A Retrospective, Perspective, and Prospective
Three Phases of Text Comprehension
- 1960s & 1970s United States classrooms
- Direct instruction (Osborn, 1968) & explicit strategy instruction were used to address comprehension problems (Pearson & Gallagher, 1983).
- Emphasis was on the importance of background knowledge impacting reading comprehension.
- Schools still focused on the 3 Rs: recitation, repetition, and replication.
- Basal programs with controlled text were used to develop skills.
- Readers extracted and assembled information from text and matched it to prior knowledge.
- Comprehension was assumed to happen on its own.
- Constructive-integrative models = reader builds own mental representations based on text
- Interaction of bottom-up and top-down: reader's knowledge and context (Goldman & Rakestraw, 2000; van den Broek, Young, Tzeng, & Linderholm, 1999)
- "Text understanding is the dynamic process of constructing coherent representations and inferences at multiple levels of text and context, within the bottleneck of a limited capacity of working memory. (p. 350)." p. 231
- Much of the research has focused on narrative text.
- Meaning is constructed from mental representations of text and background knowledge.
- Readers use integration, elaboration, and interpretation.
- Prior to No Child Left Behind (NCLB), readers were generally encountering a single text.
- There is a growing disconnect between best practices for reading instruction and government mandates.
- Reading situations are growing to include informational texts and non-traditional and digital texts.
- Evidence is showing existing models of comprehension instruction to not need to be expanded, rather there needs to be a reconceptualization.
- What makes a reading situation "reading?"
- Comprehension is being viewed more as a "connective activity" rather than construction.
- Conceptual and developmental frames:
- Moving toward a phenomenological view: "look at the experience of reading and the approach to reading as a gestalt"
- Reintegrates reader, text, activity, process and product
- Motivational and sociocultural influences:
- Readers come to text with specific goals, expectations, and beliefs.
- Emotional and sociocultural features will impact readers' mental formations.
- Nature of reading programs must shift along with instructional models.
- Assessment practices must adjust to multiple texts and representations.