Reading and Writing Strategies

Most individuals engage in reading as part of their jobs and as a way of developing their skills. Whether the materials being read are trade journals, project documents, business books, eBooks, or blogs, the purpose of reading is to synthesize and internalize the content. However, most people read materials they expect to be useful but fail to gain any helpful and useful information (Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, & Baker, 2001). Similarly, one might rewrite a concept several times for the audience to understand. Rereading and rewriting are the direct outcomes of poor reading and writing strategies (Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, & Baker, 2001). Effective reading and writing strategies reduce the possibility of rereading. This paper compares and contrasts two reading and two writing strategies.

Reading Strategies: Outlining and Summary vs. Inquisitive Strategies

Comparing and contrasting these two reading strategies is significant for diverse audience including adult casual readers, high school students, and elementary school students. According to Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, and Baker (2001), recognizing the similarities and differences can assist the reader in making transitions to outlining and summary from inquisitive strategies and vice versa.

Outlining and summarizing reading strategy involves identifying the key concepts and paraphrasing them in simple terms. This strategy is particularly significant for comprehending the structure and content of the reading materials (Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, & Baker, 2001). While the outlining part discloses the rudimentary structure or format of the text being read, the summarizing part provides an abridgment of the argument in the text in brief. According to Graham and Perin (2007), the outlining may be accomplished during the process of annotating. However, it can also be accomplished disjointedly. The key to summarizing and outlining the activities of this strategy is the ability to distinguish between the supporting ideas and examples from the main concepts. The main concepts provide the link connecting various pieces and components of the text.

The outlining of the main concepts assists the reader in discerning the structure of the text. It is advisable not to use the exact words from the text when outlining the key concepts. Summarizing the text commences with outlining (Peregoy, Boyle, & Phillabaum, 2007). Nevertheless, instead of simply itemizing the key concepts, the summary tends to recombine them in order to construct a new text. A summary is a brief version of the main text in simple terms. While outlining relies on the close examination of every textual paragraph, summarizing necessitates some creativity in the synthesis. Recombining the main concepts in different version and in simple terms indicates how critical reading can result in deeper comprehension of material.

On the other hand, the inquisitive reading style involves asking questions concerning the content. Most readers are accustomed to answering questions after reading a material in order to test their understanding (Peregoy, Boyle, & Phillabaum, 2007). Depending on the objectivity of the material, most reading materials provide questions at the end to assess the understanding of the reader. The questions are frequently designed to help the reader fully comprehend the material. The inquisitive reading strategy has been found to be the most effective as it helps to develop remembering. When an individual needs to comprehend and utilize the new information gained from reading, it is quite beneficial if the reader asks questions.

The reader can write down questions anytime during the reading process. However, in complex academic reading, the reader will comprehend the material better and recall it for longer if he/she poses a question for each brief section paragraph. Every question posed by the reader should focus on the concept (Graham & Perin, 2007). The table below compares and contrasts outlining and inquisitive reading strategies.

Table 1

Outlining and Inquisitive Reading Strategies

Comparison Factor Outlining and Summary Inquisitive Reading
Main Activity It involves identifying the key concepts It involves asking question concerning the content
Significance Significant for comprehending the structure and content of the reading materials Significant for comprehension and utilizing the new information gained from reading
Focus/Objective It focuses on distinguishing between the supporting ideas and examples and the main concept Focuses on answering questions concerning the major concept
Text Decomposition It breaks down the text into main concept, supporting concept and examples It does not break disintegrate the text
Paraphrasing The reader rewords the text according to his/her understanding The reader does not reword the text but writes the question in his/her own words
Reader’s Participation Active participation Active participation

Writing Strategies: Expository Writing vs. Technical Writing

The writing strategy used by a writer reveals his/her voice and personality. Moreover, the strategy can indicate the audience’s perception of the writer. Generally, the goal of the writing determines the writing strategy used by the author (Gersten, Fuchs, Williams, & Baker, 2001). For instance, expository writing is appropriate for communicating personal opinions. Nowadays, technical and expository writing techniques are used in the majority of cases.

Expository writing is the customary style used in academic analytical writing (Graham & Perin, 2007). The analysis of trends in a prose form is a characteristic of expository writing. In contrast to the technical writing style, expository writing is more imaginative, digressive, and artistic. Mokhtari and Reichard (2002) pointed out that expository writing is more appropriate for persuading the audience to agree with an argument or view presented by the writer. Facts in this style of writing are not of key significance, even though they play a critical role in the persuasion (Graham & Perin, 2007). Most essays on philosophy and linguistics are usually written using expository technique. The majority of expository writing, which has creative and opinionated nature can be comprehended by any average individual.

On the contrary, technical writing is utilized as a clear and effective way of explaining a technical facet of production. Even though many people cannot understand the technical writer due to its jargon vocabulary, it remains the most preferable strategy in several industries. According to Peregoy, Boyle, and Phillabaum (2007), technical writing aims at getting the facts across the reader base. Usually, the audience of technical writing is people with shared knowledge concerning a certain field of domain. In addition, materials written in this style are aimed at explaining a technical process in the industry. Rather than developing arguments to share facts, similar to expository writing, technical writing provides data in an objective manner. The table below compares and contrasts the two writing strategies.

Table 2

Writing Strategies

Expository Writing Technical Writing
More imaginative and artistic Fact-oriented
Subjective Objective
Wider audience comprising of average people Smaller audience comprising of people with shared knowledge in a certain field of domain


Outlining and summary reading strategy involves identifying the key concepts, whereas inquisitive reading strategies involve asking question concerning the content. Outlining and summary reading focuses on distinguishing between the supporting ideas and examples and the main concept. On the other hand, inquisitive reading focuses on answering questions concerning the major concept. Expository writing tends to be more creative, digressive, and artistic, while technical writing is fact-oriented.


  1. Gersten, R., Fuchs, L. S., Williams, J. P., & Baker, S. (2001). Teaching reading comprehension strategies to students with learning disabilities: A review of research. Review of Educational Research, 71(2), 279-320.

  2. Graham, S., & Perin, D. (2007). Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve Writing of Adolescents in Middle and High Schools. A Report to Carnegie Corporation of New York. Alliance for Excellent Education.

  3. Mokhtari, K., & Reichard, C. A. (2002). Assessing students' metacognitive awareness of reading strategies. Journal of educational psychology, 94(2), 249.

  4. Peregoy, S. F., Boyle, O. F., & Phillabaum, S. (2007). Reading, writing, and learning in ESL: A resource book for K-12 teachers. TESOL Quarterly, 41(1), 214.