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Reading (activity)
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Reading (activity)

This article is about reading the activity. For the English town, see Reading, England, for other places see Reading.

Reading is the process of retrieving and comprehending some form of stored information or ideas. These ideas are usually some sort of representation of language, as symbols to be examined by sight, or by touch (for example Braille). Other types of reading may not be language-based, such as music notation or pictograms. By analogy, in computer science, reading is acquiring of data from some sort of computer storage.

Reading by humans is mostly done from paper (a dysphemism for such an edition is "dead tree edition"), but other media are used, such as carved stone, chalk on blackboard: anything that can hold a mark. More recently these include computer displays, television and other displays in devices such as mobile phones.

A requirement for (convenient) reading is a good contrast between letters and background (depending on colors of letters and background, any pattern or image in the background, and on lighting) and a suitable font size. In the case of a computer screen, not having to scroll horizontally is important.

The process of recording information to be read later is writing. In the case of computer and microfiche storage there is the separate step of displaying the written text. For humans reading is usually faster and easier than writing.

Reading is typically an individual activity, although on occasion a person will read out loud for the benefit of other listeners. Reading aloud for one's own use, for better comprehension, is a form of intrapersonal communication. Reading to young children is a recommended way to instill language, expression, and to promote comprehension of text.

Literacy is the ability to read and write; illiteracy is usually caused by not having had the opportunity to learn these. Apart from that, sufferers of dyslexia have difficulty reading and/or writing.

About acquiring reading skill, see Reading education.

Learning to read in a language other than your native one, especially in adulthood, may be a rather different process from learning to read your native language in childhood. For this, see English as an additional language.

Proofreading is a kind of reading for the purpose of detecting typographical errors. Reader's fatigue can sometimes come as a result of reading poorly written work.