Reading and Writing: A Composition

As much as I’d like to say that I’m a “writer,” I certainly cannot say that I am a writer to the extent that Teirney and Pearson are. They outline a process of writing that completely transcends the lines of what I do. My process generally goes like this: come up with awesome idea; some days I’ll decide to do pre-writing if I’m having trouble putting down my thoughts; spit out all of my random ideas into a very rough draft; revise; revise; revise; then finalize (though of course, no composition is ever finished!)

On the other hand, these two exemplify a manner of writing that I didn’t quite understand. For example, they wrote that “one must begin to view reading and writing as essentially similar processes of meaning construction.” I have never thought of reading and writing as similar processes but, come to think of it, in some ways they are. Teirney and Pearson claim that BOTH reading and writing are about “planning, drafting, aligning, revising, and monitoring”. This process is something new, yet enlightening to me.

Lets take one of the elements that I glean the most from: revising. I’m a HUGE proponent of revising. Almost everything that I may write for a class will be revised multiple times. What was interesting, however, about “Toward a Composing Model of Reading” is that they also wrote that “if readers are to develop some control over and a sense of discovery with the models of meaning they build, they must approach text with the same deliberation, time and reflection that a writer employs as she revises a text.” At first I thought, come on, who revises as they’re reading? But then I realized this–every single time I read a book, a poem, or a textbook, the meaning of what I read is continuously changing. In fact, I am revising any time that I re-read a textbook for class to better understand the concept. It finally made sense.

The best portion of Teirney and Pearson’s piece is the last section entitled “monitoring.” At first, I didn’t understand what they were telling readers and writers to do. Wait what, monitoring? What do you mean? But then, I re-read this section, and my mind automatically revised the very meaning it gleaned from the text. Monitoring is simply the ability to separate oneself from whatever he or she composed, and discovering how we can develop what we wrote or what has developed.

When reading this piece, the biggest takeaway I notice for me is this: I must always write and read mindfully, or I will be missing the best parts of what I’ve written or read.

 

 

3 thoughts to “Reading and Writing: A Composition”

  1. I also thought the section about monitoring was super important. A lot of times, in my eagerness in completing a paper or a piece of assigned reading, I forget to monitor what just happened. It is really important to be reflexive when reading and writing, engaging in what you are actually doing and why you are actually doing it. I always try to take notes in my books, for example, and not just “haha!” or “like this” (which, I do a lot), but also questions and contextualizing notes. This helps me keep my head in the game, and reminds me to pay attention to things happening both inside and outside the text.

  2. LOVE that last big takeaway that you point out! “I must always write and read mindfully, or I will be missing the best parts of what I’ve written or read.” How stinkin’ true is that? So much of our lives, reading and writing and just living, is made up of metaphorical “steps” along the path. Don’t you feel like you’re doing one thing just to get to another? We need to stop and look around – mindfully observe ourselves and other – in order to see the beauty around us. Good stuff, Gabriella. Good stuff.

  3. I loved your line “Monitoring is simply the ability to separate oneself from whatever he or she composed, and discovering how we can develop what we wrote or what has developed.” We were talking about this in our group and I think its so important to take a step back and read what we write in different alignments and actually see what message we send across. When I write, I know what I’m trying to say, I get it all down on paper, and then when I go back and read it…my reaction = wtf? Sometimes you get so caught up in the points you’re writing, you don’t even realize when you’re going off on tangents or the paper isn’t logically connecting. That’s why it’s so important to revise, revise, revise…and let other people read what you’ve written and give you feedback!

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