Most people think reading is finding out what the author meant to say. That’s true, but it is only part of what reading is. Actually, reading is an interactive process between the words the author wrote and the meaning the reader brings to the words. Every reader brings a different set of experiences to the words on the page, and, even more importantly, every reader’s experience changes as he or she reads the story. When reading a story or some other kind of text, readers, like writers, revise the story as they go.
The meaning each reader creates can change from the beginning of a text to the end of the text. Readers’ versions of characters and characters’ situations, for example, change as they read further in a story. Their ideas about the real world may change, too, especially as they read and revise their understanding of nonfiction reading material.
As you complete this unit, think about how readers create meaning and then change that meaning as they continue to read the words on a page—or on a computer screen. Why would readers’ versions of the story or nonfiction text change? Is that change usually a good or a bad thing in terms of learning?
At the end of the unit, we will revisit these two questions. In the meantime, as you complete the webinar, consider making notes about how readers’ experiences affect their comprehension of words and passages of text and how readers’ experiences can change based on what they read.