ERIC Number: ED333439
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Questions of Difficulty in Literary Reading. Report Series 4.6.
Increasingly over the past several years, the reading of literature has been viewed as a social interpretive process. Conceptions of reading have changed from a largely cognitive process of print decoding to a socially situated one of understanding and appropriating a variety of discourse and text conventions. "Difficulty" is the result of the similarity or disparity between the text and the socially imbedded and motivated interpretive processes of particular readers. Students must learn to become comfortable with complexity and ambiguity in the presence of teacher messages that reward simple solutions. The literary "transaction" of reading involves several kinds of understandings: (1) self-understanding; (2) social understanding; (3) literary understanding; and (4) aesthetic understanding. Literary reading cannot be easily measured or defined, or developed discretely as a set of skills. The interpretive culture created by teachers' questions can stifle the multiple, complex understandings necessary to the literary experience, potentially compounding the difficulty of literary texts. Teachers' questions should guide students as they move toward their own interpretive horizons. In questioning and sharing experience, students and teachers become empowered to embrace the difficulties unique to literary reading. (Forty references are attached.) (SG)
Descriptors: Difficulty Level, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Literature Appreciation, Reading Processes, Secondary Education, Student Motivation, Teacher Role, Teacher Student Relationship
Literature Center, University of Albany, Ed B-9, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222 ($3.00 prepaid; checks payable to the Research Foundation of SUNY).
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature, Albany, NY.