What is Reading?

Reading is the deepening of perception and understanding through the intercommunication of minds using the medium of the written word.  Reading is much more than mere word, phrase, or even sentence recognition.  Reading involves not only the skills of word recognition (such as the use of configuration; contextual clues, and word analysis, which includes phonics as one of the basic means of word attack) but also comprehension, library, work-study, and appreciation skills.  Reading includes the development of attitudes, abilities, and techniques whose interrelationships are many, varied and intricate.  Reading has dimensions that go far above and beyond the literal meaning of the printed word.  Reading concerns context in which words expand into ideas and thoughts derived from past experiences.  It involves the imagination process- the writer and the reader.  Reading is a highly complex process, an expression of the total personality of the individual and a vital facet of the language arts rather than a separate and discrete curriculum area.  Mere word calling is to reading as snapping a photograph is to the painting of a beautiful picture- the one, a mechanical skill; the other, a life-giving art.  Thus, all that one brings to the printed page plays a part in determining what he takes away from it.

– Advisory Committee of Assistant Superintendents.

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