The Writer in the Reader: Building Communities of Response in Digital Environments

The Writer in the Reader: Building Communities of Response in Digital Environments

Bernadette Dwyer (St. Patrick’s College, Dublin City University, Ireland) and Lotta Larson (Kansas State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-4341-3.ch012


Digital reading environments are redefining the relationship between reader, text, activity, and sociocultural context. This chapter explores the nature of engagement, collaboration, and reader/writer response, as sixth-grade students from Ireland and the United States read and responded to electronic books within the context of an online global literature circle. In response to the readings, students composed digital thinkmarks, which served as springboards for subsequent written asynchronous message board discussions. Findings from this qualitative case study suggest that peer collaboration in an online literature discussion forum enabled the construction of social identity, community building, and a sociocultural situated response and engendered immersion in, involvement with, and interpretation of texts.
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Theoretical Perspectives

The study was underpinned by a range of diverse theoretical perspectives to allow for the consideration of “multiple perspectives from a constellation of theories and methodologies” (Harrison, 2008, p. 1292). These viewpoints included (a) new literacies perspectives, (b) sociocultural perspectives, and (c) reader response theories. Each of the theoretical perspectives, explored in the sections which follow, affords us a lens to view the complexity of literacy in the 21st century from cognitive, cultural, social and affective dimensions.

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