Reading Is . . .

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Contributor: Richard Hartwell

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Reading is shared interaction
between a writer of text and a
literate interpreter of that text.

A writer creates meaning through
selection of specific textual code.
A reader extracts meaning from that code
by creation of assumed mental images.

A writer provides transmission of meaning,
based on concepts central to one perspective.
A reader provides interpretation of meaning,
based on prior subject knowledge and a personal
world view possibly central to another perspective.

Both methods are imperfect, insofar as a writer
can never account for missing information nor an
altered perception on the part of any specific reader;
and a reader can never presume to be able to recreate
with exactitude the meaning a writer sought to convey.

Reading is an ongoing process of active,
never passive, compromise of meaning.

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Rick Hartwell is a retired middle school teacher (remember the hormonally-challenged?) living in Southern California. Like the Transcendentalists and William Blake, he believes that the instant contains eternity


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