The Progression of Reading Comprehension
A high level of reading comprehension is necessary for school and career success. This paper explains four key constructs, how they are intertwined, and their roles in reading comprehension. The four constructs are:
Developing and maintaining a standard for coherence for evaluating our models of meaning
Employing cognitive strategies to repair comprehension when it breaks down
Building models of what we think texts say and mean
Using knowledge to propel and assess comprehension
Each element is part of the infrastructure of comprehension, and each is necessary for the development of the other elements. In order for teachers and other educators to increase the level of reading comprehension in students, they need to know how these elements work together.
Authored by David Pearson, an expert in the field of reading, this article is written for educators at all levels to learn about the complex processes that occur during reading comprehension. This article is short but somewhat dense (due to the fact that reading processes are complex), but the benefit of this article is that it makes these processes digestible. A key point made is that for reading comprehension to grow, students must be able be fluent and facile with the skills and knowledge presented in the four constructs. For students who are, reading comprehension becomes easier as they progress through school. For those who aren’t, reading becomes more and more difficult, and these readers fall behind. (In the field, this can be referred to the Matthew Effect, where the rich get richer and the poor get poorer). This paper is based on a robust research base and can add to the content knowledge of teachers and educators. For those teachers and educators who would like to use this information in classrooms, schools, and other educational contexts, they will need to find ways (e.g., look to other resources) to apply them.