WHAT we read matters, as does HOW we read. Considerations regarding text selection complement this site’s focus on reading shifts, including reading-for-transfer.
Literary texts inform thinking and affect the way people read the world. When certain perspectives are over-represented, a reader is given a skewed perspective on the world. When perspectives are under-represented (or not represented), the reader lacks awareness of the whole picture.
A person’s reading of the world is best informed by the consideration of many perspectives and many voices. These perspectives and voices can include racial, cultural and religious perspectives; socioeconomic perspectives; geographical perspectives; historical perspectives; and more.
As the reader considers and assimilates additional perspectives offered through a plurality of voices, the reader’s understanding expands. The reader is able to see how narratives complement and also contradict one another. The reader develops a more complete worldview.
Rather than remaining entrenched in one perspective, the reader who encounters many texts is challenged to adapt previously held perspectives based on a more complete reading of “the full text”–the full world. The reader’s enhanced reading can then transfer to other literacy acts.
Following this line of reasoning, one might argue that classic works of literature should be discarded and replaced. After all, these texts often offer dominant and over-represented perspectives. On the surface, this is true. But before we replace these books altogether, we should also ask: Why has the reading of these texts endured across hundreds and even thousands of years? What lies below the surface of cultural perspective?
Classic texts are often full of ambiguity that can allow for complex readings–and valuable learning experiences–that reach far beyond questions of cultural perspective. When we approach old texts from new angles and when we put new lenses on them, we can also read them in entirely new ways. We can find valuable insights offered beneath the apparent surface text.
This site aims to show how shifting the ways we approach all reading texts, including those traditionally included in the literary canon, can allow for deeper and more meaningful reading experiences. This site focuses on the importance of acquiring and using enhanced reading skills that are informed by the reading of many different texts, skills that transfer from texts into the world.