Interaction and learning to read

Towards a dialogic approach

Authored by: Henrietta Dombey

The Routledge International Handbook of English, Language and Literacy Teaching

Print publication date:  February  2010
Online publication date:  February  2010

Print ISBN: 9780415469036
eBook ISBN: 9780203863091
Adobe ISBN: 9781135183141


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For most of the last century, reading was seen as a technical matter of extracting information from a text. That view was first called into question by literary theorists such as Iser and Rosenblatt, who, 30 years ago, explored the active role of the reader (Iser, 1978; Rosenblatt, 1978). They argue that reading is an interactive process to which readers bring experiences, ideas and intentions, in the course of which they construct their own meanings, which are answerable to the text, but not determined by it. For Bakhtin too, the process is interactive (Bakhtin, 1981). Seeing all understanding as essentially dialogic, Bakhtin views reading as a dialogic process – between the reader and the writer. For Bakhtin, as for Iser and Rosenblatt, each reader must enter into a rather different dialogue with the author, since each approaches the text within his/her own set of concerns, values, understandings and experiences.

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