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Reading Essay

1694 words - 7 pages

IntroductionIn a split second, a skilled reader identifies words, recovers their meanings, and integrates them with prior words in the passage. The average skilled reader recognizes at least 50,000 words, having read about a hundred million words. Though reading seems automatic, it is a complex cognitive act consisting of several component operations that deal with the sequence of words, phrases, and sentences of a text. These operations act together to achieve the result of reading, which is the comprehension of the text. Reading involves other cognitive processes, including perception, memory, reasoning, and problem solving. Unlike spoken language comprehension, the reading skill requires a long period of instruction and practice. However, the rewards are ample as our society values literacy as a prerequisite for success.COGNITIVE PROCESSES IN READINGCoherent text is based on the repetition of key concepts in a text. In order to comprehend the text, readers must spot the recurring ideas in the text and integrate them into a mental structure. Because most texts are too long to be processed in one piece, the reader creates a memory representation by processing the text's smaller units, its sentences, and its clauses. A variety of processes at several levels of structure, including letters, words, phrases, and sentences, contribute to comprehension. At the letter level, visual features must be decoded to identify letters. Word-level processes include the encoding of the word into an abstract unit and lexical access by which the word's meaning is retrieved from a mental lexicon. Sentence-level processes include operations that handle both the segments of the sentence and the sentence as a whole. Text-level processes integrate the information from different sentences into the reader's model of the text. To achieve such integration, the reader must maintain the prior information from the current text in memory. All along, inferential processes occur that make use of the reader's general knowledge of the physical and social world.How does the reader integrate text information with prior knowledge, whether it is from the current text or from other sources? Different models of reading comprehension attempt to find an answer to this question. Memory-based models assume that information in memory is activated automatically during reading. This is a continuous process that requires relatively little mental work. The text concepts currently in focus broadcast a signal to the contents of memory. Concepts in memory are activated by virtue of passive resonance. The degree of activation of a concept in memory depends on its similarity to the specific text concept.Constructionist models view reading comprehension as an active building of the text representation. The representation captures the causal relations among events in the text. The events include the goals, reactions, and actions of a story's character as advocated by story grammar theory. Situation...

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