Significance of Reading and Writing

The significance of Reading and writing is to project inner feelings and thoughts to the outside world.  Whether the content is academic or creative, reading and writing takes ideas and emotions that people have and makes them real for others to experience.  On the other end, reading and writing is a rewarding activity.  It can educate people and expand their horizons as well as be a spiritual way of expressing oneself that may not have been possible through speech.   I think that reading and writing should originate within someone rather than be pressed upon someone from the outside.  Reading and writing can be a very personal activity but it does have a social aspect in that a person interacts with another when they read or write.  A reader interacts with the author when they read by listening to what the author has to say and using those ideas to form his or her own.  On the other hand, a writer interacts with the reader, whether the reader is a teacher, peer, or a general reader by conversing and trying to convey the message to their audience.  Also, the authors can even be interacting with themselves as the reader of their own work through reflection, contemplation and revision.  Sven Birkerts says that, “Literature holds meaning not as a content that can be abstracted and summarized but as experience.  It is a participatory arena”.  I agree with this view because both reading and writing require action and effort in order for it to have meaning. 

My Experiences in Writing:

One of the more significant experiences I had with reading and writing was when I was in my freshman year of high school.  I was assigned an extensive research paper in my honors biology class.  To date, this paper was one of the most difficult things I have ever written.  I chose for my topic the effect of fertilizer runoff on the crab population in the Chesapeake Bay watershed.  My paper ended up being about 15 pages and I worked on researching and writing it over about three months including an oral presentation.  This assignment, despite its strenuous requirements, really helped me as a writer.  I think that writing should be a result of an inner urge or inspiration in order to express thoughts or a topic that one feels strongly about.  Obviously this assignment did not encourage me to write what I thought but instead made me go outside of my comfort level and find information that could assist my argument. 

            Writing in school is often similar to this project I did in high school.  Usually it is not up to a student to pick the assignment but instead their teacher issues an assignment and the student does it in a way that hopefully will be well perceived by the teacher.  I think this is a bad approach for writing at its basic roots but it is a necessary part of people’s literary development.  Writing and reading can be both a painful and rewarding endeavor.  Just like a marathon runner or an Olympic weight lifter needs to stress themselves in order to improve, readers and writers need to be pushed to do things that might be painful in order to grow.  Muscle is built by rupturing old muscles through stress and having new muscles regenerate around the original ones.  The same is true for writing.  Learning various techniques of reading and writing and practicing these techniques throughout one’s life will make a person all the more talented in the long run.  Through doing assignments, readers and writers will be better prepared to read and write in the future for their own reasons and promote their own ideas. 

Another experience with reading and writing that was important in my life was when I started creative writing.  This started when I was in school and it helped me realize that I had a talent for it.  In 6th grade my teacher started a unit on poetry and I greatly enjoyed writing poetry.  I was able to write what I felt passionately about and I was able to express myself on paper which I was not used to doing.  At first I thought that it would be a waste of time and just another assignment but it opened up a whole new world of expression for me.  Writing poetry made it possible for me to say things and express what I felt strongly about that otherwise I would have kept inside me.

This is what I think is a great example of writing in one of its best forms.  In my creative writing and poetry, I started with ideas that I came up with and developed them myself without fear of writing the wrong thing and jeopardizing a grade in the end.  This positive experience encouraged me to write more outside of school.  I wrote quite a few pieces including a journal that I started writing.