Reading for pleasure: from narrative competence to character education
Resumen: The belief that reading stories is a good means to promote empathy and to improve character education has led educators to use literature at different educational levels. However, it is often the case that this potential that literature can offer does not reach actual students, primarily because the two functions of literature, `prodesse et delectare¿¿to teach and to delight¿are not sufficiently acknowledged as inseparable: students are frequently forced to choose between reading for pleasure and reading for moral improvement. Thus, focusing more on the reader, and exploring what reading for pleasure actually entails, we could use literature more effectively to educate our students¿ characters. Specifically, this chapter aims to explore how a more phenomenological and experiential approach to literature would help improve contemporary reading and teaching practices. Generally labeled `post-critics,¿ there are a number of scholars who argue for the need to focus more on readers and who propose alternative readings¿reflective (Rita Felski), creative (Derek Attridge), or rhetorical (James Phelan). This chapter ends with a brief reference to my experience in teaching in a Core Curriculum program within this phenomenological framework that focuses on the actual students¿ experience and responses to literature.