My experiences with literature in high school were NEVER about envisioning, getting to know ourselves better for the reading of it. Always the experience of reading led to daily quizzes for content/details and the final exam which contained one or more essay questions about some literary component like setting, tone, plot, characterization. NEVER what I felt. We never, in any grade, in any class, discussed the "issues" in the book and their relevance to our lives or others. I regret that and I am downright angry about that. What a missed opportunity.
Class was conducted with discussion time. Typically the way it played out was that about five students actively participated in back-and-forth question and answer sessions with the teacher. The rest of us (me included) sat and listened—feeling marginalized and unimportant and ultimately resenting the reading of these books. And at the time I was a wonderful reader. I ultimately, however, didn’t "take off" with my present-day passion for reading until freshman (and following) literature courses in college. I remember looking at one of my literature professors my freshmen year when she asked a question like, "So how do you think he felt when she did that and how did that inform what he did next?" (or something like that to encourage speculative thinking).....and I thought first, is this woman a little bit crazy? And then thinking, whoa...this is going to be AWESOME! Suddenly the whole literature-thing came alive with possibilities. You mean you care what I think?
How pathetic it took me going off to college to have my first "reader response" encounter with literature!