My February 25 post “Fiction writing, real information literacy” described how writing fiction can serve as a research exercise. Students can conduct research to give accurate detail to their works. Similarly reading fiction can spark research ideas.
For example I recently read Susan Kandel’s I dreamed I married Perry Mason. The story’s heroine was writing a biography of Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason’s creator). The book’s details had me delving back into the Perry Mason series and looking up basic information on Gardner.
My case is merely an example, and this example is an obvious research springboard. This approach wouldn’t work well in all situations. All the same we encourage students to choose research topics that interest them. Why not have them look to the leisure reading that interests them?