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What is Reading?

reading is

  • 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
  • discovering the story in the game so you understand the game
  • watching the episodic movie breaks between one game level and the next to experience the story
  • tweets
  • blogs
  • signs
  • information to get stuff done
  • information for fun
  • in any format any time
  • facts and figures
  • lifesaving or death defying
  • therapeutic
  • relaxing
  • searching flickr images
  • flicking through pages just reading a few words
  • watching the faces in the crowd as an author/storyteller engages the audience in their story
  • reading in games

reading can be

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

All reading is reading no matter the format.  Don’t be textist about format, or length of work, or context of reading.

Settlers of Catan

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 activity. The act of taking time out to read the story behind the recipe, the description of the engine space, the context of the game (eg, in Alan Wake you collect manuscript pages and reading them enhances the context of the game, and may also provide hints as to what may be coming up shortly in the game-play).

I read while I’m driving, not just  street signs and maps but also the behaviour of the cars/drivers around me – are they going to pass or not? I’m also reading fuel gauges and speedos to provide added context to my driving.

Reading isn’t just about escaping into a world of fiction –  it’s also about providing context to our environment – both real and imagined (whilst driving and whilst playing games).

The National Year of Reading in 2012 is an opportunity for an active campaign to promote reading in all its many forms and expressions but also validate the act of reading (whether it be sitting on the beach relaxing or driving through city traffic) as an integral element of society.

You might read paper, you might read on a screen (computer, e-book reader, tablet, phone), you might read in lots of other formats as well.

Amy, Cathy and Ellen

8 Comments leave one →
  1. February 23, 2012 10:25 am

    I love this post about what reading is! We do read every day, every hour, every minute. Reading is like breathing – it is so integral to our lives that we don’t even realise we are doing it. Our school is a reading school in all its many and varied forms and we hope, this year, to place the value and pleasure of reading front and centre for our whole school community to appreciate and enjoy!

    Megan Davies
    Toorak College Library

  2. April 3, 2012 6:53 pm

    Am yet to understand what reading is all about,can some one help me?

  3. Kathniel Bernadilla permalink
    June 8, 2012 10:55 pm

    what is that i said what is reading(meaning) not what is reading(that u experience)

  4. July 10, 2012 1:19 pm

    reading is a pleasure…..

    • mayri permalink
      August 18, 2012 3:37 pm

      reading makes me calm down…

  5. David McGinley permalink
    September 7, 2013 12:59 am

    The only time your not reading is when sleeping.


  1. Toorak College Celebrates National Year of Reading! | Medicine for the Soul

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