This is an old question, and it’s a complicated question: Does reading affect writing?; Does reading make you a better writer?
As I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t made a lot of original posts recently: I’ve mostly been reviewing books. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this summer, and it’s hard to tell if it’s made me a better writer. Honestly, how could I ever know if I was a better writer? I can judge my writing all I want, but my opinion isn’t the one that ultimately matters.
When you read a book, you are absorbing ideas and introducing yourself to different styles. Style and thinking about ideas are two parts of being a writer, so in a way, reading does help make you a better writer. If I read a different novel every day, am I going to absorb diction and themes? Yes. I think the biggest reason people think you need to read in order to be a good writer is that reading is learning.
Do I think you need to read in order to write well? No. You could never read a novel in your life, but you could still have a gift for crafting words. For me, reading does play a crucial role: Reading inspires me to write. It is a constant reminder that hey, you’ve got that unfinished novel sitting on your harddrive, you should work on it.