What is Reading For?
|I saw this comment on a post in someone else's blog the other day:|
My theory is, at least they're reading. Who cares what they read? Just read, damn it.If the discussion were about kids who were just learning to read, I'd be inclined to agree--there is a point in everyone's life when the best way to improve as a reader is to read as much as you can, regardless of the content (mostly--I hate Captain Underpants!). But the blog post was about reading in general, and I just can't agree with this comment. There is no point in reading for reading's sake, unless you're trying to build fluency. You either read to be entertained or to be educated.
Both kinds of reading are worthwhile, but I think too many people stop at merely being entertained (and here I must say again that reading for entertainment and reading for education are not mutually exclusive). Henry Fielding offers this comment on reading for amusement:
The present age seems pretty well agreed in an opinion, that the utmost scope and end of reading is amusement only; and such, indeed, are now the fashionable books, that a reader can propose no more than mere entertainment, and it is sometimes very well for him if he finds even this, in his studies.
posted by Nick Senger at 1:55 PM