Integrating Reading Time into Family Life: AN ESSAY IN FIVE ACTS

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Reception: Texts, Readers, Audiences, History


This experimental article proposes that reading—particularly reading aloud, in both family and academic contexts—takes time, but also creates space for a form of shared time. Using my own family as a case study (from my grandmother—who taught herself to read Shakespeare as a teenager in the 1930s in the scant free time she had as a domestic worker—to my daughter, who spends hours every night reading paperbacks in the bath), I suggest that time spent reading need not necessarily be seen as an optional extra, nor even as stolen time, but as integral to our lived (and shared) day-to-day. I attempt to enact this integration in the form of this article—for example, it is structured in five Acts, following Shakespeare’s plays; and variations of chapter titles from A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh are used to introduce each Act.

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