ERIC Number: ED347526
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Mar
Reference Count: 0
Autobiography and Intertextuality.
Smith, Michael W.
To understand literature, it is necessary for a reader to make connections between the text of the literary work and the text of the reader's life. Student autobiographical writing before reading can be used to enhance students' ability to make such connections. Autobiographical writing helps students apply relevant life experience that might not be readily evoked by a literary text. Even the most successful student readers might not otherwise apply their lives to the literature they read. They may remain submissive to literary texts, thinking it is the text's job to make any connections that need to be made. Asking students to write about their lives vests them with an authority they might otherwise not feel and demonstrates to them a teacher's belief in the importance of students' connecting their lives to the literature they read. Student writing models indicate that autobiographical writing before reading appears to have positive effects on both students' understanding of and attitude toward literature. Furthermore, a study has shown that students who engaged in autobiographical writing before reading tended to like stories better than those who did no writing, and students who did not engage in autobiographical writing liked stories less after discussion. By allowing students to reflect on their lives, teachers can help them have more meaningful transactions with literature. (Eight writing prompts are attached. (SG)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Spring Conference of the National Council of Teachers of English (Indianapolis, IN, March 14-16, 1991).