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Wednesday, January 25, 2012

LIS 580 - Contemporary Theories and Practices of Reading

LIS 580 - Contemporary Theories and Practices of Reading

Course Outline

Calendar Description:

A study of different theories of reading (e.g. social, psychological, literary) and of sites and practices of literacy in an era of rapid cultural and technological change.


On completion of this course, students will understand and be able to critique the following:
  • social theories of reading
    • contextual issues
    • sites of reading ( homes, educational institutions, workplaces, libraries, etc.)
    • politics of literacy
    • psychological approaches to reading
    • cultural theories of reading
      • forms and conventions of texts
      • issues involving graphic materials
      • questions of linguistic and cultural background
      • technological pressures on reading
        • media/computer literacies
        • changing forms of text
        • organizational issues concerning literacy
          • sources and supplies of reading materials
          • institutional approaches to meeting reader needs
          • readers' advisory work


          • An introduction to major theoretical perspectives on reading
          • An overview of substantial institutional questions regarding reading
          • An introduction to the following topics:
            • the role of various forms of literacy education
            • the impact of the supply and organization of literacy materials
            • the effects of technological change on literate behaviours


            Seminar presentations, class discussion of readings, field trips

            Course Relationships:

            Pre-requisite: LIS 501.

            Assignments: N/A

            Reading Journal20%
            Presentation of a Case Study
                      -written presentation
                      -oral presentation
            Reading Task20%
            Class Contribution20%

            Details of these assignments, due dates, late penalties, etc. are attached. Raw scores (i.e. marks on assignments) are totalled at the end of the course and converted to the 4-grade scale.


            A set of readings available for personal photocopying in Henderson Hall, and other readings as made available in class. PLEASE NOTE: some of these readings are single-sided and some are double-sided. Always check before you run the photocopier.

            Assignments and Evaluation N/A

            Reading Journal (20%)
            Select a set of readings for a particular week.   It does not matter how many people choose the same set of readings.
            Submit a three-part reading journal related to these papers and organized in the following way (parts 1 and 2 must be completed before the class discussion; part 3 should be completed following the relevant class).
            1. Briefly outline your responses to the papers as you read them.  Do you agree or disagree with the fundamental points being made by the author(s)?  Does one or another of the articles push your own thinking in a useful way – if so, please elaborate.  Or, do you find one or more of them disappointing in their limitations – again, please elaborate if this is the case.  Did any of the readings surprise you, or were your original opinions confirmed by them?  What do you feel you have learned from this set of articles?
            2. As you read the articles, pay some attention to your own reading processes.  Do you find one article easier to focus on than another?  Why?  Do you find you have to make yourself concentrate by taking notes/highlighting/etc.?  How difficult is it for you to observe yourself reading as you read?  Comment on the processes involved.
            3. Comment on how the class discussion affected your responses to the articles.  Did you change your mind about anything?  Did you find your own views confirmed or challenged?  Why or why not?  Be specific.
            This response journal is due the Monday after the class discussion you are describing.  Your complete response should be no less than 10 pages long and no more than 20 pages.  The penalty for late submission is one mark (out of 20) per day.
            Reading Task (20%)
            This final assignment involves you in the development of a reading task:  you will find some form of reading that is difficult for you or that takes you into new reading territory.  You must read for a minimum of one hour at this task.  You will hand in the following:
            • a description and justification of your selection of this task (1 to 2 pages in length),
            • a detailed description of how you responded to this reading material (3 to 5 pages in length), describing successes and difficulties and drawing where relevant on class readings and on other appropriate support,
            • a representative page or saved screen of your chosen text.
            Your selected task must be cleared with the instructor by March 22, 2010 at the latest, and the paper is due by noon on April 9, 2010.  Because of convocation deadlines, there is no real flexibility with this due date.  The penalty for late submission is five marks (out of 20) per day.
            The paper should be typed (1 ½ space).  Credit will be given for the choice and justification of your reading task, for the clarity and acuteness of your analysis of your own responses, and for your use of support materials.
            The bibliography should conform to MLA, APA, or Chicago guidelines – choose one and be consistent.
            Class Contribution (20%)
            For this part of the final grade, you will be assessed on the quality of your participation in class – both in terms of your own contribution to the discussion and in terms of how you respond to the contributions of others.  Discussion is an important element of this course, and a constructive and co-operative exchange between students is vital to its success (hence the high percentage of marks awarded to this element).  It is essential that you read the assigned articles for each week’s class and consider your responses to them in advance, so that you are ready to take part.
            Presentation of a Case Study (40%)
            Your case study will involve a single reader other than yourself.  You will select this reader because he or she offers an interesting perspective on some aspect of reading processes:  it may be a fluent and avid reader, or a reader with difficulties, an adult learner, a book club organizer, a readers’ advisory librarian, a teacher, etc.  You will gain the informed consent of this reader, carefully explaining the nature of the commitment you are asking, and obtaining a signature on the approved and attached form letter (you should give one copy of this letter to your participant and keep one for yourself to be handed in with the assignment).  If your chosen participant is under the age of 18, you must obtain his or her informed consent and also gain the informed consent of his or her parent or guardian, again using the approved and attached form letters.  Ethical approval for this work has been obtained for the class as a whole and it is important that you keep to the prescribed forms.
            You will then tape record and transcribe (under a pseudonym) your exchanges with this reader.  You may choose to interview him/her about particular aspects of his/her reading life and/or you may choose to record the participant responding to a particular text.  You must go beyond simply recording this participant reading aloud and try to gain some insight into his/her mental processes and/or specific social and cultural situation.  You may choose to analyze a single reading experience or a more complex reading situation, and your description may be particular or more general.  Your interview should not run for much longer than 45 minutes, except in very exceptional circumstances, which should then be explained to the instructor.
            If you are working with a participant under the age of 18, you must clear with the instructor any texts you plan to offer this person to read.  In all cases, you must be careful to respect the individual’s personal privacy and not press for answers to questions that may embarrass the participant or make him/her uncomfortable.  You must keep in mind at all times that the participant is always free to withdraw without penalty.  If this happens you must destroy any data collected up to this point.
            After transcribing the tape(s), you will prepare a presentation of fifteen-eighteen minutes in length, in which you describe the most interesting elements of your reader’s behaviours and attitudes.  These presentations will be given on March 1; a sign-up sheet will be provided and it will be a case of first-come first served.
            In addition you will provide a written description of your reader not exceeding two pages in length (excluding the transcript).  You may use bullet points, tables and graphs, or any other device in order to present as full a picture of your reader as possible in this short space.  You may include up to one extra page of references to relevant course readings and any other readings that seem appropriate.  You may choose to emphasize the factors (experiential, social, cultural) that make reading a successful or unsuccessful experience for your participant, or you may choose to explore some of the mental processes that appear to be at work in the recorded reading.
            Both the talk and the written description are short, meaning that you must boil down the essence of your interview to a very terse description of the most salient issues.
            Your paper is due by 4 p.m. on Monday March 1, 2010.  With the paper you will also submit the complete transcript, as well as your notes of the interview, if any and a copy of the signed consent form.  These transcripts and notes and the form will be returned to you.  According to the ethical requirements of the Faculty of Education, you must securely retain these documents, as well as the audiotapes, for a minimum of five years, after which they must be destroyed.
            The paper must be typed; the transcript may be typed but may be handwritten if this is easier for you.  The penalty for late submission is one mark (out of 20) per day.
            Marks will be allocated as follows:

            written paper15%
            oral presentation20%

            Tentative Timetable

            January  Introduction, assignments, etc.  Case study and ethics clearance.  History of studies in reading as part of history of library schools.

            What is reading?  How do we do it?  How is it changing?
            January  Personal issues of literacy.  Reading values, reading styles.  Discussion of personal reading styles and impact on reading life.
            January  Social literacies  
            February Conditions of reading:  publishing, marketing and domestic frameworks
            February Politics and practice in early reading              
            February READING WEEK
            February Working with readers:  tastes, standards and judgements
            March Case study presentations
            March Reading for a purpose in different social and historical contexts
            March A variety of perspectives on reading
            March Socially significant literacies
            March Field trip to the Centre for Family Literacy and the Edmonton Mennonite
            Centre for Newcomers
            April  EASTER MONDAY – NO CLASS
            April Reading in flux

            Readings and Resources

            Tentative Schedule, 
            Introduction, assignments, etc.  Case study and ethics clearance.  History of studies in reading as part of history of library schools.
            Theory and practice:  What is reading?  How do we do it?  How is it changing?
            • “Rules of Reading.”  Peter Rabinowitz.  Before Reading:  Narrative Convention and the Politics of Interpretation.  Ithaca:  Cornell University Press, 1987.  42-46.
            • "Outside In.”  Scott McCloud.  Computer Gaming World, #209, December 2001.  96-101.
            • “ Reading .”  Poems by Shantaro Tanikawa.  The Book & the Computer, 2003.  http://www.honco.net/gallery/reading/
            (These readings are not in Henderson Hall.)  
            January 18Personal issues of literacy.  Reading values, reading styles.  Discussion of personal reading styles and impact on reading life.
            • “The Shadow Life of Reading.”  Sven Birkerts.  The Gutenberg Elegies.  95-108.
            • “Many Spaces:  Some Limitations of Single Readings.”  Margaret Mackey.  Children’s Literature in Education 24(3), 1993.  147-163.
            • “The Literary Transaction:  Evocation and Response.”  Louise Rosenblatt.  Making Meaning with Texts:  Selected Essays.  Portsmouth, NH:  Heinemann, 2005.  72-88.
            • “Reading and Attention.”  David M. Levy.  Scrolling Forward:  Making Sense of Documents in the Digital Age.  New York:  Arcade Publishing, 2001, 101-117.
            January 25     Social literacies
            • “Understanding Literacy as Social Practices.”  David Barton and Mary Hamilton.  Local Literacies:  Reading and Writing in One Community.  London:  Routledge, 1998.  3-22.
            • “’I Just Like Being Good at It’:  The Importance of Competence in the Literate Lives of Young Men.”  Michael Smith & Jeffrey D. Wilhelm.  Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 47(8), March 2004.  454-461.
            • “Introduction:  On the Social Nature of Reading.”  Wayne Wiegand.    Genreflecting:  A Guide to Popular Reading Interests.  6th ed.  Westport, CT:  Libraries Unlimited, 2006, 3-14.
            • “Starting with the Reader.”  Rachel Van Riel, Olive Fowler & Anne Downes.  In The Reader-friendly Library Service.  Newcastle:  The Society of Chief Librarians, 2008, 9-47.
            February 1      Conditions of reading:  publishing, marketing and domestic frameworks
            • "The Political Economy of Reading.”  William St. Clair.  The John Coffin Memorial Lecture in the History of the Book, 2005.  School of Advanced Study, University of London.
            • “Generations of Books:  A  Tasmanian Family Library, 1816-1994.”  Patrick Buckridge.  Library Quarterly 76(4), 2006.  388-402.
            • “The Market Child and Branded Fiction:  A Synergism of Children’s Literature, Consumer Culture, and New Literacies.”  Diane Carver Sekeres.  Reading Research Quarterly 44(4), 2009, 399-414.
            • “Storyselling:  Are Publishers Changing the Way Children Read?”  Daniel Hade.  Horn Book Magazine, September/October 2002.  509-517.
            Politics and practice in early reading
                         Video:  Children reading
            • Maryanne Wolf.  “Reading Lessons from Proust and the Squid.”  Proust and the Squid:  The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.  New York:  HarperCollins, 2007.  3-23.
            • “Knowledge Resources that Support the Skill of Reading.”  Inquiry into Meaning:  An Investigation of Learning to Read.  Rev. ed.  Edward Chittenden and Terry Salinger with Anne M. Bussis.  New York:  Teachers College Press, 2001.  44-72.
            • “The Forest.”  Francis Spufford.  The Child that Books Built.  London:  Faber and Faber, 2002, 23-63.
            February     READING WEEK
            Working with readers:  tastes, standards and judgements
                        Video:  RA 101
            • “The Reader.”  Judith Elkin.  Reading and Reader Development:  The Pleasure of Reading.  Judith Elkin, Briony Train & Debbie Denham.  London:  Facet Publishing, 2003.  1-29.
            • “Making Choices:  What Readers Say about Choosing Books to Read for Pleasure.”  Catherine Sheldrick Ross.  Readers, Reading and Librarians.  Ed. Bill Katz.  New York:  Haworth Press, 2001.  5-21
            • “Reinventing Readers’ Advisory.”  Duncan Smith.  The Readers’ Advisor’s Companion.  Ed. K.D. Shearer & R. Burgin.  Englewood, CO:  Libraries Unlimited, 2001.  59-76.
            • “Articulating a Book’s Appeal.”  Joyce G. Saricks.  In Readers’ Advisory Services in the Public Library.  Chicago:  American Library Association, 2005, 40-73
            March          Case study presentations
            March           Reading for a purpose in different social and historical contexts
            • “A History of Reading.”  Karin Littau.  In Theories of Reading:  Books, Bodies and Bibliomania.  Cambridge:  Polity, 2006.  13-22.
            • “Introduction:  Reading as a Craft;” “Sacred Reading:  A Fundamental Problem”  Robert Scholes.  In The Crafty Reader.  New Haven:  Yale University Press, 2001.  xi-xvi; 212-239.
            • “Strategies for Internet Reading with Different Reading Purposes:  A Descriptive Study of Twelve Good Internet Readers.”  Shenglan Zhang & Nell K. Duke.  Journal of Literacy Research, 40, 2008, 128-162.
            March         A variety of perspectives on reading
            • “The Future of Reading.”  Tom Peters.  Library Journal, November 1, 2009.  http://www.libraryjournal.com/index.asp?layout_articlePrint&articleID=CA6703852
            • "Reading, Complexity and the Brain.”  Usha Goswami.  Literacy 42(2), July 2008, 67-74          
            • “People of the Screen.”  Christine Rosen.  The New Atlantis 2008, 20-32.
            • “Why Heather Can Write:  Media Literacy and the Harry Potter Wars.”  Henry Jenkins.  Convergence Culture:  Where Old and New Media Collide. Updated edition.  New York:  New York University Press, 2008/2006.  175-216.  
            March           Socially significant literacies
            • “Family Literacy in Canada:  Foundation to a Literate Society.”  Heather Sample Gosse and Linda Phillips.  In Understanding Literacy Development:  A Global View.  Ed. A. McKeough, L.M. Phillips, V. Timmons, J.L. Lupart.  Mahwah, NJ:  Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2006.  113-135.
            • “The Role of Literacy in People’s Lives:  A Case Study of its Use amongst the Homeless in Australia.”  Geraldine Castleton.  Powerful Literacies.  Ed. Jim Crowther, Mary Hamilton and Lyn Tett.  Leicester,UK:  National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, 2001.  56-68. 
            • “Reading in Spanish and English:  A Comparative Study of Processing Strategies.”  Robert Pritchard and Susan O’Hara.  Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy 51(8), May 2008.  630-638.
            • “Synthesis.” Juliet Merrifield, Mary Beth Bingman, David Hemphill, Kathleen P. Bennett deMarrais.  Life at the Margins:  Literacy, Language, and Technology in Everyday Life.  New York:  Teachers College Press,1997. 181-219.
            March         Field trip to the Centre for Family Literacy and the Edmonton Mennonite Centre for Newcomers
            April EASTER 
            April            Reading in flux
            • “Harlequin Meets The SIMS:  A History of Interactive Narrative Media for Children and Youth from Early Flap Books to Contemporary Multimedia.”  Jacqueline Reid-Walsh.  The International Handbook of Children, Media and Culture.  London:  Sage, 2007.  71-86.
            • “Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming as a Constellation of Literacy Practices.”  Constance Steinkuehler.  E-Learning 4(3), 2007.  297-318.
            • “How Manga Conquered America.”  Jason Thompson.  Art by Atsuhisa Okura.  Wired Magazine 15(11), November 2007. 224-233. 
            • “Hypertext Fiction Reading:  Haptics and Immersion.”  Anne Mangen.  Journal of Research in Reading 31(4), 2008, 404-419.

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