For writers or those who are writing (which is a great many of us), it is important to acknowledge that reading is a vital component to developing a discipline in writing. I’ve been taught that reading is the first important duty of the writer. It is important not only to read really good writing and sophisticated texts, but I would also argue that even reading less complex writing and reading other texts: images, sound, movement, is just as beneficial and dynamic.
A reader can glean from text not only information and examples of technique but also displays of style, approach to a theme or subject matter, interesting words, creative choices, and the complexities of research, imagination, and experiences as presented in various contexts and genres.
When I’m teaching, I often encourage students that reading is a beginning of an ongoing relationship with words, a part of a writing practice where readers engage a text with their five senses, their critical and creative minds. To write is to read, with an emphasis on developing as a writer by first developing as a reader of images, sound, experience, texture, and of course text.
I stumbled on the article Composition and Decompostion by Nicholas Royle where he is thinking and writing critically about literacy, writing, and creative reading.
Why is there no corresponding attention given to the concept of the budding reader? The future of literary studies crucially depends on the question of how well people can read. This is not just about how much knowledge or wisdom (cultural, social, historical and so on) can be gathered from reading literature but also about what kinds of thinking—perhaps new and revolutionary kinds—might be triggered by an encounter with a literary work. In this context I would suggest that we need to make space for “creative reading” as much as “creative writing”—at least if we understand “creative reading” to be something like “ways of reading that are not only rigorous, careful, attentive to historical context, different connotations and nuances of meaning and so on, but also inventive, surprising, willing to take risks, to be experimental, to deform and transform. —Nicholas Royle