Volume 2, Issue 2
  • ISSN 1053-6981
  • E-ISSN: 2405-9374
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AbstractResponse to literature involves a transaction between reader and author where meaning is constructed by the reader, using the blueprints, or signs, provided by the author. According to Fish (1980a), readers and authors implicitly know the conventions of response by virtue of being members of the same interpretive community. This socially acquired knowledge enables readers and authors to conjointly create, identify, and respond to literature. Currently, increased re-search into the teaching and learning of literature has led to a renewed examina-tion of classroom techniques directed toward "teaching" response. This article presents data which suggests that many young children begin formal schooling with a predisposition, or readiness, for literary response. Evidence for this comes from a study of preliterate kindergarten children who were asked to "pretend to read" to a pretend child (doll) from a wordless picture book (Purcell-Gates, 1988). Cast in the authorial role, these children used language which proved to enhance and constrain imaging for reader response. This communicative compe-tence is interpreted through Fish's notion of an interpretive community within which literary conventions are implicitly learned. Knowledge of both the product and process of acquisition of this knowledge held by entering school children should inform discussions of instructional methodology regarding reader re-sponse. (Literacy Education)


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  • Article Type: Research Article
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