Some people like to challenge themselves once in a while. By your logic, we should never move beyond our elementary school readers.
No, that's going by your strawman caricature of my logic.
By my actual logic, you should probably not try to skip directly from little golden books to Ulysses without reading incrementally more difficult things in between.
Gee, there's only one possible "point of reading"? And here I thought that one of the primary "points of reading" was to understand what the author was saying... which you can't very well do if you don't understand the words.
And if you have to look up every other damn word, you'll forget what the first part of the sentence said by the time you get to the end of it.
I have taught graduate-level courses at universities, and one of the things I strongly encourage students to do is look up recurring words that they don't know.
If your students are having to do that so often -- and that's the important word: "often!" -- that using an e-reader with a built-in dictionary provides a significant advantage, then what were they doing during their entire 'education' up to that point? Shouldn't people have already developed a decent vocabulary before becoming grad students? How do they even pass the verbal portion of the GRE?
Yes, that's a great exercise, and if you're in the middle of a fast-paced novel, it's probably a reasonable idea. But if you're actually trying to understand what an author is saying, and there's this word popping up a dozen times that you don't know, simply guessing what it means is missing an opportunity to learn something.
Well shit, if you've already tried figuring the word out from context and failed, and then it keeps coming up over and over again, then of course you should go look it up -- that's fucking common sense! Clearly, from your response, I overestimated Slashdotters' grasp of the obvious.
And recurring words are great for that kind of exercise, because it provides periodic reinforcement, which is one of the keys to learning natural language and recalling new things. Most authors -- even those who write "stories" and fiction -- tend to have "pet words" that aren't part of the standard core vocabulary everyone uses. When you see such a word and look it up [or figure it out from context], each time the author uses it again you'll reinforce that word. Suddenly, by the end of the book, you'll have expanded your vocabulary by a dozen or a few dozen words. (And you're more likely to remember the meaning than if you had just memorized the word for a vocab test or something -- seeing practical usage will aid recall.)
So you agree with me, then!