Comprehension Chapter 7
Reader and the written text interact in
reading comprehension. The reader
alone or the text alone does not
produce meaning.
Readers use all these forms of
background knowledge
• 1. Print features (letters, word parts and
• 2. Facts
• 3. Strategies (Rupley & Wilson)
• 4. Purpose for reading
• These factors decide the attention (focus &
maintaining focus) and refining of ideas to
get meaning from print. (Tierney and
Background knowledge includes:
• 1. Word recognition, concept of print,
understanding of word order and
understanding of word meanings.
• 2. Content of what is being read
• 3. How the text is organized.
• (Alexander and Murphy)
Schema Theory
• How knowledge is presented and how new
knowledge is integrated with a network of
prior knowledge. (Everyone’s is different)
• Reading process doesn’t go from print to
overall interpretation of a text in a strict
• Explains how we learn, modify, and use
information we have gathered from
Schema Theory
• Knowledge is organized according to
meaning (thesaurus) rather than according
to words (dictionary).
• Many categories of schemata: places,
events, jobs, ideas.
• Slots-Attributes of a schema. Details about
the chair-legs, back, seat.
Schemata are considered abstract
• 1. Concepts- ideas
• 2. Actions and events-have episodes or
sequential order.
• Slots are filled differently (Anderson)
Much cross referencing
happens with schema
• These theories are used for artificial
• Empty slots are always waiting to be filled.
• New learning comes when schema is
modified or created.
• Inference fills many slots.
How Schemata influence
• Explains how readers use background
• Students may not have background for
world politics or economics or England in
• Student may have the experience but not the
language: The magistrate chastised them for
the brouhaha.
Schemata Influence on
• Students may have used schemata but come
up with a different idea than the one
intended by the author.
• Social and cultural factors affect schemata• Readers from different cultures give different
meaning to the same text.
• Students had difficulty answering questions about
text from a different culture than their own.
• When the reader’s culture is mismatched with the
culture of the text, meaning is lost.
Implications of Schema Theory
• Using this knowledge to teach:
– Make sure the reading is within the background
experience of the child.
– Activate the background knowledge before
reading. Discuss, map words, give a purpose
for reading, give study questions, pre-read
Using schema theory to teach
• Develop background knowledge for new
information: field trips, filmstrips, videos,
pictures, guest speakers. Discuss new
words, connect known concepts with new
ones. Especially important in the content
areas of science and social studies.
• Think aloud for students to relate new text
to familiar ideas.
• Monitor student’s progress to see that they
are matching new meaning to old ideas.
Bridges between new ideas and
familiar ideas.
• Repeated interactions with content build
these bridges.
• Hypothesis are used to confirm or reject
ideas from the new text.
• Comprehension is the synthesis of these
hypothesis that builds the meaning.
• Knowing if you know.
• Readers monitor their comprehension and
know when it breaks down.
• Good readers know how to repair meaning.
Teachers should:
• Model how to check, monitor, and test
• Decoding and comprehension are both
important parts of a literacy program.
• Teaching strategies, monitoring
comprehension and providing opportunities
to apply these strategies are major features
of teaching literacy.
What to teach:
• Old research provided a set of skills to teach
• This list of skills is not enough.
• Dole says these are points should be taught
as part of the curriculum of comprehension:
– Decide what it important and what isn’t
(FILTER) Text structure and organization helps
with this skill. (Fine print)
Dole (cont.)
• Summarizing Information-allows reader to
sort through large pieces of text.
• This is developmental. Young children can
summarize a simple plot, but can’t do
sections of a longer story.
• Drawing Inferences: Learn to fill in the
• Ask questions of the text: Children K-5 are
able to ask predictive questions about a
story to gain the author’s purpose for the
Monitoring Comprehension
• Good readers do this unconsciously in order
to repair lost meaning.
• Metacognition is paying attention to your
own understanding and applying fix it
strategies when necessary.
Questioning Strategies
• Teachers must choose the right questions to
help students with comprehension. This
makes the students pay attention to the
important aspects of the text.
• Questions help to tie background
knowledge to new text.
• Pre-reading questions help students to focus
their attention on literal meaning of the text.
Inferential Questions
• Students must fill in their background
knowledge to deduce meaning. What do
you think will happen next?
• Teacher questions usually focus on the
knowledge or facts from the text.
• Find a turning point in the story and ask,
What will happen next? Why do you think
so? Check this prediction. Follow up
activities help with reflection on the story