Real reading is making sense of text. Making sense of it in a way that matters. To ourselves, the reader. Think of yourself as a reader. When you make sense of a text that does not matter to you in any way, the words and meaning may slip through your mind like water through the fingers of your cupped hand, like they do mine. I read it, I understand it, and it’s gone. An indifferent shrug of information. If there is no place for the meaning of the text in ourselves, we don’t really hang on to it. Real reading is making sense that sticks. It bonds the text to our own minds, spirits and souls and forges something new. A new you, a new perspective to bring to bear on life, a new awareness. We read, and read and read, in search, almost, for these texts that will stick and matter. The process of reading is enjoyable, so we continue to pursue the story and the activity and rejoice when we find a text that makes us sing. I can think of no other reason to explain how I enjoy reading Maeve Binchy novels, yet I cannot distinguish one from the other and cannot speak to how they essentially matter to me. I enjoyed them, then I closed the cover and picked up a different book, still with hope in my heart. Reading for enjoyment holds the place of real reading that sticks, like a zero holds the place for a quantity that does not yet apply. This is the journey of real reading.
What matters to me may not be the same as what matters to you. Maeve Binchy may define and explain your very existence. Robert Ludlum may illuminate your very core beliefs about how the world works. Not so much, for me. This is the beauty of reading, and the beauty of a society of individuals. This is also the beauty of the comprehension strategies our brains employ to make sense of texts, that allow and demand that we each bring ourselves forward to meet the text and judge compatibility and influence. I am not a researcher or writer that has worked intimately with the data and research behind these ideas. I merely apply them. I am merely willing now to read metacognitively, out loud, so to speak, to examine what matters to me as I read to make it real or not, what wholes or pieces of the whole stick or wash away.
Join me on my journey. Jump in, if you wish. Journey on your own. Only know that everything and anything I say is subject to change, revision, expansion and deletion. It’s a journey, I’m no expert. All I know is that I feel oddly buoyant about it all.