reading metaphors

Interesting piece from Inside Higher Ed: Metaphors We Read By.  Some metaphors that first-year college students offered in Musgrove’s Picturing Reading Project:

  • "1. Reading is grafting, and the reader connects new text to another text read.

  • 2. Reading is dancing, and the reader follows the lead and steps of
    the text, including its rhythm, music, lyric, genre, and flow.

  • 3. Reading is sorting, and the reader puts knowledge and experience and dramatic elements of text into categories.

  • 4. Reading is surveying, and the reader examines the territory of
    the book, its surface, size, structure, scope, distinguishing features,
    divisions, boundaries, etc.

  • 5. Reading is integrating, and the reader incorporates new knowledge into other knowledge; blending and kneading together.

  • 6. Reading is counting, and the reader is concerned with the number
    of pages in the text or how many pages are left until they can escape
    the text (also envision the image of a prisoner marking off days on

A much longer list of metaphors here.  Now, the teaching of reading is not my area of expertise, but the idea of having students explicitly surface their conceptions of reading and then using that on a metacognitive level to move towards a more positive relationship with reading seems like a useful idea.  Actually, might be useful in other arenas as well; having students (or faculty, for that matter) create metaphors that describe their relationship to technology…


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