readers engage in a close transaction with text, totally immersing
themselves in the text world.
are text worlds in your mind full of a vast horizon of possibilities.
Successful readers actively live in these text worlds during
their reading experience and through it build rich literary
all readers create meaning by unconsciously utilizing the envisionment-building
process, less successful readers have difficulties applying
these skills to what they read in order to create a rich interaction
with the text.
term stance refers to a mental process that readers employ
in order to make meaning out of what they read, no matter what
reading ability they have achieved. Stances reflect the way
readers stand in relationship to the text at any given point
in reading. Effective readers adapt four basic stances as needed,
creating their own unified understanding of the text.
building is not a teaching method imposed on readers, but rather
it describes how successful readers interact with texts and
suggests ways to help students build competence.
demonstrates that many language arts instructional practices
are based on the premise that literary texts are seen as sources
of information to be mined, rather than as text worlds that
invite interaction and reflection. Many teachers have been taught
this way and trained to teach this way. Thus, techniques such
as gathering plot summaries and searching for the best interpretation
of the text have often been ingrained in their pedagogical practices.
Yet, teachers want their students to have rich literary experiences,
and they need to find new ways to accomplish that.
can help students grow as envisionment builders by creating
literary communities that allow for thoughtful discussions by
providing opportunities for students to think about text in
multiple ways, from a wide assortment of perspectives.
The Four Stances:
Being Out and Stepping Into an Envisionment
When readers step into the text world, they search for clues
in order to form initial impressions about the literature and
their journey through it. Readers stand in this position from
the first moment they pick up the book. This relationship to
the text also occurs when readers are confounded by new information
in the text, and are then forced to return to this stance to
clarify or adjust an envisionment.
Being In and Moving Through an Envisionment
Being In and Moving Through text allows readers to connect personal
experiences and background knowledge to the text world. Here,
readers move through the text world, observing the lives of
the characters, breathing in the setting, conflicts and dilemmas,
and wondering what they might do if they were in the characters'
situations. Readers become part of the text world through their
own cognitive journey. As they take multiple perspectives and
consider possibilities, their understandings deepen.
Stepping Out and Rethinking What One Knows
When readers Step Out and Rethink, they use the text as an opportunity
to reconsider aspects of their own lives, reflecting upon decisions,
experiences, and dilemmas. This is one of the most powerful
reasons we read literature to understand ourselves and the
world around us better. In this stance, readers have an opportunity
to examine their past lives, their present lives, and the lives
that lie ahead of them.
Stepping Out and Objectifying the Experience
This stance provides readers with the opportunities to critique
the text as a literary work, analyzing the author's craft, use
of imagery, language, structure and allusions and objectifying
their interpretations of the text. In this position, readers
have the opportunity to see how the literary elements relate
to the whole work's meaning, as well as how the work relates
to other texts.
Principles of an Envisionment-Building Classroom:
Teachers can offer support to students as they grow as
envisionment builders by:
- Students are treated as life-long envisionment builders.
- Questions are treated as part of the literary experience.
- Class meetings are a time to develop understandings.
- Multiple perspectives are used to enrich interpretation.
- Providing framed questions that provoke students to respond
to text in multiple ways.
- Building a literary community of engaged readers where
mutual respect is the basis. Here, students have respect
for the text, for one another, and for the unique perspectives
that each community member offers, and for well-developed
and well-explained interpretations.