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Writing and thinking

There are important benefits attributed to the role of writing in relation to thinking:
  1. Writing encourages the writer to rethink and revise.
  2. Writing on paper encourages the writer to organize and consider new relationships among ideas.
  3. Writing is active rather than passive, which encourages the writer to explore implications of ideas and assumptions.

In 1987, Judith A. Langer and Arthur Applebee conducted research to investigate the problem that "children do not write frequently enough, and the reading and writing tasks they are given do not require them to think deeply enough." They reached several conclusions from their research:

There is clear evidence that activities involving writing lead to better learning than activities involving reading and studying only.

Writing activities lead students to focus on different kinds of information, to think about that information in different ways, and in turn to take quantitatively and qualitatively different kinds of knowledge away from their writing experiences.

Some tasks lead students to more complex manipulations of the material they are writing about ... and when information is manipulated in more complex ways, it tends to be better understood and better remembered.

The complete research report is available from Colorado State University Libraries.