A Case Study of a Reader: Mark

by Charles Wood

This web site was created to fulfill the requirements of the Capping Exercise (LIS 600) at the School of Library and Information Studies, University of Alberta. The paper was originally written for LIS 580, Contemporary Theories and Practices of Reading. The site was last updated July 14, 2006.

Introduction Reading Typologies "Normal" Reading Conclusion References Transcript


I think a few of the important aspects of Mark’s identity as a reader are made apparent through this case study. In spite of a workplace in which he doesn’t perceive that reading for enjoyment is either necessary or encouraged, Mark is an avid reader of a wide variety of books. Mark enjoys certain qualities in common with the wider reading community as is shown by the clear parallels between some of his description of his own reading, and the typologies provided by Ross and Beers. Mark also demonstrates some important divergences from either the typologies or from received wisdom. For one thing, Mark’s reading habits were formed without a great deal of emphasis on reading in his childhood. In addition, he identifies his devotion to reading as generated through High School English, which seems to be somewhat unusual. Finally, even though some of Mark’s responses indicated that he perceived a “normal” reading community that he was not part of; I think, as a case study, Mark himself confounds many conceptions of a “normal” reader. The trades are often not thought of as a site of substantial reading, yet, not only does Mark read a great deal, he describes a fairly active reading community amongst his co-workers. Mark’s perceptions of other sites of reading and the way that he might misunderstand what kinds of reading go on in other communities is a useful reminder of the difficulty of understanding reading in general, universal terms.