In many ways, this is an unfair result, effectively comparing print at its best to digital at its worst. Spreading my scrawled-upon printouts across a desk, I’m not just accessing data; I’m reviewing the idiosyncratic geography of something I created, carried and adorned. But I researched my piece online, I’m going to type it up onscreen, and my readers will enjoy an onscreen environment expressly designed to gift resonance: a geography, a context. Screens are at their worst when they ape and mourn paper. At their best, they’re something free to engage and activate our wondering minds in ways undreamt of a century ago.
Co-authors Steve Graham and Michael Hebert of Vanderbilt University examined the research on writing strategies that improve reading and found three areas of promise. One is to have students write about the texts they are reading, by summarizing, writing notes, or creating and answering questions about them.
Such techniques were shown to improve students' comprehension of science, social studies, and language arts. They were more effective in improving comprehension than just reading the text, re-reading it, reading and studying it, reading and discussing it, or receiving reading instruction, the study found.
I’m a reader who wants to write. I want to write, I have to write. Plenty of reasons why I haven’t yet, but no excuses. But at least I`m reading. I love Stephen King`s book “On Writing” and the quote “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” I cringe whenever I hear a published author or real life friend say that they’re too busy writing (or doing other stuff) to read. I believe that the most important tool for any author (wannabe/published/aspiring or dreamer) is consumption, in as many genres as possible. I think the same holds true of any profession. How can you expect to be a content creator of any worth if you haven’t consumed content from your field until it’s pouring out of your ears? Does anyone think Spielberg would be where he is today if he hadn’t been a voracious consumer of movies before he created his own art?