Sources of Coherence in Reading

Sources of Coherence in Reading

Sources of Coherence in Reading

Sources of Coherence in Reading

Synopsis

During the last 20 years, there has been an enormous amount of research examining sources of coherence in reading. A major tenet of this work has been the distinction between two major sources of coherence. "Text-based" sources of coherence are contained within the text itself -- use of headings to indicate aspects of a text's macrostructure; "reader-based" sources of coherence encompass the information and strategies that the reader brings to the comprehension process. Many early models of reading comprehension emphasized text-based sources of coherence as a way of understanding how a representation of the text is constructed in memory. However, during the last decade, there has been a clear shift of theoretical perspective away from viewing reading comprehension as a process of representing a text to viewing comprehension as a process of representing what a text is about. This has led to a greater emphasis on reader-based sources of coherence. The purpose of this book is to bring together the large body of evidence addressing the roles of text-based and reader-based sources of coherence in reading comprehension. The contributors present the current state of cognitive theory and research on comprehension of discourse.

Excerpt

In the last 20 years, interest in the study of processes underlying discourse comprehension has increased dramatically. in that time, there have been several shifts in theoretical perspective, as well as increasingly sophisticated techniques for the study of on-line processes in reading. Each new shift has resulted in a deeper understanding of those processes and greater respect for their complexity. the last few years have produced many new and exciting discoveries. the purpose of this book is to present the current state of cognitive theory and research on discourse comprehension process.

Although the scholarly purposes for assembling this text justify the effort, we were motivated to take on the task by the occasion of the retirement of our mentor, Jerome L. Myers. This volume is dedicated to him. Therefore, we would like to attempt to convey some sense of Jerry to those readers who have not had the privilege of knowing him personally.

Jerry did his graduate work at the University of Wisconsin between 1953 and 1957. the methodological rigor that characterized graduate training in "the dust bowl of empiricism," as Wisconsin was known at the time, has always been a hallmark of Jerry's empirical research. During his graduate training, David Grant was a major influence on Jerry's professional development. Grant's encouragement of intellectual curiosity led Jerry to topics he might otherwise not have explored, and the example Grant provided is one Jerry has emulated in his own teaching career. It was Grant's seminar covering Bush andMosteller (1955) text that initiated Jerry's love affair with math modeling. in 1962-1963, Jerry spent a year at Stanford as a United States Public Health Service Special Fellow at the Institute of Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences with colleagues . . .

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