Reading and Watching: What does the written word have that images don’t?

The biennial international conference organised by the Dutch reading foundation is called READING AND WATCHING and was held on 21 November 2008.

by Dick Schram (editor)

For 20 years now, the Dutch reading foundation has been a successful factor in the promotion of (literary) reading. It is a generally recognised fact that the ability to read is important for development and social success. The fact that intensive reading improves your reading proficiency and your vocabulary is widely accepted as well. However, other effects have been ascribed to reading (literature) as well. Reading literature sharpens your intelligence, fosters an insight into and understanding of other people and things. Literature teaches you to ask questions, is disturbing and makes the certain uncertain. Some people even claim that reading makes you a better person.

But are the supposed effects attained from literature alone? Could the same be achieved from images (television, films, games)? What does the written word have that images don’t? What is it that actually legitimises reading promotion? At this conference, we set out to establish the answers to these questions.

The lectures are put together in a book. Contributions by Aad Meinderts (preface), Rachel van Riel, György Konrád, Adriana Bus, Hans-Heino Ewers, Raymond A. Mar, Jakob Lothe and Joyce Goggin. In this book you’ll also find a report of the forum discussion.