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This engaging book applies reader response theory to children's literature methods to help new and experienced teachers best involve kindergarteners through eighth graders in literature and literacy. Authentic student responses open chapters, book clusters and the accompanying CD database of children's literature provide guidance for involving students with literature, and Literature Resources on the Web guide users to lesson plans, standards, author interviews, projects, and other Internet resources to enrich teaching. For teachers of Children's Literature.
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A Celebration of Literature and Response is written for undergraduate and graduate courses in children's literature that blend an appreciation for children's books with an emphasis on the critical involvement of the reader. Whether the course resides in education, English, or library science, the blended perspective on both literature and the reader should have wide appeal. This text effectively balances the importance of both the literature and the reader from an educational perspective. The blended perspective of this text—literary appreciation and response-based instruction in K-8 classrooms—also makes the text useful in language arts or reading methods courses.
The scholarship for this text is grounded in Louise Rosenblatt's transactional theory of reader response. Its practicality, however, is reinforced by reader-response research and authentic classroom practice. A Celebration of Literature and Response adequately fulfills two purposes. First, it links the scholarship of reader response and a respect for quality children's literature with an appreciation for the response-based connections that involve the reader in that literature. Second, it provides both preservice and inservice teachers with an instructional perspective as they expand their knowledge of contemporary children's literature across literary genres while acquiring meaningful response-based strategies to include in literacy programs. The focus on both books and readers is a critical aspect of a response-based literature perspective and brings a unique quality to this text.
Organization of the Text
A Celebration of Literature and Response is organized around five main "celebrations" as a framework for building a bridge between reader-response theory, quality children's literature, and exemplary literature-based practice. Each celebration is meaningfully linked to the IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts to assist readers in connecting standards to literature-based classroom practice.
Part I, "Celebrating Literature, Response, and Teaching," invites reflection on the meaningful connections between children's literature, children as readers, and the role of reader response in literature-based instruction. Louise Rosenblatt's transactional theory of reader response, defined in understandable terms, provides a framework for sharing the rich, developmental parameters of response. Part II, "Celebrating Literature," offers substantial chapters that invite readers to appreciate the major literary genres and formats of children's literature, including a chapter on multicultural literature. Rich bibliographies of current book titles interwoven with selected children's classics form a sound foundation for later classroom connections. Part III, "Celebrating Response Connections," contains a blend of response-based strategies for eliciting a developmental range of reader response in K-8 children across oral, written, and artistic dimensions. In Part IV, "Celebrating Intertextual and Interdisciplinary Connections," the integration of content area instruction through literature clusters, literature-based theme explorations, and twin text/technology connections is explored. Part V focuses on "Celebrating Response Growth Through Assessment" by proposing authentic assessment for documenting growth in response, and by aligning literature and response-based instruction, to literary standards.
Key Features of the Text
The following list highlights some of the unique aspects of the second edition of this text that make it stand out from others in the field:
Those who select A Celebration of Literature and Response for preservice or inservice teachers are encouraged to align course assignments and practicum or classroom-based activities with the reader-response opportunities presented in the text. Although the genre focus suggests a traditional course, response connections to other chapters are predictably shared at the end of each chapter in Part II. This perspective allows a theory-into-practice approach and encourages meaningful connections between the text and authentic response in the college classroom. For example, a literature response journal with historical fiction, literature discussions on a work of realistic fiction, or dramatic reenactments of scenes from a traditional folktale replicate the response-based activities that inevitably will find their way into the K-8 classroom.
Although other highly respected, quality texts exist in the field of children's literature, A Celebration of Literature and Response merits consideration because of its dual focus on books and readers. Quality literature and a foundation of reader response theory build valid instructional possibilities for child-centered, response-based involvement through literature.
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