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Literacy Theory Reader-Response Learner Org Alyson Bass

Literacy Theory Reader-Response Learner Org Alyson Bass

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Published by Alyson Smith Bass
This is a 2-page sketch of the basic meaning of Reader Response Theory--that is, there are varied interpretations of any one text DEPENDING ON the experiences individual readers bring to the reading of that text. The highlights in red are mine, indicating the most important ideas.
This is a 2-page sketch of the basic meaning of Reader Response Theory--that is, there are varied interpretations of any one text DEPENDING ON the experiences individual readers bring to the reading of that text. The highlights in red are mine, indicating the most important ideas.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Alyson Smith Bass on Jul 09, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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Reader-Response Theory
Explanation
Reader response stresses the importance of the reader's role in interpreting texts.Rejecting the idea that there is a single, fixed meaning inherent
in every literarywork 
, this theory holds that the individual
creates
his or her own meaning througha
transaction
 
with the text based on personal associations
. Because all readers bring their own emotions, concerns, life experiences, and knowledge to their reading, each interpretation is subjective and unique.Many trace the beginning of reader-response theory to scholar Louise Rosenblatt'sinfluential 1938 work 
 Literature As Exploration
. Rosenblatt's ideas were areaction to the formalist theories of the New Critics, who promoted
close readings
of literature, a practice which advocated rigid scholarly detachment in the study of texts and rejected all forms of personal interpretation by the reader. According toRosenblatt, the New Critics treated the text as an
autonomous entity that could beobjectively analyzed 
using clear-cut technical criteria. Rosenblatt believed insteadthat "the reading of any work of literature is, of necessity, an individual and uniqueoccurrence involving the mind and emotions of some particular reader and a particular text at a particular time under particular circumstances."
Impact on teaching literature
Over the last several decades, reader-response techniques have become firmlyestablished in American classrooms. Language arts teachers at all levels nowwidely accept central tenets of the theory, particularly the notion that learning is aconstructive and dynamic process in which students extract meaning from textsthrough experiencing, hypothesizing, exploring, and synthesizing. Mostimportantly, teaching reader response encourages students to be aware of whatthey bring to texts as readers; it helps them to recognize the specificity of their own cultural backgrounds and to work to understand the cultural background of others.Using reader response in the classroom can have a profound impact on howstudents view texts and how they see their role as readers. Rather than relying on ateacher or critic to give them a single, standard interpretation of a text, studentslearn to construct their own meaning by connecting the textual material to issuesin their lives and describing what they experience as they read. Because there is noone
right 
answer or 
correct 
interpretation, the diverse responses of individualreaders are key to discovering the variety of possible meanings a poem, story,essay, or other text can evoke.Students in reader-response classrooms become
active
learners
. Because their 

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