Our reading is further influenced by our purpose for reading and by the nature of the text itself.
For example, if we are reading for pure pleasure and personal amusement, it may not matter if we do not fully understand the text.
Of course, reading has a nearly universal purpose: to figure out what an author has to say on a given subject. The author has previously translated ideas and experiences into words.
We must take those same words and re-translate them into the author’s original meaning using our own ideas and experiences as aids.
Skilled readers do not read blindly, but purposely. Their purpose, together with the nature of what they are reading, determines how they read.
They read in different ways in different situations for different purposes.
Few are able to accurately mirror the meaning the author intended. They unintentionally distort or violate the original meaning of authors they read.
As Horace Mann put it in 1838:"I have devoted especial pains to learn, with some degree of numerical accuracy, how far the reading, in our schools, is an exercise of the mind in thinking and feeling and how far it is a barren action of the organs of speech upon the atmosphere.
Some of the various purposes for reading include: How you read should be determined in part by what you read.
Reflective readers read a textbook, for example, using a different mindset than they use when reading an article in a newspaper.