By Catherine Wallace (auth.)

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In short, we may want to think of critical reading as less to do with specific strategies than with an overall stance or position, an orientation to the reading task. If asked to verbalise their responses to texts, readers may reveal not just their strategies as readers at the micro level of response to individual utterances, but their stance both critically, conceptually and affectively, influenced by their personal and social histories as readers. One goal of my research was to explore not the exercise of strategies but to take a wider perspective on the sociocultural as well as individual resources which readers bring with them to a reading task.

Ellis (1997) notes the research by Aldersone et al. (1995) which suggested that metalingual knowledge is not related to language proficiency. However, as Ellis (1997: 113) goes on to point out, this does not mean that explicit knowledge is unimportant; merely that the use of accompanying metalanguage is in doubt. Whatever the case, I initially developed pedagogic procedures on the assumption that metalinguistic knowledge would support awareness, and, while it might not facilitate language development in the first instance, might serve to stretch learners’ language production in the longer term.

Desire and identification, concludes Janks, works against reason (2001b: 4). And all of us might Reading as a Social Process 25 acknowledge that we can find pleasure in what we intellectually despise. One response to this dilemma might be to argue that we respond in pleasure and critique at leisure, maybe even moving in and out of conflicting reader stances. In other words, that we can both enjoy and deplore. Moreover, a range of interpretations may be derived from a text, even by the same reader, for texts mean in complex and even contradictory ways.

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