Responding to Literature

When readers respond to a piece of literature, they relate their prior knowledge to the ideas presented in the text (Martinez & Roser, 1991). This process allows readers from diverse backgrounds to bring their own personal perspectives to their reading and actively construct meaning. In this way the construction of meaning becomes a transaction between the reader and the text (Rosenblatt, 1938/1976). In addition, as students respond to literature in a variety of ways, they develop critical thinking abilities.

Successful readers use their responses to help them understand what they read (Pappas & Brown, 1987; Wells, 1986). Thus, it is important for teachers to help students recognize and value their responses to the literature they read. Ultimately, this can help them become better readers.

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