“Toward a Composing Model of Reading” Response

Overall, I think the idea of reading mirroring the compositional form of writing, complete with planning, drafting, aligning, and revising stages, is a useful one. Three key ideas from the article I took away were:

1. “The goals that readers or writers set have a symbiotic relationship with the knowledge they mobilize…” The point about how just as writers give meaning to a piece by envisioning the audience for which they are writing, readers also ascribe meaning to the same piece of writing by taking into account both their viewpoints and the author’s. This is important because it means that the ultimate message of writing is influenced by both the reader and author.

2. “…schema theoretic studies involving an analysis of the influence of a reader’s perspective have shown that if readers are given different alignments prior to or after reading a selection, they will vary in what and how much they will recall…” This is interesting in terms of cognitive schemas: the context in which we perceive the world, or in this case, a piece of writing. Readers assuming an intended audience member can draw more/different ideas from readers that assume a generic position.

3. “We have found that readers of the first text usually assume a sympathetic collaboration with the writer and identify with the characters.” Viewing reading and writing as an act of indirect collaboration reinforces the idea of approaching each in a similar compositional model. It is interesting how readers critical of an author often do not identify with the author’s content, or cannot align their own viewpoint with the author’s.

Many ideas mentioned in the article resonated with me, but I did have a few qualms with the authors’ stance. First, I do not think reading and writing can be viewed as completely mirrored processes. This is because with writing, although the author’s work is shaped by his/her intended audience, the compositional process is far less dependent on the reader than the act of reading is on a concrete piece of writing. Secondly, I do not think that a compositional process of reading is entirely practical for every scenario. Rather, I think the reader can engage in simultaneous planning, drafting, and aligning, and that their comprehension will still be improved.

One thought to ““Toward a Composing Model of Reading” Response”

  1. When we were discussing the group articles with people who read different articles, I noticed the same point about seeing some discrepancies between the processes of reading and writing. I personally didn’t read the Tierney/Pearson article, but the person in my discussion group who did had a similar thought.

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