There was an article in The Denver Post recently about a special club for elementary school students that emphasizes fun. The Panther Club at Cottonwood Plains Elementary School in Loveland, Colo., features snacks and guest speakers, but at the heart of the after-school program is a goal to improve writing skills.
One presentation recently had the children getting to meet and pet a llama named Trent and then writing about their experience.
I’m all for giving kids more opportunities to write, especially through unique writing-enrichment programs like this one. I just hope the program includes a lot of reading, too.
Better reading leads to better writing.
That’s as true for adults as it is for kids. It’s the advice I give to anyone who asks how they can improve their business writing skills. It doesn’t even matter what you read, just start reading.
In addition to gaining knowledge, reading improves analytical thinking, increases vocabulary, boosts spelling skills, improves critical analysis, opens doors to new ideas, and helps with writing style.
Here are six tips for using reading to become a better writer:
- Read magazines outside your industry and area of expertise.
- Read a range of books from fiction to nonfiction; graphic novels to comic books.
- Re-read the classics. You don’t have to start with Shakespeare. I’d recommend beginning with Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
- Look up the words that are unfamiliar to you.
- Pay attention to how the writer connects ideas to create writing flow.
- Take time to dissect paragraph and sentence structure when you read a passage that is especially engaging.
Do you have any reading tips that can help improve writing skills? Please add them here.