The Importance of Learning Reading and Writing Skills


Olive Ritchie, Staff Reporter

Here I am sitting in English 1 learning about elements of context and thinking ‘when am I ever going to have to know this?’. However, looking back at it, knowing elements of context has a ton of benefits. It can help you better understand what something means. Unless you’re planning on going into a career that specializes in reading or writing, the things learned in English classes may feel useless, especially if you don’t read or write much outside of school. Even avid readers don’t usually write essays on a specific symbol within a book. At least, I know I don’t. Higher-level English classes are considered unnecessary by some, but I think they are some of the most essential classes for day to day life. 

Reading and writing are used in just about every aspect of life, even after you’re done with school. Even if you don’t read many books, there are still many things you read like news articles, work contracts and loan forms. To me, reading things like contracts and forms seems tedious and boring, but it’s very important to understand them. Writing is important for tracking your thoughts. Both reading and writing are essential parts of communication. Without knowing proper grammar, punctuation, sentence structure and spelling it would be hard to even send a simple email. Just this year my English class went over punctuation and sentence types. Without knowing writing mechanics and grammar, anything written for work could easily be dismissed because it is labeled as unprofessional. Sounding professional is helpful to gaining respect from employers and others in your life. 

One of the most undervalued parts of English class is reading comprehension. As well as being able to read, you must be able to understand what you’ve read and make deeper connections. If you can only understand exactly what a text is telling you, it’s nearly impossible to come to your own conclusions. Thinking for yourself allows you to have unique opinions and be creative. You will not have the critical thinking skills to deduce if a text is a metaphor. Tone may also be hard to understand. When reading, it is important to identify the tone and voice of the text. These can be vital to understanding the meaning of a text. For example, a sarcastic tone could indicate that the writer is joking. When you don’t connect what you’re reading to your world and life, it can suck some of the joy out of reading. I like reading books more when I can connect with one of the characters. It will also make it harder to apply some of the themes within books to your life. 

English can be a difficult subject, and for a lot of things in English, there’s no clear answer. However, I believe the critical thinking skills learned in English classes are invaluable. Knowing how to write well is important for a lot of jobs. Being able to understand writing will also be extremely helpful in life. Kofi Annan said “Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope” which I think captures what I’m trying to say: Without literacy, the world would be a bleak place.