Heed My Words, My Friends and Readers!
The person told me that even they feel we're starting to focus less on literature and more on reading.
I was dumbfounded, but also happy to have the case so easily qualified for me. For the life of me, I can't figure out any good reason (I know plenty of bad ones) why educated people who have made a life of letters or who enjoy teaching literature can't understand that literaCY is the prerequisite to truly engaging in and understanding literatURE.
Focusing on literature without considerations of reading, simply for the sake of preservation of a field or any other reason, is like teaching a portrait painting class without asking the students to take figure drawing or asking them to learn basic elements of shape and design. It's like assuming that students don't need to know how to multiply to do Calculus.
If the issue at hand really can be traced to worry about moving away from literature and towards reading, the solution to the "problem" is simple:
Stop viewing reading and literature as separate constructs. Instead, favoring the logical, sensible -- dare I even say it "common sense' -- notion that literature and literacy, great books and reading proficiency, are always intricately intermeshed, and our pedagogy concerning teaching all types of literature and media ought always to be based in this premise.