Is writing valued more than reading?

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posted by Kris (with a "k") Cambridge Extra (a blog affiliate of CUP Linguistics) published a post the other day on a topic I hadn't given much thought to: the rise of writing (and decline of reading). Here's a couple quotes to give you a taste of the article, but it's certainly worth its own read. The final quote is especially surprising...

But in the wider society and over the last fifty years or more, writing has ascended as the main basis of many people’s daily literacy experiences and the main platform for their literacy development. Millions of working adults now spend four hours or more each day (sometimes, a lot more) with their hands on keyboards and their minds on audiences, writing so much, in fact, that they have little time or appetite for reading.

...

Learning to write along with other people who write (rather than from authors who address us abstractly) is a new aspect of mass literacy development. Audiences are made up not merely (or mostly) of receptive readers but also responsive writers; increasingly people write to catalyze or anticipate other people’s writing and people read with the aim of writing back.

...

Reading is an internalizing process. That is why the effects of literacy have been sought mostly on the inside: in the formation of character or the quality of inner life or intellectual growth.  But writing is a relentlessly externalizing process. Because writing unleashes language into the world, it engages people’s sense of power and responsibility. [...] Writing risks social exposure, blame, even, in some cases, retaliation. It requires a level of courage and ethical conviction rarely cultivated in school-based literacy and rarely measured in standard assessments of writing ability.

...

We are at a critical crossroad in the history of mass literacy in which relationships between writing and reading are undergoing profound change. Writing is overtaking reading as the skill of critical consequence.

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