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Flows of Reading

Engaging with Texts

Erin Reilly, Ritesh Mehta, Henry Jenkins, Authors
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4.1 Timelines - Moments We Connect, Moments that are Left Behind

Let's begin with a reflection.

Most forms of creative expression depend on the ability of artists to direct the attention, tap the cognition, and shape the memories of their readers. The artist relies on conventions shared with the reader for representing the world. The work cues readers to interpret what they are looking at. A smear of multicolored paint may become a cloud; line and shading may communicate depth; a fragment may suggest a whole. When we look at a painting, our knowledge is shaped by our previous experiences and by our motives and interests, so we often see what we are prepared to look for.

A narrative text, whether it's a movie, book or play, creates temporal flow. Even if this flow is not obvious, readers connect events and fill in time to make sense of the narrative. Our need to tell a story in time is overwhelming, and our human imagination will continually strive to create the threads of a narrative.

As readers or movie-watchers, we connect dots, identify milestones, and correlate notions and images so we can work with them. In other words, we juxtapose information. In addition to juxtaposition, we also identify what is missing from the narrative, what has been unsaid; we attend to gaps and silences

Engaging with the text on this structural level allows us to experience it, not as a fixed object but as a fluid space where we may engage with it in a creative and meaningful way. To see this process at work, let’s begin with an activity. We present to you, in random order, three images from David Wiesner’s book Flotsam

ACTIVITY: Juxtaposition in Flotsam

Click on the activity below to participate in Flows of Reading Community of Practice.  This will take you to the PLAY! platform.  Here, you can register and participate in this conceptual reflection on taking advantage of gaps and juxtaposing your ideas.

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