Table 6.1 Skill Categories Skill Category Description Comment Determining the Meaning of Words (Word Meaning) Student determines the meaning of words in context by recognizing known words and connecting them to prior vocabulary knowledge. Student uses a variety of skills to determine the meaning of unfamiliar words, including pronouncing words to trigger recognition, searching for related words with similar meanings, and analyzing prefixes, roots, and suffixes. This skill category includes more than just lexical access, as word identification and lexical recall are combined with morphological analyses. Understanding the Content, Form, and Function of Sentences (Sentence Meaning) Student builds upon an understanding of words and phrases to determine the meaning of a sentence. Student analyzes sentence structures and draws on an understanding of grammar rules to determine how the parts of speech in a sentence operate together to support the overall meaning. Student confirms that his or her understanding of a sentence makes sense in relationship to previous sentences, personal experience, and general knowledge of the world. This skill category focuses on the syntactical, grammatical, and semantic case analyses that support elementary proposition encoding and integration of propositions across contiguous sentences. Understanding the Situation Implied by a Text (Situation Model) Student develops a mental model (i.e., image, conception) of the people, things, setting, actions, ideas, and events in a text. Student draws on personal experience and world knowledge to infer cause-and-effect relationships between actions and events to fill in additional information needed to understand the situation implied by the text. This skill category is a hybrid of the explicit text model and the elaborated situation model described by Kintsch (1998). As such, category three combines both lower-level explicit text interpretation and higher-level inferential processes that connect the explicit text to existing knowledge structures and schemata. Understanding the Content, Form, and Function of Larger Sections of Text (Global Text Meaning) Student synthesizes the meaning of multiple sentences into an understanding of paragraphs or larger sections of texts. Student recognizes a text’s organizational structure and uses that organization to guide his or her reading. Student can identify the main point of, summarize, characterize, or evaluate the meaning of larger sections of text. Student can identify underlying assumptions in a text, recognize implied consequences, and draw conclusions from a text. This skill category focuses on the integration of local propositions into macro-level text structures (Kintsch & van Dijk, 1978) and more global themes (Louwerse & Van Peer, 2003). It also includes elaborative inferencing that supports interpretation and critical comprehension, such as identifying assumptions, causes, and consequence and drawing conclusions at the level of the situation model. Analyzing Authors’ Purposes, Goals, and Strategies (Pragmatic Meaning) Student identifies an author’s intended audience and purposes for writing. Student analyzes an author’s choices regarding content, organization, style, and genre, evaluating how those choices support the author’s purpose and are appropriate for the intended audience and situation. This skill category includes contextual and pragmatic discourse analyses that support interpretation of texts in light of inferred authorial intentions and strategies.
Danielle S. McNamara (Reading Comprehension Strategies: Theories, Interventions, and Technologies)