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Flows of Reading

Engaging with Texts

Erin Reilly, Ritesh Mehta, Henry Jenkins, Authors

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1.4 Who Are You as a Reader?

Finding a flow can happen in a variety of texts. Perhaps you have not experienced this flow while reading a book, but while performing a scene or playing a game. Think of a text that carried you away. Recall a fascinating story that captured your imagination as the narrative traveled across different mediafrom books to films to toysallowing you to layer your own meaning on top of the original author’s meaning.

Henry, Wyn, Ricardo and Rudy provided a variety of identities they embody as readers, including reading as a creative artist, media scholar, performer and teacher. Each reads for specialized reasons; each also reads for multiple reasons. In Reading in a Participatory Culture, these readers describe their reasons for reading and re-reading Moby-Dick and explain the interpretive lens through which they examine the text. They stress that they have had different relationships with the novel over timethey read it differently depending on their current interests and goals. In this video, Melville scholar, Wyn Kelley, explains how working with Ricardo Pitts-Wiley and Project New Media Literacies has shifted her understanding of Melville's novel and offers a range of reasons why people today might want to engage with a text that was written in the middle of the nineteenth century.

ACTIVITY: Identity Map

Take a personal inventory on your own life history as a reader. Download this blank Identity Map and complete the following:
  1. Write your name in the center box.
  2. In the surrounding boxes, write as many different roles that fit you and think of different identities you perform as a reader. (An example has been completed for you“high school student” in the upper left hand box.)
  3. In each box, list the setting, tools, activities and personas you embody when you read as that identity. Remember that we’re expanding “what counts as reading"so you can think about magazines, websites, video games, and so on. Try to be as specific as possible. (For example, instead of “music,” you might write “hip hop” or “Kanye West albums.”)
SHARE YOUR IDENTITY MAP  This will take you to the PLAY! platform where we have created a Flows of Reading community of practice. Here, you can register and reflect with others on this activity.
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