1st Edition

Why Reading Literature in School Still Matters
Imagination, Interpretation, Insight

ISBN 9780805842296
Published May 1, 2002 by Routledge
196 Pages

USD $46.95

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Book Description

Why Reading Literature in School Still Matters: Imagination, Interpretation, Insight explains how a reader's involvement with literary texts can create conditions for developing deep insight into human experience, and how teachers can develop these interpretive possibilities in school contexts. Developed from the author's many years of research, this book offers both a theoretical framework that draws from an interdisciplinary array of sources and many compelling and insightful examples of literary engagement of child, adolescent, and adult readers, as well as practical advice for teachers and other readers about how to create interesting and expansive sites for interpretation that are personally rewarding and productive.

Why Reading Literature in School Still Matters: Imagination, Interpretation, Insight :
*provides an overview of theories of human learning that influence beliefs about language, culture, and identity;
*shows how these theories of learning influence beliefs about and practices of reading and interpretation;
*introduces new ways to conceptualize reading that emphasize the relationship between individual and collective identities and language/literacy practices;
*explains why access to information does not guarantee that understanding and/or insight will occur--by emphasizing the importance of "re-reading" and "close reading" this text shows that development of deep insight depends on interpretation skills that must be taught; and
*presents a reconceptualized view of reading pedagogy.

This is an essential text for education courses at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and a must read for teachers and for anyone interested in more deeply understanding how literary works of art can create conditions for learning about oneself, one's situation, and one's possibilities.

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface. The Gradual Instant. Learning How to Create Insight. Interpreting Identities: Troubling Bodies. Learning How to Be a Subject. Interpreting Identities: Every Moment Is Two Moments. Learning How to Fall in Love. Interpreting Identities: Enlarging the Space of the Possible. Why Reading Literature in School Still Matters.

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"Sumara takes readers on a personal journey in teaching and literary engagement....an interesting experience in literary engagement most appropriate for graduate students of hermeneutics with backgrounds in theoretical models and processes of reading and literature."

"This latest volume by Dennis Sumara adds a new layer of meaning to my continued appreciation of his work--work that promises to revamp how the literacy community theorizes reading pedagogy. Stunningly conceptualized and filled with powerful insights at every turn, this book is, at the same time, uniquely practical and engaging to read."
Donna E. Alvermann
University of Georgia

"This is the most eloquent and important writing about reading since Louise Rosenblatt's The Reader, the Text, the Poem. During a week when I had more than enough to do...I felt the book luring me back to it, again, and again, and I did not resist its allure, and I'm glad. It will change the way I read (and reread); it has already changed the way I teach....This book is utterly humane yet magnificently erudite....I am grateful for this book. Read it and reread it. I am sure you will be inspirited by it."
Louise DeSalvo
Hunter College

"Not since Margaret Meek Spencer have we had such a clear statement on 'how texts teach what readers learn.' Dennis Sumara shows how teachers can help readers to linger in texts, and he also demonstrates how those texts can reward readers who do this work."
Jerome Harste
Indiana University