Conversations in Literature
in Literature is a professional development workshop series
for language arts teachers working with students in middle and
high schools. We hope you will see these programs as a chance
to step back from your professional lives and think about the
very basics of your career remembering why you love literature
and exploring what you can do to awaken this same sense of joy
for the readers in your classroom.
In these programs, you will meet a group of people not unlike
yourselves. Although they have made different career choices
some are teachers, some are professors, and others are
authors they all have several things in common.
They all feel that being engaged in literature is one of the
most satisfying and enriching experiences of their lives. And
they are also passionate about teaching literature. They all
believe that it is important for all students to know the joys
they themselves feel as they interact with poems, short stories,
drama, and other works of fiction.
We brought these readers together to talk about some important
works of classical and contemporary literature. As you observe
their discussions, we hope you will do three things:
- Observe these readers and their discussions as examples
of the ways effective readers interact with a text and each
- Explore the habits of the mind these readers employ and
how they help them form unique and intricate interactions
with the text.
- Think about the ways you can encourage these habits of
the mind in your own students.
project was guided by the vision and research of Dr.
Judith Langer, the Director of the National Center on English 8
Learning and Achievement, State University of New York
Albany. Dr. Langer has spent the bulk of her career exploring
what goes on in the minds of all readers as they engage with
a text, in order to help teachers be more successful in their
work. She has found that effective readers have specific habits
of the mind that help them be successful in negotiating literature.
She calls these habits envisionment building. Envisionment building
is a multi-part process in which readers use intuition, background
experiences, and accumulated knowledge to construct meaning.
As they read, envisionment builders adopt different stances
in relationship to the text. They enter, move around, reflect
upon, and objectify the text and their experience with it to
form a constantly evolving envisionment of the world of the
text and its relation to their own world as readers and thinkers.
About the Contributors:
Advisory Board | Reader's
Biographies | Credits