In moments of great emotional stress, we revert to our worst habits: we dig in and fight harder. The real trick is not to get better at fighting — it’s to get better at stopping ourselves: at taking a deep breath, calming down, and letting our better natures take over from our worst instincts.
— Aaron Swartz
What if we approach and treat books as raw materials to create form? What if the act of reading becomes the foundation for creative actions, leading to tangible, innovative products? A maker-centered reading calls for reimagining, blurring, and expanding the known boundaries of how individuals or groups may interact with text and stories. It invites readers into maker-spaces where books and stories are transformed, repurposed, and embodied.
Keywords (5 words/phrases or less)
Makerspace, Reading to Create, Close Reading, Embodied Reading, Creativity
Creativity is essentially a survival skill. It embraces novelty, play, divergent solutions, improvisation, etc. Fostering creativity is invaluable when it comes to guiding students to meet the demands of an always uncertain and unpredictable future. It is not enough to conceptualize, synthesize, and share our ideas. Action requires radical embodiment, calling us to convert, transform thinking into doing and information into lived wisdom. Mindful doing, purposeful action, embodied intelligence also requires an alert state of wakefulness. As Pulliam-Morre (2016) observes, being WOKE is both an understanding as well as a willingness to take action that leads to valuable solutions.
As an artist/maker, I search for ongoing transactions between reading and making. It is not a coincidence that many libraries are advocating, establishing, and hosting maker-spaces. For me, reading has always been a creative act. Books and stories represent the most precious resources and the raw materials, which I can create from. And to prolong reading, to slow down reading, to expand the boundaries of reading, I am advocating for a maker-centered approach/methodology for reading. My inquiry centers on two fundamental questions: What if we approach and treat books as raw materials to create form? What if the act of reading becomes the foundation for creative actions, leading to tangible, innovative products?
Innovation and Relevancy*
Education should not dismiss the body, or limit the use of our bodies, especially our hands. Epistemic knowledge is acquired through our bodies, but we tend to underestimate knowledge that is beyond language, abstractions, and deliberate, cerebral engagements. However, knowledge can be obtained and cultivated through feeling, tasting, and the making of objects. Reading is often a solitary, stationary, and sedentary act, but through deliberate making, readers can transition from stillness into a communal space where reading takes new forms, new dimensions.
Through my presentation, I seek to inspire others to consider extending the boundaries of reading. I advocate for creating new spaces and new opportunities for readers, encouraging them to give new forms to narratives or ideas encountered in books. Also, I would like to introduce and offer new tools for a maker-centered reading practice by borrowing materials, and tools from other domains (e.g., artistic media, LEGO, video games, coding, etc.)
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