Write for You: Reading the World

Reading the World

by Nancy Casey

Some people read books, but everybody reads. Today in your writing, describe the reading that you do that isn’t traditional book-reading.

Walking around town, we read things whether we want to or not. Think about the word Exit, for instance or the names of businesses along the street. Do words jump out at you from billboards or people’s clothing? At a traffic light, you read symbols to know when it’s safe to proceed.

Do you read on a device like a phone or a computer? Are you a reader of social media? Do you read short things or long things? Sometimes you probably read pictures. Do you prefer to read pictures that are still or pictures that move? Do you like there to be silence or sound with your pictures? Do you like words with the pictures?

All kinds of reading take place on the job. Some people read words on paper, others read numbers. A person reads a machine when they watch what it is doing and know when they should intervene.

It might seem odd to think about reading that doesn’t involve words. We read words to understand or imagine things and, maybe learn something, too. But we learn and understand from paying attention to lots of things, words included. In that sense, we are reading the world around us all the time.

We read social situations in order to decide where to sit or stand in a room. We read people’s faces and figure out all kinds of things. What can you figure out from reading the sky?

Today in your writing, describe some of the ways that you read words and read the world. Tell what you learn from what you read. What kinds of reading in the world do you like the most?

When you have finished, give your work a title. Make sure the date is on it somewhere, too. Add decoration and color to the page as needed. Here is an example of what a person could write.

Share what you have written! Post it as a comment below. You can type in your work. Or post a picture of it.


Nancy Casey has lived in Latah County for many years. Sometimes she teaches writing classes at the Recovery Center. You can find more of her work here. She offers (free!) writing help to anyone in recovery. This can be for any kind of writing project—resumes, letters, stories novels—email latahrecoverycenter@gmail.com for more information

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