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Reader-Response Theory

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John DeBarberie

on 30 November 2015

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Transcript of Reader-Response Theory

Transactional Reader-Response Theory
"Poem" refers to all works of literature, i.e. novels, plays, short stories, etc.
Reader creates meaning based on experience - Schema theory
Reader is active, not passive
No restraints are placed on the reader
Reader-Response Theory
Prompts in Practice
Homogeneously grouped students read a novel based on their ability.
Students discuss the text daily.
Thursdays: “Reader Response Discussions”
Scaffolding: the teacher writes his/her own response and models how to reflect on reading and what he/she wrote.
Eventually, this will become a natural practice for students.
Students will sit in their small groups and discuss their different responses and reactions.
Not every student will respond to the same question, so this gives them a chance to think about other questions as well.
Closure: The teacher will close the lesson by bringing everyone back into the whole group and debrief each group. Each student will write a short (1-2 sentence) reflection of the day’s discussions in their journal.
Assessment: Journal entries and closing reflection used to assess progress.

Connection to Theory
1. Students are able to consider their primary responses by analyzing other readings (their peers’ readings) of the text.

2. Cooperative experience - no one person is right or wrong. Students are asked to clarify and explain their responses, not defend.

3. Through discussion, students are able to build ideas and change their minds.

4. Students can create transactions through other experiences, either with other pieces of literature or in their lives.

Teacher assesses his or her students' reading levels
Louise Rosenblatt
Developed transactional/reader-response theory
Reader creates meaning by interacting with the "poem"
Influenced by John Dewey - inquiry theory/constructivism
Professor at Barnard College, Brooklyn College, and New York University
Literature as Exploration (1938)
The Reader, The Text, The Poem: The Transactional Theory of the Literary Work (1978)
Teaching Reading
Two types of reading:
Aesthetic: one reads for pleasure
Efferent: one reads for meaning/information
Teacher encourages spontaneous instant response
Every student has a unique response
Relationship between teacher and student is paramount
Teacher enables student to clarify and enlarge his or her response (Rosenblatt, 1995, p. 73)
Basis for Instructional Practice
Transactional theory relies on the role of the reader.
Therefore, reflection and discussion of literature is essential.
Students should reflect upon the experiences, memories, associations, and feelings they bring in to a text and then examine their response based on those facets.

Overview and Procedure
Grade two and up
Reader Response Journals distributed in September
Journals contain a letter to students and 100 journal prompts
Weekly writing task related to assinged reading
Each prompt may be used once
Students and teachers may view this video.
English Language Learners
provide books with pictures.
source culturally relevant stories.
provide stories that may have been read in native language as well as English.
allow extra time to complete tasks.
allow students to work with a partner or reading buddy.
model and practice role play activities.

Gifted Readers
require longer responses or multiple responses.
ask students to address more than one prompt.
require creative responses (video, scripts, poems, etc.).
ask students to respond from differing points of view.
provide higher level texts.
ask students to pair up and create buddy journals.

Emerging Readers
provide further scaffolding to establish expectations and methods to share viewpoints.
allow extra time for reading and written responses.
allow students to listen to audio books.
Teacher divides prompts into diffculty groups
Teacher divides students into reading groups based on ability
Online cork board where students can post text, video posts, audio, or images
Students may interact with each other by adding content or commenting on their classmates' posts.

Digital, multi-media flyer creator
Students respond to discussion questions using text, images, audio, video, links to outside resources, etc.
Google Drawing
Accessible through Google Drive
Students can create picture and text collages to respond to their reading.
Teachers create classrooms and provide prompts.
Students respond by creating blog posts.
Students create and participate in meaningful discussions.

Google Classroom
Complements Google Drive
Teachers may create online forums for discussion.
Allows for students to read and understand multiple responses and interpretations of the same reading.
Technology Integration
provides differentiation.
provides opportunity for multiple learning styles.
allows students to respond and collaborate in authentic and meaningful ways.
Samantha Martino
Marisa McCann
Lauren Maguire
John DeBarberie

Students create interactive, multi-media posters.
Students choose video, images, text, etc. to respond to text.
Teachers may...
Teachers may...
Generally, teachers may:

When providing writing prompts:
select a few on which to focus.
model responses to those prompts.
ask students to practice using those prompts.
establish a weekly “Must Do” after practice where students address specific prompts.
For closure journal responses:
allow students to draw what comes to mind.
allow students to type responses.
use graphic organizers to provide responses.
Sample Reader Response Prompts

Zoom in to read more clearly.
Probst, R.E. (1988). “Transactional theory in the teaching of literature.” Journal of Reading, 31(4), 378-381.
Rosenblatt, L. M. (1995). Literature as exploration. (5th ed.). New York, NY: The Modern Language Association of America.
Rosenblatt, L.M. (1994). The reader, the text, and the poem: The transactional theory of the literary work. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois University Press.
Rosenblatt, L.M. (1969). “Towards a transactional theory of literacy.” Journal of Literacy Research, 1(1), 31-49, doi:10.1080/10862969609546838
Thank You!
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