Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension: Perspectives from Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, and Education

Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension: Perspectives from Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, and Education

Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension: Perspectives from Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, and Education

Theoretical Issues in Reading Comprehension: Perspectives from Cognitive Psychology, Linguistics, Artificial Intelligence, and Education

Synopsis

Research in cognitive psychology, linguistics, education and artificial intelligence -- the four disciplines that have the most direct application to an understanding of the mental processes in reading -- is presented in this multilevel work that attempts to provide a systematic and scientific basis for understanding and building a comprehensive theory of reading comprehension. The major focus is on understanding the processes involoved in the comprehension of written text. The underlying message in most of the contributions is the assumption that skilled reading comprehension requires a coordination of text with context in a way that goes far beyond simply chaining together the meanings of a string of decoded words.

Excerpt

The ability to read with understanding is an essential skill in modern society. Yet it is a skill that a substantial number of people never completely master. They go unprotected into the struggle with job application forms, insurance policies, lease agreements, newspapers, recipes, and advertisements; and, they also miss much of the joy of reading for pleasure. Why hasn't the massive research literature on the reading process given us answers to the problems encountered in learning to read? One reason, perhaps, is that the problem area has been too narrowly conceived. By far, the largest share of basic research in reading has been concerned with the process of going from symbols to sounds and from written words to spoken words. We take a different approach. Underlying most of the contributions of this volume are the assumptions that skilled reading is the process of comprehending the meaning of connected discourse and that it involves far more than simply chaining together the meanings of a string of decoded words.

The goal of this book is to bring recent developments in several disciplines to the study of reading comprehension. The major focus is on understanding the processes involved in the comprehension of written text. However, we are aware that this is simply one part of a much larger and more complex problem. Clearly, a complete understanding of the overall problems of reading will consider such issues as motivation, physical health, parental attitudes, socio-economic status, teacher personality, and classroom organization. However, within this global set of issues, we have chosen to tackle the problem of the cognitive processes involved in reading comprehension.

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