Reader Response by Louise Rosenblatt

I will favor the Process Model of instruction as it is more “student-centered” and it “asks that the teacher establish the most favorable conditions wherein students can make meaning for themselves” (Farrell 71).  This model, “places a premium on diversity, on the varied ways by which individuals, each unique, construct knowledge from experience” (71).  This allows more flexibility in choice of literature and instructional practices.  Falling under this heading is the Reader Response strategy proposed by Louise Rosenblatt.  I have chosen this theory because it encourages students to share from their personal experience.  It also emphasizes the idea that there is not just one right answer and de-emphasizes the teacher as expert.  An important component of this strategy is that students determine the meaning of the text for themselves and they may be directed back to the text to support their position.  Rosenblatt posits that offering students information on literary history, author background and different periods will be “so much useless baggage if he has not been led primarily to seek in literature a vital personal experience”(57).  Rosenblatt sees the most important goal of literature study is “to enhance students’ ability to read and enjoy literature”(64).

My goal as a teacher is to demonstrate how to create an environment that will nurture lifelong learners who seek out books for pleasure, for knowledge, and for understanding of this complex world full of complex people and issues.  I want my students to experience various strategies that encourage dialogue that is enlightening and truly is a “process” of discovery rather than a fixed or established viewpoint from some expert or authority.  Then hopefully they will choose to reproduce this in their classrooms. Louise Rosenblatt’s highly influential Reader Response strategy will be used during class discussions in order to demonstrate its usefulness in drawing out the marginalized students in the classroom.  Students will have the opportunity to share their personal response to the novels.  Reader Response also can empower students and create an environment that is inclusive and welcoming.

Rosenblatt, Louise. Literature as Exploration. New York: Modern Language, 1995.

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