Reading and writing are social practices; while a person may study a book or compose a paper in a solitary space, they are hardly alone. In other words, reading is at least a two-person activity. So is writing. Any time a person sits down with a book or a pen, they bring with them their past experiences, current expectations, and future goals. All that has happened before and all that they wish contribute in some way – however small – to interpretation and composition of an idea, of a scene, of a journey. Moreover, as the pages turn and the ink runs, the actor engages with the authors of texts they are reading and referencing, thereby interacting with others’ experiences, expectations, and goals.
As one reads and writes, they draw on the world around them to understand complex concepts and draw connections from their own lives to new ideas. In this way, reading and writing are reciprocal and integrated practices. That is, one does not exist without the other, and each practice is bolstered as a person hones their literacy and composition skills. This shifts the idea of “literacy” from simple decoding and reproducing of symbols to complete an assignments toward understanding how we know what we know. Reading and writing in this broad sense is much more complex than finishing an essay to meet the requirements of a simple rubric; it means forming strong arguments, articulating ideas, and developing a voice that is unique and that can be heard above the bustle of the everyday white noise. Reading and writing are reflective, inquisitive processes that can empower a person with the ability to communicate and participate in society as active, critically-minded, informed citizens of the world.