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Whereas reading for information requires finding a sense of the topic early in the reading and then searching for new information with reference to that topic, literary reading is in a constant state of flux. Four stances describe how accomplished readers interact with a given text: (1) people bring what they know from their reading and experiences to their reading of the new text, seeking enough essential information to "step in" to the text and form initial interpretations; (2) as people think, write about, or discuss a literary work, they "move through" the text, exploring possibilities and developing deeper understandings; (3) often emerging understandings prompt reflection on the world beyond the text--sometimes people "step out and rethink," using ideas they have gotten from the text to inform their interpretations of their known world; and (4) at other times, people distance themselves from the reading experience, the text itself, and the understandings they have developed--here they "step out and inspect" the text for purposes of analysis, comparison, or other critical examination. Students are supported in developing literary interpretations when teachers focus the discussion on students' ideas and questions; show them ways to discuss and ways to think; ask questions that move students to different stances; and foster student awareness and control of their "envisionments." A possible sequence for guiding literature discussions is to: invite students to read the text, responding in any way that helps them; tap readers' first impressions after all have finished reading; continue to keep readers' ideas/questions at the center of the discussion; and end the discussion by taking stock of ideas. (NKA)

Descriptors: Critical Reading, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Elementary Secondary Education, Instructional Effectiveness, Interpretive Skills, Literature Appreciation, Teacher Role, Thinking Skills

National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement, University at Albany, State University of New York, 1400 Washington Avenue, Albany, NY 12222. Tel: 518-442-5026; Fax: 518-442-5933; e-mail: cela[at]csc.albany.edu; Web site: http://cela.albany.edu.









Author: National Research Center on English Learning and Achievement, Albany, NY.

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=6881&id=ED462681







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