I’ve got a lot of fresh ideas and even writing opportunities from alternative sources, such as video games or reddit forums. Basically, you can find help for writers anywhere if you want it. 

Q: What can you propose to those who have high expectations for themselves as readers and writers?

Victoria: Don’t push yourself towards that idea. There’s no need to create a reading vs writing debate.

If you want to be a good writer, start with writing. You’ll feel what you need to do next. Don’t read to write

Leticia: Despite my love for reading and writing books, I agree with you on this one quite strongly. Writing can help you improve your writing skills, but if you read simply to do something out of hate, nothing will come out of it. Find the middle ground and remind yourself that among all the benefits of reading and writing, joy is the main one. 

Victoria: I guess it’s a great ending for today. 

Leticia: Agreed. See you! 

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Steven Bloom
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Steven is an IT student who constantly seeks new opportunities for self-development. He is also fond of popular culture and entertainment. Lately, Steven has started writing about the challenges he faces as a student. He finds it helpful to brainstorm when difficult tasks arise.