Reading as a Process
DIANE DELLA CROCE
Well aware that our students, like many who are entering college, haven't done much reading, and having experienced certain success in engaging students in the writing process, we began to consider how our prior training in writing as process might be useful in expanding our understanding and teaching of reading as process.
Iser describes reading as a “dynamic interaction” between text and reader. He explains that since a whole text cannot usually be perceived in its entirety, reading is an unfolding process: “There is a moving viewpoint which travels along inside that which it has to apprehend” 1; this viewpoint is, obviously, the reader. Iser argues that meaning is not brought about solely by the text: “Any successful transfer, however—initiated by the text—depends on the extent to which this text can activate the individual reader's faculties of perceiving and processing.” 2 Recognizing that reading is an active, “unfolding” process, 3 we asked what are the steps of such a process and how can we help students, via awareness of and engagement in such steps, increase their reading efficiency and effectiveness?
In college, reading, like writing, is evermore a complex process. It is “no longer solely thought of as simply something one does or teaches, but rather is understood as a complex, orchestrated, constructive process through which individuals make meaning.” 4 Reading is primarily a process of making meaning (signification) involving understanding (decoding and interpreting or comprehending); it entails being able to put the author's ideas into the reader's words (summarizing), seeing how the text does what one “sees” it doing (analyzing), and making connections