Apparently, there are three main strategies to reading: content, function/feature, and rhetorical. Depending on who you are—maybe you’re just a lowly proletariat reader or maybe, like the authors of “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” you are the big-bad bourgeoisie of the reading world—you rely on different strategies more heavily. To be a good reader, you must interact with the text on several different levels. But, this is no easy piece of cake. The piece ends with authors Christiana Haas and Linda Flower wondering how to teach students to focus less on the content strategy and more on rhetorical. They lamented that teaching people to read this way was as difficult and elusive as teaching people to write this way. Interesting.
I do not know how you would write without focusing on your rhetorical strategy, even if its in a very stunted way. When you set out to write, you have an aim of sharing something with another person or convincing them of something. And even though you might not completely understand why you’re using certain rhetorical moves, you’re still trying to present the information in the most convincing way possible. I took AP Language in high school and formally learned certain rhetorical techniques and wrote essays about how authors presented an argument rather than what the argument was. I must say, that after taking that class I was much more attuned to the rhetorical world simply because I knew why certain moves were being made in a paper, and what the author might be hoping to achieve by it. But I am still wondering, can a writer ever divorce herself from rhetoric?
I don’t think the authors of “Rhetorical Reading Strategies and the Construction of Meaning” related reading back to writing in a useful way. Was the Ph.D student in Engineering they used as a benchmark for experienced reading, was he a good writer? Are experienced, saavy readers also good writers?
All this being said, while I was reading this piece I couldn’t help but think of something I read earlier this summer and since writers and all probably struggling in our love lives, I wanted to share it with you. Wait for the kicker at the end for the self-esteem boost.