Lost or aware? : an examination of reading types
Forslund, Elizabeth Nicole
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Reader response theorists focus on studying how and why readers read, and the effects of these practices on literacy. One aspect of reader response theory that has been largely ignored, however, is the fundamental conflict that exists between two different "types" of reading: reading for pleasure, or ludic reading, which I called "immersion reading," and reading with a critical detachment from the text, or "awareness reading." Theorists such as Louise Rosenblatt and Wolfgang Iser tend to favor one "type" of reading or the other, not acknowledging the fact that both "types" exist and exert a pull on the reader. The conflict that results between the two "types" of reading, I argue, are enforced by educational practices aimed at funneling students towards one type of reading, depending on age and educational level. This educational trend is problematic for two reasons. First, because it limits the perceived appropriateness and thus the scope of literacy education in schools, and second because it actively discourages readers-especially reluctant readers-from seeing literacy as complex, multifaceted and engaging. I argue instead in support of a metacognitive approach to literacy, one that recognizes the conflicts readers encounter and addresses the potential difficulties and successes facing student readers.