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What is Reading?


We value all kinds of reading experiences which provide enjoyment, knowledge, understanding, and relaxation. Be it a book, a movie, a game, or a piece of music – reading reaches out to the world and hugs them close.

words / palabras / 言葉The concept of ‘reading’ encompasses a broad spectrum of activities – reading, watching, and playing.

Reading has made me who I am. To read is to learn and grow, to experience, to empathise, to understand, to marvel, to wonder, to laugh, and to cry. To live other lives in other places and times, to deepen a connection with place. Reading is immensely important to me. It shapes my personality and identity as do all experiences. I am a fuller, more rounded person because I read. I am able to imagine and empathise with others. I learn things that help me in my daily life and I experience joy, sorrow and relaxation when I read.

I’m reading when I check my email, I’m reading while I download songs, I’m reading when I sort my bills from the ones I must pay now to the ones that can wait a little longer. The act of reading is an everyday function. The act of taking time out to read the story behind the recipe, the description of the engine space, the context of the game, all are integral actions which inform and enhance my experience. Reading isn’t just about escaping into a world of fiction –  it’s also about providing context to our environment – both real and imagined and thus enriching our lives.

Reading can be

  • fun, sad, traumatic, confusing, fast, slow, episodic, continual
  • collaborative
  • participatory
  • exclusive
  • inclusive

And all reading is reading – no matter the format.  We should not be textist about format, or length of work, or the context of the reading. Reading something for young children filled with pictures and sounds is just as valued as reading a university thesis. Reading a biography is just as valued as playing a game exploring the period of the Crusades. Reading an adventure story for young adults written by a well-renowned Australian author is just as valued as watching a BBC television series featuring the antics and explorations of a mystery-solving sleuth or a galaxy-travelling adventurer. Reading a book in a digital format on my computer, tablet, or phone, or indeed listening to one through my iPod, Mp3, car stereo, or home stereo, is just as valued as holding that paper-bound version in my hands and inhaling the sweet smell of print and glue. Watching the movie is just as valued as reading the book. Playing the game is just as valued as reading the graphic novel or comic on which it is based, and vice-versa.

Indeed reading is many things, …

  • devouring a book cover to cover, and then starting at the beginning again
  • poring through each recipe, and the stories in between
  • exploring the repair manual so you can fix your car
  • flicking through pages, just reading a few words
  • watching the faces in the crowd as an author/storyteller engages the audience in their story
  • discovering the story in the game so you understand the game
  • reading in games to achieve objectives
  • watching the episodic movie breaks between one game level and the next to experience the story
  • information to get stuff done
  • information for fun
  • in any format, at any time
  • facts and figures
  • lifesaving or death defying
  • therapeutic
  • relaxing
  • searching flickr images
  • tweets
  • blogs
  • signs
  • watching a movie
  • watching a television series
  • listening to music
  • playing music
  • listening to a story
  • writing your own story

Reading is an experience – what has your experience been, what is your experience now?

Use #rwpchat for the discussion for the whole year, adding in the tag for each month.

Amy, Cathy, Ellen

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