Reading about Reading

Up until now, I thought reading was an automatic task as simple as eating an apple or jumping off a tree. You just put your eyes on some words and absorb the information. Two steps- that’s it. However, as soon as I printed the reading for this week and read the first few paragraphs, I realized that I was about to read sixteen pages of text regarding the process of reading. Two steps? As if. In this reading, authors Tierney and Pearson break down reading into steps: planning, drafting, aligning, revising, and monitoring. Sound familiar? Basically, Tierney and Pearson argue that reading a piece of writing takes as much of the same mental processes as writing does and that “one must begin to view reading and writing as essentially similar processes of meaing construction” (175). And from the last few weeks, with our discussions on books and writing, it is obvious that there is a strong correlation between reading and writing. However, making writing and reading almost the same? That was difficult for me to understand at first just because I believe writing seems to take more creative energy and work in producing something readible. When you are reading something, it is already laid out for you and the only job for you is to figure out what the reading means.

Early this fall, I traveled to East Haven and read on the beach. This isn’t an actualy picture of me and my book, but reading on beaches is such a inspiring feeling!

In others words, writing to me is like creating the treasure map for your younger siblings to follow. And reading is like following the treasure map I just created. Obviously, one of the two is more fun and less stressful, depending on which role you like to take on for the game of treasure hunting.

 The most important message I took away from this reading was that “getting started is just as an important a step in reading” (178). And this is true, before we read, we have to think about what we are about to read and prepare for it. Whether it is physically scanning the page for the first sentence or title, or clearing my mind to tackle a difficult, dense passage. Sometimes, I procrasinate and do not start reading something just because I am scared of the effort I will need to put in in order to understand a reading. Usually, this applies to classic texts like Plato and Socrates which, despite the fact I took Latin, is equally challenging to study in translated English.

Lastly, I thought the reading was interestingly trying to imply something when saying “it seems that students rarely pause to reflect on their ideas of to judge the quality of their developing interpretations” (184).  I already know that I am guilty of doing this. However, sometimes, I just want to finish reading the entire story before thinking about it and analyzing its meaning. What is wrong with that?

However, this reading is totally appropriate. Yesterday, I started on my first novel in ages. It is an Agatha Christie novel, so it’s pretty simple to read. But I’m just trying to incoporate more reading into my daily routine. But unlike, incoporating tasks  like more exercise or cleaning my room daily, reading is a bit different. It requires an occupation of not only my time but also my mind.


4 thoughts to “Reading about Reading”

  1. Nice post, Regina–and the image you chose to include is so evocative! As I said in class today, I really like the analogy of the treasure map that you use. I also like that you’re grappling with the ideas here, rather than just buying into them wholesale. You’re thinking about what she’s saying, respectfully, without drinking the kool-aid until you’ve thought more. Nice!

  2. Regina,

    I had the same reaction as you did to the beginning of this reading: am I really about to read 16 pages about the processes of writing and reading?? This was definitely a very dense and bold, albeit eye-opening, reading!

    I, too, am often guilty of forgetting to pause and reflect on what I’ve read and to judge my own interpretations of a text. It makes you wonder how multiple re-readings can change our interpretations and recalls of things we’ve read once. However, I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with reading something before thinking, analyzing, and picking apart different interpretations: most of us who read outside of class do so because it’s pleasurable to us (and perhaps mostly because it doesn’t require so much thinking, just simply sitting down on the sand and flipping through the pages).

    – Allie

  3. I chuckled when I read your second last paragraph. I thought that the authors were indirectly telling us students, their intended audience, that we’re (usually) not doing enough. Thank you, reading, for pointing that out.

    I agree with what you think about reading without having to actively analyze a text. I just find it hard to be overly attentive when I read a work of fiction. Personally, I like to just follow an author’s words and create the scenes in my head. Of course everything I imagine is influenced by my own experiences, but for the most part I am happy to take the author’s words as they are and let them guide me along. However, it is also interesting to consider how some of the points that Tierney and Pearson bring up are so true in their quiet and sometimes overlooked ways (especially in how we all understand the same text in different ways).

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