Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Conversations in Literature
Conversations in Literature — Workshop

Individual Program

1. Responding
as Readers

2. Envisioning

3. Stepping In

4. Moving Through

5. Rethinking

6. Objectifying
the Text

7. The Stances
in Action

8. Returning to the

Support Materials

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Objectifying the Text


Key Points

Learning Objectives

Background Reading

Homework Assignment

Classroom Connection

Ongoing Activity
Additional Reading


When readers step out and objectify their reading experience, they reflect on the text and their experience with it, by analyzing its words and its structure, comparing it to other texts, examining the author's craft, and objectifying their personal responses to it. From this critical approach, readers have the opportunity to extend and examine their understanding of the piece. In this stance, they can try on different ways of seeing the text, explore other interpretations, and think about the ways language, syntax, genre, voice, and time period work within in the piece. This is also where readers bring various approaches to literary criticism to bear, using the tools of New criticism, feminist criticism, or historical criticism, for example, to analyze and critique the text.

At this point in the envisionment-building process, readers take time to explore the author's use of language and the impact of significant phrases and word choices on the message relayed to the reader. Here, effective readers utilize literary elements and allusions to critically analyze the text. Like all others, this stance can occur at any stage in the recursive envisionment-building process.

Some of the questions that readers ask themselves when stepping back from the text include:

  • Are there any other texts that I have read that can inform my understanding of this piece?
  • Why did the author choose that particular phrase, style, or organizational feature?
  • How does the title relate to the construct of the story?
  • How does the language and voice affect my understanding of the text?
  • How does the author's voice contrast with my own perspective?
  • Why did some of the word choices affect me so deeply?
  • How can my understanding of literary elements (plot, setting, theme, characterization, and so forth) inform my envisionment?
  • How would the piece differ if written, taken place, or read in another era or culture? How would I see things differently if I were from another culture, another era, or another's perspective?
  • How do other interpretations of the text contrast with my own?
  • What are some other ways I can react to the text? Consider other perspectives, such as critical, feminist, or political.
For a complete guide to the workshop session activities, download and print our support materials.



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