March 11, 2014

the craft of reading (2002)

One becomes a crafty reader by learning the craft of reading. I believe that it is in our interest as individuals to become crafty readers, and in the interest of the nation to educate citizens in the craft of reading. The craft, not the art. Art is high, craft is low. Art is unique; it can't be taught. Craft is common; it can be learned.
There are virtuoso readers, who produce readings that are breathtakingly original, but the more original these readers become, the less they remain readers. Their readings become new works, writings, if you will, for which the originals were only pretexts, and those who create them become authors. I am not interested in producing such readings myself, nor do I believe that anyone can teach others to produce them. What can be studied, learned, and taught is the craft of reading. . . . What is the craft of reading? As with any craft, reading depends on the use of certain tools, handled with skill. But the tools of reading are not simply there, like a hammer or a chisel; they must be acquired, through practice.

Robert Scholes (2002)