READING COMPREHENSION TO 1970: ITS THEORETICAL AND EMPIRICAL BASES, AND ITS IMPLEMENTATION IN SECONDARY PROFESSIONAL TEXTBOOKS, INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS AND TESTS by William John Harker B.A., University of British Columbia (Victoria College), 1962 M.A. University of Washington, 1966 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF EDUCATION in the Department of Education We accept this thesis as.conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA June, 1971 I n p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced deg ree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co l umb ia , I a g r e e tha t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g ree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t ha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . William John Harker Department o f ' E d u c a t i o n The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumb ia Vancouve r 8, Canada Date July 22, 1971. ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was twofold: (1) to deter-mine current concepts of reading comprehension deriving from experimental investigations and theoretical statements, and (2) to establish whether these concepts are represented consistently in currently available secondary professional reading textbooks, instructional materials, and published tests. An extensive search of research and non-research literature pertaining to reading comprehension was under-taken . Current knowledge regarding the nature of reading comprehension was found to derive from three principal sources: experimental investigations, verbal descriptions, and models. Experimental investigations have been of three main types: statistical analyses, studies of the specificity of comprehension, and introspective-retrospective case studies. Statistical analyses, most of which have involved factorial procedures, have been equivocal in their findings. Some indicate comprehension to be a unitary mental ability, while others reveal comprehension as a composite of several specific abilities. Studies of the specificity of ii iii comprehension show that the ability to comprehend is to a greater or lesser extent specific to the content area from which the reading material is taken. Introspective-retro-spective case studies indicate that the cognitive activity associated with comprehension is characterized by ideational fluency, linguistic fluency, manipulation, variety and flexibility, and objectivity. Verbal definitions of comprehension are of two types, skills-based and cognitive-based. Skills-based definitions conceive comprehension in terms of the specific skills which it is considered a reader must possess in order to understand what he reads. These skills are usually organized hierarchically although some authorities question this organization. When critical and creative reading are dis-cussed as separate types of high-level comprehension, they are described in terms of their associated skills. Cognit-ive-based definitions have produced widely-diverse explan-ations of comprehension in terms of the cognitive operations thought to be involved. Various definitions of comprehension have been provided by models. Included are definitions in terms of separate overt skills, hierarchical organizations of educa-tional outcomes, external factors influencing the attainment iv of comprehension, cognitive operations, and psycholinguistic activity. Concepts of comprehension"represented in secondary professional reading textbooks, instructional materials, and published reading tests are generally consistent. The concepts of comprehension represented in secondary profes-sional textbooks are expressed by verbally defined skills-based hierarchies. Instructional materials and published tests generally embody concepts of comprehension represented by verbal non-hierarchical definitions. Many of the diffi-culties generally associated with verbal definitions of comprehension are apparent in the verbal definitions repre-sented in current secondary professional reading textbooks, instructional materials, and published tests. The conclusion reached by this study was that a basic dichotomy exists between those concepts of comprehension expressed in terms of overt behavior and those described in terms of covert behavior. It is the failure of experimenters and theorists, to establish the relationship between the covert psychological process accounting for comprehension and the overt behaviors by which readers exhibit their under-standing of what they read that is responsible for much of the current confusion surrounding comprehension. It would V that a clearer understanding of comprehension depends upon a fuller understanding of its psychological nature. Shis understanding would, in turn, frwidte needed precision and consistency in verbal definitions of comprehension. Further research into the psyeSjologicsl nature .of comprehension is needed. ifoi* research should be coordinated into a program involving the experimental testing of Hypotheses suggested by current and future models. The findings of these investigations could then provide the basis for developing; materials and procedures for teaching and measurin9 comprehension* TABLE OF CONTENTS Chapter Page 1. INTRODUCTION 1 Major Assumptions and Importance of the Study 1 Statement of the Problem 7 Definition of Terms 8 Method and Materials Used in the Study 9 Limitations of the Study 12 2. READING COMPREHENSION: THE PAST SEVENTY YEARS 18 Early Concepts of the Reading Process 18 The Development of a Concept of Reading 20 Current Emphasis on Reading and Comprehension 26 Summary 31 3. EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS OF READING COMPREHENSION 38 The Early Development of the Experimental Study of Reading 39 Early Experimental Studies of Reading Comprehension 42 Review of the Studies 42 vi vi Chapter Page Summary and Evaluation 60 Later Statistical Investigations of Comprehension 62 Review of the Studies 63 Summary and Evaluation 97 Studies of the Specificity of Comprehension.... 109 Review of Studies 110 Summary and Evaluation 119 Introspective-Retrospective Verbalization Studies 125 Review of Studies 126 Summary and Evaluation 146 Summary 149 4. VERBAL DEFINITIONS OF READING COMPREHENSION 159 Skills-Based Definitions of Comprehension 160 Hierarchical Definitions of Comprehension.... 161 Non-Hierarchical Definitions of Comprehension 165 Critical Reading * 167 Creative Reading 171 Assessment of Skills-Based Definitions 173 Cognitive-Based Definitions of Comprehension 179 vii Chapter Page Cognitive-Based Definitions of Comprehension 180 Assessment of Cognitive-Based Definitions.... 182 Assessment of Verbal Definitions of Comprehension 185 Summary 186 5. MODELS OF READING COMPREHENSION 196 The Need for Models 196 The Nature of Models 199 The Purpose of Models 199 Kinds of Models 206 Criteria for Models... 211 Review of Comprehension Models 216 Evaluation of Comprehension Models 271 Articulation 275 Differentiation 277 Prediction 278 Creativity 280 Flexibility 2 81 Overview 282 Assessment of Model Building 284 Summary 287 viii Chapter Page 6. OVERVIEW OF DEFINITIONS OF COMPREHENSION 297 7. CONCEPTS OF COMPREHENSION REPRESENTED IN PROFESSIONAL SECONDARY READING TEXTBOOKS 305 Review of Professional Textbooks 307 Assessment of Professional Textbooks 32 5 Summary 331 8. CONCEPTS OF COMPREHENSION REPRESENTED IN SECONDARY READING INSTRUCTIONAL MATERIALS 333 Review of Instructional Materials 337 Basal Materials 337 Skills-Building Materials 344 Materials for Special Groups 351 Workbooks 358 Boxed Materials 363 Assessment of Instructional Materials 368 Summary 372 9. CONCEPTS OF COMPREHENSION REPRESENTED IN PUBLISHED SECONDARY READING TESTS 378 Review of Tests 381 Assessment of Tests.... 426 Summary 441 ix Chapter Page 10. SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS FOR FURTHER RESEARCH 449 Summary 449 Conclusions 464 Recommendations for Further Research 469 I LIST OF TABLES Table Page I. Recent Statistical Investigations of Comprehension 98 II. Studies of the Specificity of Comprehension 120 III. Evaluation of Comprehension Models 283 IV. Concepts of Comprehension Represented in Secondary Reading Professional Textbooks 326 V. Concepts of Comprehension Represented in Basal Materials 339 VI. Concepts of Comprehension Represented in Secondary Skills-Building Materials 346 VII. Concepts of Comprehension- Represented in Secondary Materials for Special Groups 353 VIII. Concepts of Comprehension Represented in Secondary Workbooks 360 IX. Concepts of Comprehension Represented in Secondary Boxed Materials 365 X. Concepts of Comprehension Represented in Published Secondary Reading Tests 42 7 x LIST OF FIGURES Figure Page 1. The Emerging Concept of the Reading Process 24 2. Smith's Model of Reading Comprehension 217 3. Spache's Model of Reading Behaviors in Semantic Content (Meanings, Ideas) 221 4. McCullough's Schema of Thought Patterns 22 8 5. Kingston's Conceptual Model of Reading Comprehension 230 6. Rystrom's Reading Comprehension Model 240 7. A Flow Chart of Goodman's Model of Reading 245 8. Venezky and Calfee's Schematic of Reading Model 250 9. Ruddell's Systems of Communication Model 255 10. Holmes and Singer's Model of a Working System.... 262 11. Reading Outcomes Included in Comprehension Models 273 xi ACKNOWLEDGEMENT I would like to thank the members of my committee for their assistance during the course of this study. I am indebted to Dr. Harold M. Covell, Chairman of the Department of Reading Education, for his encouragement and pertinent suggestions; to Dr. Fred Bowers for his useful comments, particularly with respect to models; and to Dr. T. D. M. McKie for his valuable criticisms, especially those pertaining to the evaluation of experimental studies and published tests. Finally, I would like to express my appreciation to Dr. Glenn M. Chronister, my research supervisor, for his kindness and counsel throughout. xii Chapter 1 INTRODUCTION MAJOR ASSUMPTIONS AND IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY The purpose of this study was twofold. The first objective was to establish current concepts of reading comprehension deriving from experimental investigations and theoretical statements. The second objective was to determine whether current concepts of reading comprehension are con-sistently represented in presently-available secondary pro-fessional reading textbooks, instructional materials, and published reading tests. A major assumption of this study was that the ultimate objective of reading is the attainment of meaning. Reading may be described as a communication process between the writer and the reader. The extent of the reader's success is deter-mined by the degree to which he obtains the meaning intended by the writer. Hence it is the gaining of understanding from what is read that constitutes the central purpose of the reading act. This understanding is usually referred to as comprehen-sion. It is a measure of the importance of comprehension that 1 2 the terms comprehension and reading are often used synon-omously. The significance of comprehension in the total reading process has been emphasized by Carroll who contends that "the essential skill in reading is getting meaning from the written page" (3:296) . Despite the importance of comprehension, it remains one of the least understood aspects of reading. Research and non-research investigations of comprehension are highly equivocal in their conclusions. And when attempts are made to compare conclusions in order to establish some degree of cohesion among them, little success is encountered. Jenkinson has recently examined current knowledge regarding comprehension and has concluded that "our ignorance of read-ing comprehension is pervasive and abysmal" (6:190). The value of gathering and organizing existing experi-mental knowledge in order to illuminate the nature of reading comprehension was recognized by Schoeller twenty years ago (10). He examined and categorized 211 experimental investi-gations of comprehension made between 1900 and 1948. Schoeller justified his study by pointing to the need for surveys of "the ever-increasing number of educational problems which have been poured onto the already overloaded desks of educators" (10:4). The value of studies like Schoeller*s has been recognized 3 recently by Kingston who maintains: We need reading specialists who can sum up the evidence, as it were. Such scholars should classify what is known at present, what is suspected but unproved, and hopefully to help [sic} us all recognize what still is to be learned. (8:116) The increase in knowledge about reading comprehension since 1948 can be inferred from Summers's recent study of the growth of published research in reading. In 1948, seventy-eight articles in reading research were published in thirty-nine journals bringing the total number of published research studies in reading to 2,010. In 1966, the last year for which Summers provided information, 262 articles were publish-ed in sixty-five journals bringing the total number of published research reports to 4,159 (11:18-19). If only a small portion of this increase in published reading research is concerned directly with comprehension, then Schoeller's study is already dwarfed by the volume of more recent infor-mation available. This hypothesis is strengthened further when one considers that many doctoral dissertations and non-research discussions concerned with reading comprehension have appeared since 1948. Hence, in summary, although comprehension is recog-nized as central to the reading process, it remains poorly understood. Further, though the value of gathering and 4 organizing knowledge relating to comprehension for the purpose of understanding it is recognized, this task was last performed over twenty years ago. Since that time, the amount of published research and non-research literature relating to reading has increased enormously. For these reasons, there is a need for a study such as the present one which would draw together and analyze the findings of experimental and theoretical investigations of reading comprehension. Such a study could provide an inclusive description of present knowledge relating to comprehension and the prevailing concepts by which it is described. This study could further point to specific problems requiring sub-sequent investigation while providing a comprehensive frame-work within which these investigations might be conducted. Moreover, the concepts of comprehension determined from the review of experimental and theoretical investigations were thought to provide a basis for the second part of this parti-cular investigation. Here, the prevailing concepts of com-prehension embodied in secondary professional textbooks, in-structional materials, and standardized tests were compared in order to establish the extent of agreement among them. A second major assumption of this investigation was that the ultimate purpose of educational research is the 5 improvement of educational practice. Educational practice relating directly to teaching may be divided generally into three stages. These are the establishment of educational objectives, the development and implementation of instruction-al procedures to attain these objectives, and the use of measuring devices to determine success in attaining these objectives and to provide information for the modification of future instructional procedures. In discussing reading research, Levin has placed it in proper relation to educa-tional practice by contending: The prior question is What is the process of reading? rather than, What is the optimal teaching procedure? Definitive answers to the second wait on the first .... (9:145) The question raised by Levin's point is the extent to which current concepts of reading comprehension derived from experimental research and authoritative opinion are actually reflected in educational practice. Specifically, to what extent are the instructional objectives set for teachers in professional textbooks consistent with the objectives emphasized in the instructional materials teachers have avail-able to them or the tests they use to assess their success in achieving their objectives. In the secondary grades, the last decade has witnessed a growing emphasis on the place of reading in the curriculum. 6 Artley, in commenting on the development of reading programs in secondary schools, has stated: When the history of reading instruction is written, it will be shown that one of the major points of emphasis of the 1960's will be the organized extension of the developmental reading program into the secondary grades. (1:1) As might be expected, a recent survey (12) of resources avail-able to secondary reading teachers indicates a growing number of professional textbooks have become available during the last decade. In addition, Devine (4) has provided an overview of the wide range of instructional materials from which secondary reading teachers may choose. And Farr (5), in a comprehensive review of published standardized reading tests, illustrates the number of tests applicable to the secondary grades. In this climate of growing interest in secondary reading, a need was recognized for a study of the degree of consistency with which current concepts of comprehension were represented in educational practice. It was felt that in-consistencies among the objectives set for teachers in pro-fessional textbooks, the materials available for teachers to carry out these objectives, and the tests used to measure the achievement of these objectives were unavoidable if the fundamental concepts of comprehension upon which these three 7 aspects of teaching are based were themselves inconsistent. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM The major questions which this study sought to answer were the following: 1. What are the current concepts of reading compre-hension which derive from experimental investigations and verbal statements? 2. Which current concepts of reading comprehension are represented in professional textbooks intended for secondary teachers? 3 - Which current concepts of reading comprehension are represented in instructional materials intended for teaching reading in the secondary grades? 4. Which current concepts of reading comprehension are represented in published reading tests designed for the secondary grades? 5. Does agreement exist among the concepts of comprehension represented in secondary reading professional textbooks, instructional materials, and published standardized reading tests? 8 DEFINITION OF TERMS The terms indicated were used in this study as de-fined below: 1. Experimental definition is any definition or description stated by an* author that is derived directly from the testing of a hypothesis by the collection and analysis of data. For example, an experimental definition would be provided by a factor analysis study undertaken to test the hypothesis that reading comprehension can be account-ed for by a single factor. If this hypothesis was confirmed, an experimental definition of reading comprehension would be provided by the interpretation given to the single factor isolated. 2. verbal definition is any definition or descrip-tion stated by an author that is not directly supported by experimental evidence. For example, a verbal definition would be given by the statement that reading comprehension re-sults from the mental processing of language, provided that this statement was not directly supported by the findings of an experimental investigation. If the statement was directly supported by the findings of an experimental investigation, it would be an experimental definition. 3. Professional textbook is a unified and comprehensive treatment of the major issues involved in reading instruction written for the consumption of class-room teachers. 4. Instructional materials are materials designed and developed to facilitate the teaching of reading in the secondary grades. 5. Published reading tests are reading tests de-signed and published to measure the general or specific reading performance of students in a group situation. 6. Secondary grades are considered to include grades eight through twelve. METHODS AND MATERIALS USED IN THE STUDY The first phase of the study involved an intensive search of both the experimental and theoretical literature relevant to comprehension. The experimental literature was searched through the ERIC/CRIER system. In addition, the annual summaries of research in reading initiated by Gary in 1925 and appearing yearly since that date were searched as a check on selections made from the ERIC/CRIER system. The pertinent non-research material was not so easily identi-fied. Because no comprehensive retrospective bibliography of non-research literature in reading exists, numerous 10 individual published bibliographies were searched in order to identify articles relating to comprehension. This was done with successive bibliographies until it was found that no new articles were being unearthed by reference to additional bibliographies. On this basis, it was considered that the major corpus of non-research literature pertaining to this subject had been identified. It should be noted that the ERIC system is presently monitoring non-research literature in education including reading thereby making the somewhat ad hoc approach adopted here unnecessary for pub-lished material appearing since 1970. The second phase of this study was concerned with an analysis of secondary reading professional textbooks, in-structional materials, and published tests. Pertinent pro-fessional textbooks were determined from a recent extensive compilation of resources currently available to secondary reading teachers (12). The instructional materials analyzed were those applicable to the secondary grades contained in the collection of instructional reading materials located in the University of British Columbia Reading Resources Centre. This collection has been developed over a number of years by faculty members in the Department of Reading Education in order to give student and practising teachers a broad cross-11 section of available elementary and secondary instructional materials in reading. The collection does not contain every piece of instructional material in print, but the basis and manner of its development makes it representative of materials available and in current use including those intended for the secondary grades. Hence, this collection provides a suitable source of currently available and used secondary reading instructional materials. Finally, publish-ed reading tests intended for the secondary grades were determined from the recent.comprehensive listing provided by Farr (5). Since this study was concerned with an analysis of currently available tests, only those published or. revised since 1955 were selected. In a few instances, tests listed by Farr were unavailable from publishers and were therefore omitted. These omissions were made in the belief that such tests were not readily obtainable from publishers and therefore probably do not fall into the cate-gory of currently available tests. In a few additional cases, tests listed by Farr as being revised since 1955 were found to be unrevised reissues of tests developed and published before 1955. These tests were determined by consulting Buros (2) and by examining the tests themselves. Tests of this type were excluded from the study. Other amendations to 12 Farr's compilation were made when errors were discovered. The study was organized into ten chapters. The introductory chapter is followed by a chapter concerned with establishing comprehension within the framework of the total reading process as it has emerged over the past seventy years. The third chapter reviews experimental investi-gations of reading comprehension, while the fourth chapter examines verbal descriptions of comprehension. Models of comprehension are discussed and analyzed in chapter five. Chapter six provides the pivot of the study in that it gathers together the concepts of comprehension derived from the previous three chapters. This is done in order to provide the basis for the analysis and comparison of notions of comprehension underlying professional textbooks, instructional materials, and standardized tests which is the concern of chapters seven, eight, and nine. The final chapter provides a summary, general conclusions, and recommendations for further research. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY A number of limitations have been imposed upon this study which restrict its applicability. In the first instance, this investigation is basically concerned with 13 the reading comprehension of accomplished readers in the secondary grades. An accomplished reader is considered to be one who has acquired the basic reading skills such as word recognition and phonetics. The learning process which is responsible for the acquisition of these skills is beyond the scope of this discussion. The necessity for distinguish-ing between "the skills and activities involved as the child acquires reading skills" and "the skills of the accomplished reader" has been recently indicated by Jenkinson (6:187). In another place, Jenkinson states that "the intellectual, dynamic activity of the reading process has been confused by linking this with the techniques and skills which need to be acquired in the 'learning to read' process" (7:58). In a similar manner, Wiener and Cromer distinguish between "the behavior occurring during the acquisition of skills" and "the behavior manifest after these 'skills' have been achieved." Like Jenkinson, Wiener and Cromer contend that confusion in understanding the reading process re-sults from "the failure to distinguish between acquisition and accomplished reading" (14:622-23). Also excluded from this study is a consideration of reading disability. This study is not concerned with elucidating the causes for the inability to comprehend among secondary school 14 students. It is concerned only with determining the nature of comprehension in the accomplished reader. The literature search undertaken for this investi-gation covered the period from 1900 to June 30, 1969. This latter date was selected since it is the termination of the last annual summary of investigations relating to reading available at the time the writer began his study (13) . Where pertinent material appearing after this date was located and was obtainable, it was included. But no claim for completeness is made after June 30, 1969. More-over, although the necessity for maintaining an historical perspective was constantly recognized, the general emphasis was on the inclusion of more recent material since the focus of the investigation was on current concepts of comprehen-sion. This is particularly true of the non-research material. Despite the fact that the literature search was highly comprehensive in nature, it is possible that some pertinent material was not detected and therefore has been inadvertently overlooked. This is particularly likely in the case of non-research material since this source of information has been monitored only recently by the ERIC system, and complete retrospective listings are not available. Since comprehensive sources of professional textbooks 15 and published tests were consulted, it is thought that the analysis of them-includes the major ones available. The instructional materials analyzed were determined from a representative collection of those available. Hence, not all materials in print were included in the analysis and it is conceivable that another investigator would have analyzed other materials if he had them available to him. But it is maintained that, since the materials analyzed here were drawn from a collection that has been developed by reading experts to represent those materials presently available and currently in use, another analysis involving another representative collection of materials would not have pro-duced fundamentally different findings from the ones reported here. Finally, the very nature of this study makes it an essentially subjective undertaking. For this reason, the limitations of the writer in organizing, analyzing, and discussing the literature and materials concerned must be kept in mind. It is maintained, however, that the findings and conclusions are supported by careful argument and analysis, and that they are revealed in sufficient detail to allow for their evaluation by the reader . REFERENCES CITED 1. A. Sterl Artley, "Implementing a Developmental Reading Program on the Secondary Level," ed. Robert Karlin (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1964), pp. 1-16. 2. oscar S. Buros (ed.), Reading Tests and Reviews (Highland Park, N.J.: Gryphon Press, 1968). 3. John B. Carroll, "The Nature of the Reading Process," Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading, ed. Harry Singer and Robert B. Ruddell (Newark, Delaware: Internation-al Reading Association, 1970), pp. 292-303. 4. Thomas G. Devine, "About Materials for Teaching Reading," What We Know About High School Reading, ed. M. Angella Gunn (Champaign, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1969), pp. 85-90. 5. Roger Farr, Reading: What Can Be Measured (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1969). 6. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Information Gaps in Research in Reading Comprehension," Reading: Process and Pedagogy, Nineteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1970), pp. 179-192. 7. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Sources of Knowledge for Theories of Reading," Language and Reading: An Inter-disciplinary Approach, ed. Doris V. Gunderson (Washington, D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1970), pp. 55-71. 8. Albert J. Kingston, "Areas of Confusion in the Develop-ing of a Science of Reading," The Psychology of Reading Behavior, Eighteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1969), pp. 11-116. 16 17 9. Harry Levin, "Reading Research: What, Why, and for Whom," Elementary English XLIII (February, 1966), 138-147. 10. Arthur W. Schoeller, "A Critical Survey of the Scientific Studies of Reading Comprehension" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, University of Pittsburgh, 1950). 11. Edward G. Slimmers, Storing and Searching Reading Research by Computer (Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University, 1967). 12. Edward G. Summers, John Harker, and Ronald Trull, "Research and Non-Research Resources in Secondary Reading" (Vancouver: University of British Columbia, 1970) . (Mimeographed.) 13. Samuel Weintraub, Helen M. Robinson, and Helen K. Smith, "Summary of Investigations Relating to Reading, July 1, 1968 to June 30, 1969," Reading Research Quarterly. V (Winter, 1970), 133-370. 14. Morton Wiener and Ward Cromer, "Reading and Reading Difficulty: A Conceptual Analysis," Harvard Educational Review XXXVII (Fall, 1967), 620-643. Chapter 18 READING AND COMPREHENSION: THE PAST SEVENTY YEARS The process by which a reader comprehends the meaning of a printed or written communication is itself part of a more extensive process encompassing the entire reading act. It follows that, in order to examine the nature of reading comprehension, it is helpful to assess the place of compre-hension within the total reading process. This problem may be approached in a number of ways. The method adopted in this chapter is to examine the gradual emergence of a concept of the reading process over the past seventy years, and to identify the place and importance ascribed to compre-hension within this process. In turn, this examination provides a basis for studying current knowledge of compre-hension within the context of the reading process as it is generally understood at the present time. EARLY CONCEPTS OF THE READING PROCESS As Mathews (22:194), Smith (28:158-65) and Spache (29) have noted, one of the pivotal periods in the history of 18 19 reading instruction occurred during the second decade of this century. Until about 1910, there existed an emphasis on oral reading in the schools. Moreover, both oral and silent reading were viewed as perceptual activities, mech-anically executed, essentially involving word recognition. Typical of this view is a statement by Otis: It would seem then that reading ability to be defined logically, must be considered as embodying in essence only those mental processes which are concerned directly with the specific visual symbols as such. Other mental activities in the total reading complex may be spoken of as "supra-reading" activities or accompaniments of reading per se. (23:534) During the second decade of this century, however, this concept of reading gradually was superseded by a growing awareness of the importance of silent reading and the under-standing of what was read. In anticipation of the widening range of problems reading experts would face as they sought to understand the broadening concept of reading which began to emerge, Huey asked, "Just what, indeed, do we do, with eye and mind and brain and nerves, when we read?" (17:152) Huey's question served to focus attention on the need to understand the read-ing process, a process which he compared to a miracle and the analysis of which he described as "the acme of a psycholo-gist's achievement" (17:5-6). In considering the reading 20 process, Huey also asked, "How do we get the meaning of our reading, and in what does this meaning consist?" He con-sidered that this question focused on the "vital part of the reading process" (17:52). - THE DEVELOPMENT OF A CONCEPT OF READING In response to questions such as those raised by Huey early in the century, educational literature came to reflect a growing concern with the nature of reading. For the purpose of this discussion, the various Yearbooks of the National Society for the Study of Education will be taken as representative of authoritative opinion during the period under review. The growing emphasis on silent reading and reading for meaning can be seen clearly in the early Yearbooks. In elucidating the theoretical bases of sound instruction in 1919, Gray was at pains to point out that "the results of practically every [experimental] investigation...indicate the appropriateness of emphasizing the content of what is read, persistently and consistently throughout the grades" (13:29) . Five years later, a note of exasperation may be detected in the Yearbook Committee's remark that "teachers are particularly ready just now to undertake any new method which 21 goes under the name of 'silent reading'" (35:vii) . This comment is probably indicative of the somewhat uncritical enthusiasm with which teachers were beginning to accept the idea of silent reading by the 1920's (28:163). But such an acceptance did not prevent Whipple and the Yearbook Committee in 192 5 from recommending "vigorous emphasis from the beginning on reading as a thought-getting process and the subordination of the mechanics of reading to thoughtful interpretation" (32:305) . It is clear that by the mid twenties, the cognitive aspects of the reading process were being stressed even if. their exact nature was not understood. The concept of reading continued to develop and expand as the century progressed. An additional facet was provided by Gray's discussion in 1937. While including in his definition of reading "the process of recognizing printed or written symbols" and "the recognition of the important elements of meaning in their essential relationships, includ-ing accuracy and thoroughness in comprehension," Gray went on to add: The Yearbook Committee believes that any conception of reading that fails to include reflection, critical evaluation, and clarification of meanings is inadequate. It recognizes that this broad use of the term includes much that psychologists and educators have commonly called thinking. (12:26) A further amplification of this concept of reading is 22 apparent eleven years later when, in discussing the nature of the reading process, the Yearbook Committee stated: It is no longer conceived...as a unique mental process nor as a single activity involving many mental processes. It is rather a series of complex activities, the nature of which varies with the ends or values to be attained. (36:32) In an attempt to describe "those understandings and skills involved in the self-reliant interpretation of what is read'," the Yearbook Committee set out four headings under which they discussed."The Major Aspects of Reading": 1. Grasping the literal meaning of what is read. 2. Securing the broader meaning inherent in a passage. 3. Reacting to what is read. 4. Fusing the ideas acquired with previous experience. (36:33-5) While outlining the reading act in these terms, the Committee was careful to emphasize that these aspects all "function more or less as a unit in the act of reading." Furthermore, in their discussion of the reading process, the Committee stressed "the need for vigorous training that aims to promote the depth of understanding and the critical reactions and judgments that are requisite to free, open inquiry and good scholarship" (4:2). Continued discussion of reading is exemplified by Gates' comment one year later: Reading is not a simple mechanical skill; nor is it a narrow scholastic tool. Properly cultivated, it is essentially a thoughtful process. However, to say that reading is a "thought-getting process" is to give it too 23 restricted a description. It should be developed as a complex organization of patterns of higher mental pro-cesses . It can and should embrace all types of think-ing, evaluating, judging, imagining, reasoning, and problem-solving. (8:3) Attention to the reading process in the 1950's appears to have been largely concerned with consolidating and applying previous theoretical discussion. Gray, for example, in the middle of the decade, commented that "reading is conceived today as a complex activity of four dimensions: the perception of words, a clear grasp of meaning, thoughtful reaction, and interpretation" (11:33-4). In looking back over the period from 1950 to 1960, Witty noted the adoption by teachers of a "broader concept of the reading process." He remarked further: Teachers generally have come to show a greater concern for meaningful reading experience at every level. Critical reading, too, has been stressed in both element-ary and secondary schools. (34:5) So it was that by the 1960's, the prevailing concept of reading had developed from an emphasis on word recognition alone to the inclusion of understanding, interpretation, critical reaction, evaluation, and integration. A generalized representation of reading keyed to the dates of the pertinent Yearbooks cited above is provided in Figure 1. Two related observations emerge from this review. The first is that the concept of reading which developed became Integration with Experience 1900 1919 1925 1937 1948 Dates of NSSE Yearbooks Related to Reading FIGURE 1 M THE EMERGING CONCEPT OF THE READING PROCESS 25 broader as it encompassed an increasing number of educa-tional objectives for reading instruction. The role of reading can be seen to develop from emphasis on simple word recognition to stress on the value of reading in developing the reader's critical acumen and experiential background. However, an understanding of the process responsible for the development of these different educational objectives is not provided. For example, while "interpretation" is cited as an objective for reading instruction, the process employed by the reader during interpretation is not explained. It has been only recently that the difference between the educational objectives for reading instruction and the process mobilized by the reader to realize these objectives has been clearly distinguished (25:32; 19:58). A second observation relates to the place of compre-hension within the total reading process. While it is clear that the importance of comprehension was stressed constantly, it is also clear that the definition of comprehension became less precise. In the early decades of the century, when it seemed possible to differentiate clearly the understanding of what was read from the physical perceptual activity in-volved in reading, comprehension appeared to be a relatively simple concept. But with the development of a broader 26 understanding of reading, the questions of whether to include within a definition of comprehension such matters as the recognition of words, the reader's critical evaluation of the content of his reading, and the integration of this content into his experienctial background were ones which remained unresolved. Clymer (3:28) has recently made a similar observation with regard to definitions of reading in general. CURRENT EMPHASIS ON READING AND COMPREHENSION The questions asked about reading in the last decade have been many and varied. The fundamental question appears in the most recent Yearbook devoted to reading, where Clymer asks, "What is reading?" (3:7-29) The basic nature of this question reflects a shift in the emphasis of attention focused on the reading process. As has been noted above, up to about 1960, explanations of reading were for the most part stated in terms of the educational objectives. Since that time, however, more emphasis has been placed on attempts to understand the basic process of reading. Clymer's own review outlines some of the more recent attempts in this regard. Similar reviews have been made by Wiener and Cromer (33), Jenkinson (19), and Harris (16:1075-6). 27 This interest in the reading process is further exemplified by two collections of expert opinion, one edited by Gunderson (15), and the other by Singer and Ruddell (27). A further example of the emphasis presently being placed on the understanding of reading comes from the publication of Gephart's report on the proposed application of the conver-gence technique to come to an understanding of the reading process. The degree of complexity presently ascribed to the reading process is illustrated by the definition present-ed in Gephart's report: THE READING PROCESS—The interrelated series of steps, operations or activities of a linguistic, physiological, cognitive, perceptual, and psychologi-cal nature that come into play when the organism engages in reading behaviors defined as covert re-sponses to verbal written language. Covert responses are indicated by overt performances which could not have occurred without the covert responses to the written language. (9:100) Despite this profusion of activity over the past decade, authorities in reading still despair at the lack of any firm understanding of the process which they study. Carroll contends that, "despite the large amount of research and expository writing in the field of reading, the nature of reading as behavior has still not been accurately described..." (2:336). Gibson and Levin contend that "the process of communicating from written materials, in spite of 28 its ubiquity, is not well understood, either in terms of the acqpisition of the skill or its characteristics in the mature reader" (10:ix). Kingston maintains that "there is ...no systematic psychology of reading, nor is there an adequate theory of reading" (20:42 5) . And Jenkinson appears to speak for most authorities when she asks why, "after seventy-five years of research and investigation, there has not emerged a coherent construct within which we can examine reading" (19:55). Notwithstanding the confusion surrounding the nature of reading, authorities have detected some general lines of demarcation in their attempts to analyze the process. Clymer points to the difficulties encountered in establishing the conceptual boundaries within which reading is to be defined when he identifies as "one of the real controversies in the field of reading" the question, "Does reading involve only the translation of printed symbols to the spoken word, or does reading involve understanding of those words as well?" (3:8) Gephart answers this question by providing a broad framework within which he considers reading: Reading can "be described as a continuum from simple decoding of a message through literal comprehension of that message to and including critical comprehension of that message. (9:164) 29 Other authorities take narrower views of reading which may be located at various points along the continuum proposed by Gephart. Weaver, for example, maintains that, "by the p sychology of reading I mean the scientific study of graphic decoding operations in the human organism" (31:67). At the other end of this continuum is Stauffer who states that " ...reading is a complex phenomenon of mental activity akin to thinking" (30:10) . There is ample evidence to suggest, however, that most authorities include both translating written symbols into spoken words and the understanding of words in their conceptions of the reading process. Hence, the importance of comprehension is generally stressed. Typical of this emphasis is the statement of Russell and Fea: In essence, the reading act is divisible into two processes: (1) identifying the symbol, and (2) obtaining meanings from the recognized word. Without both processes, the reading act is impossible. (26:868) Similarly, Piekarz advocates a dichotomous conception of the reading process when she identifies "perceptual abilities as well as conceptual abilities" (24:137-8). Levin suggests that "reading may be broken down into two broad sub-skills," the first being "the skill of decoding the writing system into its associated language," and the second involving "the use of the code," including "comprehension and reading for 30 different levels of meaning" (21:140) . Carroll states simply , that "the behavior we call reading may be described as the perception and comprehension of written messages..." (2:337) . Wiener and Cromer, in their analysis of "the diversity of definitions of reading," suggest that a distinction can be made between "identification, the distinguishing character-istic of which is "the correct 'saying' of the word," and "comprehension" which "implies the derivation of some form of meaning and the relating of this meaning to other experiences of ideas" (33:621). Finally, Jenkinson emphasizes the dichotomy which she finds inherent in the reading process by stating that "though word recognition is a prerequisite of reading, it does not guarantee understanding" (18:545) . Comparing the opinions of authorities regarding the components of the reading process and the relationship among them is a dangerous practice since the terms used to describe the components are themselves lacking in precise definition. Despite this imprecision, however, a general concern with the understanding of what is read is reflected in each of the opinions cited above. And when reading authorities discuss this understanding in isolation, their concern becomes even more apparent. Davis stresses that 31 "reading is essentially a process of getting meaning" (6:185). Similarly, Gray maintains that "the good reader does more than recall appropriate meanings. He also fuses these meanings into the sequence or pattern of ideas intended by the author" (14:149). Dechant contends that "reading is essentially a process of interpretation" (7:101), while Cushenbery comments that "getting meaning from the printed page is the end product of the reading act" (5:102) . Currently, Carroll stresses that "the essential skill in reading is getting meaning from a printed or written message" (2:296) . SUMMARY This chapter has been concerned with placing com-prehension within the framework of an emerging concept of the reading process. Early conceptions of reading were characterized by an emphasis upon physiology and word recognition. In the second decade of this century, however, emphasis came to be placed on the importance of silent reading and the need for understanding what was read. This concept of reading grew until it included such educational objectives as the improvement of the reader's critical ability and the development of his experiential-background. 32 Current interest in reading focuses on the nature of the reading process as well as educational objectives for reading instruction. Despite this interest, however, at the present time there is no universally accepted definition of reading. And since the nature of the reading process is still a subject of speculation, the place of comprehension within this process has been described in only general terms although its importance has been constantly recognized. REFERENCES CITED 1. John B. Carroll, "The Analysis of Reading Instruction: Perspectives from Psychology and Linguistics," Theories of Learning and Instruction, Sixty-Third Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964, pp. 336-353. 2. John B. Carroll, "The Nature of the Reading Process," Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading, ed. Harry Singer and Robert B. Ruddell (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1970), pp. 292-303. 3. Theodore Clymer, "What is 'Reading'?: Some Current Concepts," Innovations and Change in Reading Instruction, Sixty-Seventh Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 7-29. 4. Committee on Reading, "Purpose of the Yearbook," Reading in the High School and College, Forty-Seventh Year-book of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), pp. 1-7. 5. Donald C. Cushenbery, "Building Effective Comprehen-sion Skills," Reading and Realism, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol XIII, Part I (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 100-103. 6. Frederick B. Davis, "What Do Reading Tests Really Measure?" English Journal, XXXIII (April, 1944), 180-187. 7. Emerald Dechant, "Some Unanswered Questions in the Psychology of Reading," Starting and Improving College Reading Programs, Eighth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1959), pp. 99-112. 33 34 8. Arthur I. Gates, "Character and Purposes of the Year-book, "_Readiji2_J^ L_£ll§_E^ Year-book of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1949), pp. 1-9. 9. William J. Gephart, Application of the Convergence Technique to Basic Studies of the Reading Process (Bloomington, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa, 1970) . 10. Eleanor J. Gibson and Harry Levin, "Introduction," The Reading Process, ed. James F. Kavanagh (Washington, D. C.: Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office, 1968) . 11. William S. Gray, "How Well Do Adults Read?" Adult Reading, Fifty-fifth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1956), pp. 29-56. 12. William S. Gray, "The Nature and Types of Reading," The Teaching of Reading: A Second Report, Thirty-Sixth Yearbook of the National Society of the Study of Education, Part II (Bloomington, Illinios: Public School Publishing Company, 1937), pp. 23-38. 13. William S. Gray, "Principles of Method in Teaching Reading, as Derived From Scientific Investigation," Fourth Report of the Committee on Economy- of Time in Education, Eighteenth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Bloomington, Illinois: Public School Publishing Company, 1919), pp. 26-51. 14. William S. Gray, "Reading and Understanding," Elementary English, XXVIII (March, 1951), pp. 148-59. 15. Doris Gunderson (ed.), Language and Reading: An Interdisciplinary Approach (Washington, D .C.: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1970) . 16. Theodore L. Harris, "Reading," Encyclopedia of Educational Research, ed. R. L. Ebel (4th ed.: New York: Macmillan, 1969), pp. 1069-1104. 35 17. Edmund B. Huey, The Psychology and Pedagogy of Reading (New York: Macmillan, 1908) . 18. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Cognitive Processes in Reading: Implications for Further Research and Classroom Practise," Reading and Realism, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. 13 (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Associa-tion, 1969), pp. 545-54. 19. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Sources of Knowledge for Theories of Reading," Language and Reading: An Inter-disciplinary Approach, ed. Doris V. Gunderson (Washington, D.C.: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1970), pp. 55-71. 20. Albert J. Kingston, "The Psychology of Reading," Forging Ahead in Reading, ed. J. Allen Figurel, Inter-national Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. 12 (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1968), pp. 425-431. 21. Harry Levin, "Reading Research: What, Why, and for Whom," Elementary English, XLIII (February, 1966), 138-47. 22. M. M. Mathews, Teaching to Read: Historically Considered (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966). 23. A. S. Otis, "Considerations Concerning the Making of a Scale for the Measurement of Reading Ability," Pedagogical Seminary, XXIII (March, 1916), 528-49. 24. Josephine A. Piekarz, "Attitudes and Critical Read-ing," Dimensions of Critical Reading, ed. Russell G. Stauffer (Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware, 1964), pp. 134-144. 25. Helen M. Robinson, "The Major Aspects of Reading," Reading: Seventy-Five Years of Progress, ed. H. Alan Robinson, Supplementary Educational Monographs, No. 96 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966), pp. 22-32. 26. David H. Russell and Henry R. Fea, "Research on Teaching Reading," Handbook of Research on Teaching, ed. N. L. Gage (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963), pp. 865-928. 36 27. Harry Singer and Robert B. Ruddell (eds.), Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1970) . 28. Nila Banton Smith, American Reading Instruction (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1965). 29. George D. Spache, "Psychological Explanations of Reading," Exploring the Goals of College Reading Programs, Fifth Yearbook of the Southwest Reading Conference (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1955), pp. 14-22. 30. Russell G. Stauffer, "Reading: A Thinking Process," Reading and Thinking, eds. Marjorie Seddon Johnson and Roy A. Kress, Proceedings of the Annual Reading Institute at Temple University, Vol. IV (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1966), pp. 9-20. 31. Wendell W. Weaver, "On the Psychology of Reading," New Concepts in College-Adult Reading, Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1964), pp. 67-74. 32. Guy M. Whipple (ed.), Report of the National Committee on Reading, Twentieth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part I (Bloomington, Illinois: Public School Publishing Company, 1925) . 33. Morton Wiener and Ward Cromer, "Reading and Reading Difficulty: A Conceptual Analysis," Harvard Educational Review (Fall, 1967), pp. 620-43. 34. Paul A. Witty, "Purpose and Scope of the Yearbook," Development in and Through Reading, Sixtieth Yearbook of the National Society for. the Study of Education, Part I (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1960), pp. 1-16. 35. Yearbook Committee, "Introduction," Report of the Society's Committee on Silent Reading, Twentieth Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Bloomington, Illinios: Public School Publishing Company, 1924), pp. vii-ix. 37 36. Yearbook Committee, "The Nature and Development of Reading," Reading in the High School and College, Forty-Seventh Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1948), pp. 27-45. Chapter 38 EXPERIMENTAL INVESTIGATIONS OF READING COMPREHENSION The purpose of this chapter is to review experimental investigations into the nature of reading comprehension from approximately 1900 to the present. The chapter is divided into six major parts. The first part is intended to provide a very brief historical sketch of the development of the experimental study of reading. The second part provides a review of the early experimental investigations of reading comprehension and a commentary on them. Later statistical investigations of comprehension are included in the third part of the chapter. They are reviewed, summarized, and evaluated in terms of their contribution to knowledge regarding the nature of comprehension. In the fourth part of the chapter, investigations of the specificity of compre-hension in relation to different content areas are reviewed, summarized and evaluated. This same procedure is adopted in the fifth part of the chapter with respect to introspect-ive verbalization studies. The findings emerging from these various investigations are summarized in the sixth part of 38 39 the chapter and their significance is commented upon. THE EARLY DEVELOPMENT OF THE EXPERIMENTAL STUDY OF READING Early experimental investigations of reading tended to concentrate on the physiology of reading rather than on more complex psychological processes. There appear to be two principal reasons for this emphasis. First, as has been discussed in the previous chapter, before about 1915 the prevailing concept of the reading process was essentially one of a mechanical, perceptual activity involving word recognition. This concept of reading formed the context in which experimental investigations into the nature of reading were executed. A second reason for the physiological emphasis of initial reading research lies in its beginnings in the psychological laboratories of Europe, where the emphasis was on sensori-motor processes. As Gray (17:2-6) has indicated, the first experimental studies of reading were conducted in Germany and. France, and the focus of these studies was on visual perception. The early studies of Valentius, beginning in 1844, followed by those of Cattell, Erdmann, Dodge and others investigated the nature of the perception of different reading material. These studies were followed by a second group initiated by Javal's 40 discovery in 1879 of saccadic eye movements during reading. The nature and function of these movements held the attention of a large number of investigators including Javal, Lamare, and Ahrens in Europe, and Delabarre, Dodge, Dearborn, Judd, Schmidt and Buswell in the United States. A salutary effect of these studies of visual per-ception and eye movements was the emergence of a climate condusive to the further scientific investigation of read-ing. This climate was enhanced during what Gray (17:6) views as a transitional period in reading research occur-ring in the second decade of this century. At this time, more sophisticated techniques and instruments for the scientific investigation of reading were developed. An additional benefit derived from earlier studies of percep-tion was the revelation of new problems for investigation. Spache argues that it was only after perceptual studies revealed that eye movements were influenced by the varying content and difficulty of reading material that the nature of comprehension was identified as a concern for reading research. Spache maintains that "the mechanical analysis of the act of reading led directly to a broader interpreta-tion of the psychological nature of reading" (46:11). An example of one of these early studies will serve 41 to illustrate Spache's point. Judd and Buswell investigated "the mental processes which are involved in reading" (25:7) using eye movement photography. During the silent reading of intermediate grade and high school students Judd and Buswell found that eye movements vary according to the type of difficulty of the material read and the reader's purpose for reading. They also found differences between normal reading and "analytical study" including such activities as paraphrasing. On the basis that "eye movements are but external manifestations of an inner condition which is set up on the central nervous system" (25:21) these early in-vestigators concluded that: A printed page turns out to be, as shown by this study, a source of a mass of impressions which the active mind begins to organize and arrange with reference to some pattern which it is trained to work out. (25:14) Though their study did not go beyond the measurement of eye movements, Judd and Buswell's conclusion suggests a develop-ing awareness of the more intricate psychological processes at work during the act of reading. It was suggestions such as these which provoked further studies of reading beyond those dealing with visual perception and the physiological mechanics of reading. 42 EARLY EXPERIMENTAL STUDIES OF READING COMPREHENSION Review of the Studies Among the early studies of reading comprehension, one of the best known was conducted by Thorndike (55). Reacting against the idea that "reading...is a rather simple compound of habits" involving the combination of sounds and meanings of individual words and phrases, Thorndike sought to understand "the dynamics whereby a series of words whose meanings are known singly produces knowledge of the meaning of a sentence or paragraph" (55:323) . Two hundred sixth grade pupils were asked to read a short paragraph on school attendance and then to answer a series of questions in their own words with the paragraph before them. Thorndike then inspected and analyz-ed the errors committed by the pupils in their answers and drew the following conclusion: In correct reading (1) each word produces a correct meaning, (2) each element of meaning is given a correct weight in comparison with the others, and (3) the resulting ideas are examined and validated to make sure that they satisfy the mental set or adjustment or purpose for whose sake the reading was done. (55:326) Thorndike maintained that errors in comprehension were caused by readers making inaccurate connections between words by 43 assigning "over potency" or "under potency" to the meanings of words or phrases, and by failing to remain critically sensitive to the ideas encountered during reading so as to treat them as "provisional" rather than accepting them uncritically. In his final conclusion, Thorndike drew an analogy between the reading act and mathematical thinking: Understanding a paragraph is like solving a problem in mathematics. It consists in selecting the right elements of the situation and putting them together in the right relations, and also with the right amount of weight or influence or force for each. The mind is assailed as it were by every word in the paragraph. It must select, repress, soften, emphasize, correlate and organize, all under the influence of the right mental set or purpose or demand. (55:329) Thorndike conducted two further studies in this manner (54; 55) and similarly concluded that "understanding is 'thinking things together'": Understanding a spoken or printed paragraph is then a matter of habits, connections, mental bonds, but these have to be selected from so many others, and give relative weights so delicately, and used together in so elaborate an organization that "to read" means "to think", as truly as does "to evaluate" or "to invent" or "to demonstrate" or "to verify". (56:114) In a study stimulated in part by Thorndike's findings, Ritter and Lofland used standardized tests to determine the relationship between "general reading ability" and "that ability required in reading and 44 understanding printed matter in which a special type of reasoning is necessary" (39:529). Pupils in grades five through seven in Kansas City schools were given the Monroe Silent Reading Test II, Form 2, the Burgess Silent Reading Scale I, and the Thorndike-McCall Reading Scale, Form 2 in order to determine their general reading ability. Measures of the pupils' reasoning ability were obtained from the Stone Reasoning Test, the Otis Intelligence Scale, test three of the National Intelligence Test, and test five of the Otis Group Intelligence Test. Pearson product moment correlation coefficients were computed between each reading test and each reasoning test score. On the basis of these correlations (ranging between .22 and .51), Ritter and Lofland concluded that a "close" relationship exists between reading ability and reasoning ability. It should be noted, however, that the highest cor-relation found by Ritter and Lofland shows only slightly more than 25 percent of the variance in pupils' reading scores accounted for by differences in their reasoning ability as measured in this study. Hence, the extent to which Ritter and Lofland's claim that the relationship be-tween reading and reasoning ability is "close" may be questioned since the highest correlation between these 45 two abilities leaves approximately 75 percent of the variance in reading dependent on factors other than reasoning. Despite the somewhat limited nature of their findings, Ritter and Lofland compared them with those of Thorndike, and further concluded that "...language is a series of relations and...reading requires the evaluation of such relations" (39:538) . A number of early studies were similar to Thorndike's in that they attempted to clarify the nature of the reading process and how understanding is gained through reading. Huey employed the introspective verbal-ization technique with male university students in order to examine "the interpretive processes in reading" (21:292) . Prose passages were selected, typed, and the lines cut out and pasted end-to-end so as to form a continuous line of print. Other passages were typed, dissected, and each word was mounted singly on a card. Words were then exposed singly to subjects for four seconds, randomly in the case of dissected passages, and in order of their original ap-pearance in the case of continuous passages. Subjects gave introspective verbal responses describing their interpreta-tions of the words as they appeared. Huey found "character-istic differences" between the associations subjects 46 reported from isolated words and from words given in context. Words presented in isolation produced a greater variety of associational responses than did words presented in context although the quantity of responses to single words was less than for words in context. Huey explained this phenomenon in the following manner: The mere statement that the word to be exposed is part of a reading passage limits the trend of associa-tion when no context has been given. The limitation extends when the subject has caught the general topic discussed in the passage, and still further when the exposed word is given upon a verbal and ideational background formed by the preceding context. (21:305) On the basis of his study, Huey characterized the nature of interpretive reading as follows: The newly exposed word was usually mentally pro-nounced .. .and "fitted into the preceding" as was very often remarked by one subject; the new word con-tributing apparently toward a notion of sentence unity, to which each additional element added a needed part. Immediately following this there was in a majority of cases a filling out of the sentence or phrase so as to make sense with the preceding context, and when this did not occur there was usually a "forward push", "forward tendency", "tendency to fill out", as it has been very frequently described by the subjects. (21: 305-306) Like Thorndike, Huey tended to depreciate the role of word recognition in reading by maintaining that "much of the translating seems to come not from words singly perceived, but from the perception of phrases and sentences as wholes; the words acting as 'counters' until blended thus." For 47 this reason, Huey warned that "words, except as they are correctly and intelligently convertible, are certainly most deceptive and dangerous symbols for the reader as for the thinker" (21:309). To illustrate "the place and function of anticipa-tion of meaning in the obtaining of meaning in the reading process" was the purpose of a study by Gray (16:614). Gray postulated that readers anticipated meaning through know-ledge of language relations, context, and marginal impres-sions on the retina of the eye. Marginal impressions were described as "preconceptions which initiate the process of interpretation" (16:62 5). Three short-exposure experiments were conducted using eye-movement photography of single subjects ranging from the sixth grade to adult. These ex-periments revealed that the rate of recognition and the span of perception of isolated words were slower and shorter, respectively, than of words read in context. Gray concluded that the factor causing this difference is the anticipation of meaning generated in the reader during the reading process. Hence, according to Gray, marginal impressions during reading are of a dual nature involving "both sensory material and the evaluation of such material in the light of context, experience of the reader, etc." On this basis, 48 Gray maintained: Such results show clearly that one or more factors operate to make the recognition of words in context a very different process from the recognition of isolated words. Recognition in reading is not a matter of synthesizing the full meaning of isolated words ox phrases. It can probably be better described as synthesizing and completing half-meanings or shadows of meanings or partial meanings of considerable portions of reading matter. Another way to express the same idea is to say that there is anticipation of meaning due to the forging ahead of the attention while the reading is under way. (16:618) The anticipation of meaning during reading also interested Lowi who investigated "those psychological condi-tions which permit the reader to integrate words into a sentence" and "the psychological factors which bring about this process of comprehending" (28:129). Forty college women were presented with short .typewritten sentences exposed for .01 seconds by a slide projector. This method removed the usual .characteristics of printed language which, according to Lowi, prevent "a more adequate accounting of comprehending," "since the usual word-sequence is parti-ally marked, and the words may appear jumbled" (28:129). Once the sentences were exposed, the subject was asked to reconstruct the sentence orally. Sentences were exposed as often as was needed for accurate reconstruction. Lowi found that subjects employed a variety of techniques to gain meaning from the sentence. In general, "the most noteworthy 49 issue" to emerge from the investigation pointed to the "many anticipatory and corrective means" readers utilized to gain meaning as opposed to "ready perceptive and memorial functioning." On the basis of this general finding, Lowi concluded that, "under our conditions and procedures, com-prehending typically calls for anticipatory forecast and corrective scrutiny" (28:133) . The tendency towards synthesis in reading detected by Thorndike, Gray and Huey was specifically investigated by Pickford (35). To eight adult subjects, Pickford pre-sented short prose passages of three types: (1) those com-* posed of single units, (2) those composed of double units, each half taken from a different source, and (3) those composed of triple units created by inserting an unrelated section from a different source into a continuous prose passage. The introspective verbalizations of subjects were recorded as they were asked to read the different types of passages aloud and to report the process that they employed in reading. Pickford found that all subjects demonstrated a strong tendency to treat both simple and compound passages as coherent wholes. He reported "many forms of image-synthesis, rationalizations, and hypothetical explanations of incongruities" (35:64) even though such meaning could TABI only be highly artificial and arbitrary. Even when subjects detected incongruities, they persisted in treating such passages as coherent units of meaning. Pickford concluded that the tendency towards synthesis is highly important in comprehension and, further, "it is a primary function in reading and is the normal basis of the process of reading" (35:65) . Besides investigating the process of comprehension, early experimenters also explored the kinds of comprehension demanded by different tasks. Tyler (59) described the development of an elementary zoology test for college students. A series of test items based on descriptions of zoological research was developed and two tests were constructed. One test required students to draw their own inferences from facts presented to them while the other test provided the correct inferences and the students had to select the correct one from a number of alternatives. From the correlation between scores on the two tests (.38), Tyler decided that the multiple choice test could not be used as a measure of inference. He concluded that "the ability to select the most reasonable inference from a given list is not the same as the ability to propose an original inference" (59:477-478). Further, in a second study, Tyler TABI found the correlation coefficient between a test of factual zoological information and a test of proposing inferences to be .29, "entirely too low to justify the use of the information test alone as a measure of both objectives" (59:480). Hence, according to Tyler's find-ings, the ability to secure facts in college-level zoolo-gical reading is not the same as the ability to draw infer-ences from the same materials. In a similar investigation, Dewey (13) studied 140 public school pupils to determine the relationship between the ability to achieve factual comprehension of historical material and the ability to draw inferences from this material. Dewey defined inferential thinking in reading as "the ability to evaluate, to read between the lines, and to understand the significance of what is read" (13:346) . Correlations between tests of these two kinds of comprehen-sion ranged between .38 and .65. Dewey concluded that "when we measure children's ability to secure facts from material read in history, we are not measuring the ability to do accurate inferential thinking regarding the material read" (13:348). Following on the findings of Tyler and Dewey, Gans conducted an investigation designed to test the hypothesis TABI that "the critical type of reading required in the selection-rejection of reference materials for use in solving a problem" was not identical to "the type of reading usually measured by standardized reading tests" (15:13) . Gans constructed and validated a test designed to measure the reference reading of material taken from a variety of con-tent areas included in the curriculum of the intermediate grades. Her subjects were 417 students from grades four, five, and six, in two New York public schools. Gans' test required subjects to read seventy short paragraphs equally divided among five different types of reference read-ing, and to indicate the relevance of each" type for solving a specific problem. The five types of paragraph were the following: directly relevant to solving the problem, remotely relevant, fanciful, encyclopedic on the general topic but irrelevant to the problem, and totally irrelevant. Gans also administered a group of standardized reading tests selected to establish an acceptable and reliable criterion of reading comprehension. The tests included the following: The Thorndike-McCall Reading Scale, Form 5; The Gates Silent Reading Test, Type A—Reading to Appreciate General Significance, Form 2; The Gates Silent Reading Tests, Type B—Reading to Predict the Outcome of Given Events, TABI Form 2; The Gates Silent Reading Test, Type D—Reading to Note Details, Form 2; The California Test of Mental Maturity, Elementary Series. Despite the superficially varied content of these tests, Gans justified this choice as a composite measure of general reading comprehension on the grounds that the intercorrelations among the components approached their respective reliabilities. Correlations (corrected for attenuation) between the composite measure of general comprehension and each of the five types of refer-ence reading measured by Gans' test were the following: directly relevant, .48; remotely relevant, .09; fanciful, .31; encyclopedic, A5; irrelevant, .51. On the basis of these findings, Gans concluded: The abilities measured by the standardized tests composing the reading criterion are not the same as those measured by the experimental tests of reference reading, and the variance between the two functions of reading is too great to permit the use of scores made by pupils on tests of reading as an indication of these pupils' degree of ability to do reference reading. (15:92) Irion developed and validated a test of "literary comprehension" which he conceived as including "reading comprehension" and "interpretative ability" (23). Reading comprehension as conceived by Irion was measured by questions designed to assess the following four abilities: (1) understanding "pivotal words used," (2) understanding TABI "the more unusual expressions found in reading," (3) obtain-ing "specific and detailed facts from the printed page," and (4) reacting "to the passage as a whole" and being able to state "important points made by the author and the important conclusions which he would have the reader form" (23:8). Interpretative ability was defined as "the ability to take the main points presented by an author and the conclusions which he draws, and, on the basis of one's own experiences, to make wider interpretations and application" (23:8). Four forms of the test were built by Irion each one based on a different literary genre: a passage of con-versational narrative prose, a poem, an excerpt from a play, and a piece of expository prose. These selections were chosen after an examination of the syllabi of high school literature courses showed that they were representative of ninth grade material. The test was administered to 170 subjects who con-stituted an entire grade nine class in a New York high school. Intelligence scores for the subjects were determined to be normally distributed as measured by the Otis Self-Administer-ing Test of Mental Ability, Higher Examination, Form A. Reading achievement was typical for the grade level as measured by the Thorndike-McCall Reading Scales. TABI Pearson product moment correlations among the tests of four different kinds of literary selections ranged from .65 to .72. Word-Knowledge, Expression Comprehension, and Fact Comprehension were found to correlate with reading comprehension between .85 and .90. When the three compon-ents were correlated against each other, Word Knowledge and Expression Comprehension correlated .71, and Fact Comprehension and Expression Comprehension correlated .66. From these findings, Irion concluded that "there is a con-siderable intercorrelation of the literary comprehension of various kinds of literature here measured" (23:71) . He went on to contend that, based on his findings, the inter-correlations of the various elements of reading comprehen-sion as he defined it "are of considerable magnitude," and that Word Knowledge "seems to stand out as a very signifi-cant item in reading comprehension" (23:72) . Traxler (58) undertook an analysis of the Van Wagenen-Dvorak Diagnostic Examination of Silent Reading Abilitifes in order to determine the intercorrelations of scores on the various subtests. The test was administered to sixty-five ninth grade pupils and 116 tenth grade pupils in independent schools. Traxler wished to assess whether the ten separate subtests were sufficiently independent "to TABI warrant their separate measurement and use as a basis of diagnosis and remedial work" (58:34). Traxler found the intercorrelations among subtest scores "to cluster in the neighborhood of .50" thereby revealing only "a certain amount of positive relationship" (58:36) . In order to deter-mine whether these rather low intercorrelations could be accounted for by the low reliabilities (below .80) of eight of the ten short subtests, Traxler corrected for attenua-tion using Spearman's formula. "Significantly higher" intercorrelations were produced thereby indicating that longer subtests would have resulted in higher correlations. On this basis, Traxler concluded that subtests of Central Thought, Clearly Stated Details, Interpretation, Integration of Dispersed Ideas, and Ability to Draw Inferences appeared to measure "closely related reading abilities." For this reason, he maintained that "the 'true' correlations.. .are so high that the value of the separate scores provided may be reasonably questioned." In this manner, Traxler found that, though the disattenuated subtest scores correlated low and therefore appeared to measure relatively independent abilities, these low intercorrelations were in fact due to low subtest reliabilities and, in fact, the abilities which some subtests purported to measure were by no means TABI independent. However, Traxler did find that correlations among subtests of Rate of Comprehension, Perception of Re-lationships, General Information, and Reading Level (a composite of the closely-related subtests) were sufficiently low to warrant their separate measurement. Therefore, Traxler concluded that there was "at least reasonable doubt" whether or not scores on tests of Central Thought, Clearly Stated Details, Interpretation, Integration of Dispersed Ideas, and Ability to Draw Inferences'"contribute anything greatly different from the Reading Level Score" (58:41). ^In another study which sought to distinguish among different types of comprehension, Katona (2 6) explored the distinction between what he termed "verbatim learning" and "substance learning". Volunteer college students and teachers were first tested to eliminate the possibility of foreknowledge. Then they were randomly assigned two dif-ferent types of reading material. The first type of text was constructed so that specific items of information were related to an explicit predominant principle which gave the passage unity. The second type of material was taken from another source and organized in such a way that the principle which gave unity to the specific items of information con-tained in the passage was itself ennumerated in succession TABI with the items thereby obscuring the unifying influence of the principle. The learning resulting from reading these two kinds of passage was measured by "application questions" which were defined as questions demanding the application of learning derived from the reading to new situations. Katona found that subjects answering questions based on the first kind of text were more successful than were subjects answering questions based on the second kind of text. From this finding, Katona concluded that "acqui-sition of specific information is a distinct category of learning by reading, to be contrasted with the realization of the full implication of the text" (26:351) . Katona further concluded that one form of learning by reading is "not essentially different from mechanical memorization" whereas learning by reading which involves the understanding of a principle and its implications results in "the acqui-sition of flexible whole-qualities by means of organizing the learning material in a way appropriate to it" (26:352) . Like other investigators, therefore, Katona surmised that reading comprehension is of different kinds depending upon the kind of reading tasks being demanded. However, it is not clear from Katona's report whether his design and pro-cedures were adequate to exclude rival hypotheses. Since TABI the reading tasks differed in content as well as in the manner by which the unifying principle was incorporated, Katona's conclusions may not be soundly based. It is possible to speculate that the superior learning resulting from the reading of the first kind of text resulted from intrinsically easier reading material rather than from different organization. If Katona had used the same read-ing material organized into his two different patterns of presentation, this criticism could have been avoided. In a study involving seventy-seven boys in the fourth year of a Scottish secondary school, Bell (4) analy-zed errors made on two tests of silent reading in order to explore "the problem of comprehension." Bell classified the errors made into six types arranged from most frequent to least frequent: (1) difficult inferences where the demanded answer was not given in the test, (2> the misunderstanding of qualifying phrases, (3) reading in which the reader "supplies something not in the text", (4) inference where the answer is not given directly but can be easily inferred, (5) indirect reference, (6) and direct reference. On the basis of his analysis, Bell, like other investigators before him, concluded that "comprehension...ultimately includes thinking as well as memory" (4:55). TABI A later study similar in intent to Bell's was carried out by Black (5). He classified errors made by students in an English teachers' college in the silent reading of general prose material. Upon inspection, Black found that students' errors could be accounted for by eight categories: (1) failure to understand the intention of a writer, (2) failure to detect irony, (3) difficult vocabulary, (4) difficult allusions, (5) misunderstanding of metaphors, (6) inadequate background information, (7) insensitivity to contrast, and (8) readers' distracting preoccupations. Black maintained that the value of his classification lay in its illustration of the complexity of the comprehension process. Summary and Evaluation The common characteristic shared by all of these early experimental investigations of comprehension is their exploratory nature. They illustrate tentative efforts to understand the nature of comprehension and, conversely, a lessening emphasis on word recognition in the reading process. More particularly, these studies indicate a general movement away from viewing individual words as the sole determinants of meaning in reading to a conception of meaning as emanating from words in the context of larger TABI units of prose. Reading came to be approached as essenti-ally a thinking process rather than a perceptual one. Concomitantly, interest in the specific psychological pro-cesses involved in reading comprehension became prevalent. Many early studies revealed reading processes involve synthesis and forward movement as the reader seeks to deter-mine the meaning of what he reads. Comprehension was also found to involve the anticipation of meaning and the evaluation of this meaning as it unfolds during the reading act. Moreover, different kinds of comprehension were detected as readers face the demands of varying reading tasks and materials. Also, some investigators examined the errors made in silent reading in an attempt to determine the nature of comprehension. It is quite easy to disparage the findings of these early investigators. Their sampling procedures were highly arbitrary leaving the applicability of their findings to other populations in doubt. They failed to statistically control many outside influences, notably intelligence, which might well have affected their findings. The differences they report are seldom tested for significance. The artifi-cial presentation of reading material employed in a number of studies is in many instances naive in the light of current TABI knowledge. And the methods of determining the nature of readers' comprehension are of questionable accuracy. When errors in reading are examined and analyzed, this is almost always done from the subjective viewpoint of a single in-vestigator. Conversely, when readers' introspective verbalizations are solicited, it is the subjective judgment of the reader which provides the raw data which in turn serves as the basis for the investigator's own subjective interpretation. While all these criticisms are valid, they cannot be allowed to detract from the contribution of these early studies. These studies gave the impetus which propelled reading research away from a preoccupation with perception and word recognition to a basic concern with the nature of comprehension and the reading process as a whole. They also developed a scientific orientation to the study of reading and provided procedures some of which it will be seen have been recently re-adopted to answer still-unsolved questions about the nature of comprehension. LATER STATISTICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF COMPREHENSION As interest in comprehension continued among re-searchers, and as more refined statistical methods were TABI developed, an increasing number of quantitative analyses of comprehension appeared in the research literature. The majority of these investigations employed the statistical technique of factor analysis in an attempt to determine whether comprehension involves a number of distinct mental abilities, or whether it is unitary in nature. Therefore, it was the construct of comprehension which served as the focus of these investigations. The utility of factor analysis in the explication of psychological constructs has been expressed by Nunnally: Since it usually is necessary to combine scores on a number of variables to obtain valid measures of constructs, some method is required for determining the legitimacy of particular methods of combining variables. Important in determining this legitimacy are the patterns of correlations among variables. Factor analysis is nothing more than a set of mathematical aids to the examination of patterns of correlations and for that purpose, it is indispensable. (34:371) Hence, many of these later investigations of reading compre-hension employed analytic procedures which were further re-finements of the simple correlation analyses used in some of the earlier investigations discussed above. Review of the Studies In an early factor analysis of reading comprehension, Feder (14) investigated what he referred to as "comprehen-sion maturity" among adults. He conceived comprehension TABI maturity as involving "the student's depth and breadth of understanding and integration of given material" (14:598). Using excerpts from the writings of Newman, Rousseau, and Schopenhauer, Feder developed two comprehension maturity tests designed to measure the comprehension of factual material, appreciation, and the ability to understand infer-ences. In the first test, each item had four response choices of varying degrees of suitability; subjects were expected to indicate the best and worst response to each item. The test was first administered to seven hundred college freshmen, revised, and administered to ninety-nine college sophmores taking a course in psychology at the University of Iowa. A second instrument was developed by substituting a subtest of understanding organization for the appreciation subtest. This second test was then administer-ed to the same ninety-nine college sophmores and inter-correlations were calculated among scores on the six sub-tests contained in the two different comprehension tests. The correlation matrix was analyzed using Thurstone's method. Feder found three factors, two of which were clearly dis-tinguished as relatively independent skills. These factors were identified as "reading for information" and "reading for inference." TABI A limitation of Feder's study derives from his failure to provide an authoritative rationale for the concept of comprehension upon which he based his tests. Moreover, the abilities which his tests were designed to measure represent a somewhat limited notion of the variables involved in comprehension. Also, the highly academic reading material Feder included in his tests seems to be too restricted to account for the full range of comprehension abilities which adults may demonstrate. It is possible that other factors would have emerged had more diverse reading tasks been demanded of subjects and been measured. A battery of standardized tests was employed by Langsam to determine the factorial components of "reading ability" (27) . Although Langsam maintained that the tests chosen were those considered by her to be- best suited to "revealing the basic elements of which reading is composed," these "basic elements" were not identified. Hence, the concept of "reading ability" investigated remained undefined and the relevance of the variables measured to this concept was not clarified. The battery was administered to a rather small sample of one hundred first-year womens' college students. The tests used were appropriate forms of the TABI following: the Iowa Silent Reading Test, the Minnesota Reading Examination for College Students, the Nelson-Denny Reading Test, the Minnesota Speed of Reading Test, the Michigan Speed of Reading Test, the Inglis Test of English Vocabulary, the American Council on Education Psychological Examination of College Freshmen, and the Identical Forms Test from Thurstone's Primary Mental Abilities. Each subtest of the tests used was treated as a separate variable thereby providing twenty-one variables. The correlation matrix was then submitted to factor analysis employing Thurstone's centroid method, and the emerging five factors were interpreted. Langsam described the first factor as a "verbal factor" "characterized primarily by its reference to ideas and the meanings of words." The second factor, one which appears infrequently in these studies, was identified as a "perceptual factor," a function that appears to be a facility in perceiving detail." A third factor was described as a "word factor" distinguishable from the first factor by having "as its principal characteristic a fluency in dealing with words" as opposed to ideas and meanings ex-pressed by words. The fourth factor was a "number factor" clearly limited to the numerical tests in the battery. The TABI final factor, "seeing relationships," involves "seeing relationships among the elements of the problem confronting one in the light of the specialized knowledge summoned up for the solution required." From her findings, Langsam concluded that "it is clear that a single test may have significant loadings on one or more factors, indicating that the test is complex rather than simple" (27:61-63). A test based on social studies materials was developed by Conant in a study undertaken to determine whether there is "a general reading comprehension" (6) . The specific hypothesis tested was that "individuals differ in their abilities to use various reading techniques in a study-type of reading" (6:84). A significant strength of Conant's study is the clarity and precision with which she undertook to state the conceptual basis of her investigation, or, as she put it, her "blueprint of comprehension." She described her comprehension tests as being designed to measure (1) the ability "to get in detail the pattern of the author's thought" including main ideas and supporting de-tails, cause-and-effect relations and words in context; and (2) the ability "to interpret and make a critical evaluation of material read" including the selection and organization of facts relating to a general idea and drawing inferences TABI (6:51-52). In this manner, Conant, in contrast with Langsam and other investigators, made a conscientious attempt to delineate the domain of her study. This experimental test, along with the Nelson-Denny Reading Test and the American Council Psychological Examin-ation, was administered to three home room groups in the tenth and eleventh grades respectively, and two homeroom groups, one psychology class, and two English classes in the twelfth grade. The tests were also given to sixty female first-year college freshmen. Correlation coefficients among scores on the subtests showed all but five about .50, lead-ing Conant to conclude that her hypothesis was rejected. To further test her hypothesis, Conant analyzed the test scores of the high school students using Hotelling's princi-pal components procedure. Her findings revealed that one component accounted for 71.06 percent of the total variance. Conant concluded that "this is largely a one-factor problem," the nature of the factor being "general comprehension" (6:89). Three other components were extracted which were tentatively identified as a quantitative factor,., a linguistic factor, and a factor involving the comprehension and organi-zation of specific facts. However, Conant concluded that these three factors were of such small magnitude in accounting TABI for total variance (6.18 percent, 5.60 percent and 5.02 percent respectively) that "any further conclusions con-cerning their nature are of doubtful validity" (6:89). Conant, unlike many investigators employing factorial tech-niques, cautioned that her conclusions were particular only to the tests used in the population to which they were administered. She thereby indicated her awareness that different variables applied to different populations may well have resulted in the emergence of different factors. Perhaps the most well-known factor analysis of reading comprehension was carried out by Davis (9). Davis surveyed the relevant literature in order to identify those comprehension skills designated as the most important by reading authorities. From the resulting list of skills, the following nine groups of skills were isolated and labelled as "basic to comprehension in reading": 1. Knowledge of word meanings. 2. Ability to select the appropriate meaning for a word or phrase in the light of its particular contextual setting . 3. Ability to follow the organization of a passage and to identify antecedents and references in it. 4. Ability to select the main thought of a passage. 5. Ability to answer questions that are specifically answered in a passage. 6. Ability to answer questions that are answered in a passage but not in the words in which the question is asked. 7. Ability to draw inferences from a passage about its contents. TABI 8. Ability to recognize the literary devices used in a passage and to determine its tone and mood. 9. Ability to determine a writer's purpose, intent, and point of view, ie ., to draw inferences about a writer. (9:186) These skills were measured by the construction of 240 multi-ple choice questions, each designed to focus on a single skill from the above list. In this way, Davis enhanced the significance of his study by insuring that the concept of comprehension upon which it was based conformed to authori-tative opinion and that his test included the relevant variables. Davis recognized the importance of his study by stating: The study reported here is the first to make use of tests especially constructed to measure the mental skills in reading comprehension that are considered of greatest importance by authorities in the field. (9:186) The 240 multiple-choice items were administered to 421 freshmen in teachers' colleges. Factor analysis was carried out on the resulting nine-by-nine correlation matrix using Kelley's principal-axis method with orthogonal rota-tions. Nine factors were extracted, five of which were con-sidered to represent non-chance variance. These five factors were interpreted as follows: Factor I: word knowledge. Factor II.: reasoning in reading . Factor III: understanding a writer's explicit statements Factor IV: the ability to follow the organization of a passage. Factor V: knowledge of literary devices and techniques (9:191-193) TABI Of these five factors, word knowledge and reasoning in reading accounted for 89 percent of the variance and were the only ones for which "reasonably reliable" individual scores could be obtained. Davis noted that the other three factors probably could have been clarified provided more items measuring these abilities had been written. In a,study following upon the findings of his factor analysis of comprehension, Davis (8) administered a battery of fourteen short tests of reasoning and judgment along with the Word Knowledge and Reasoning in Reading tests developed from his original study (and reported in 1942 [llj ) to 689 eleventh and twelfth grade boys in New York. Inter-correlations among tests were determined and a factor ana-lysis of the resulting matrix was made. A "large proportion" of the variance in reading comprehension was accounted for by two of the eight emerging factors. These two factors bore a "striking similarity" to those of word knowledge and reasoning in reading originally reported. What is significant about this later study by Davis is not so much the factors which he discovered since these essentially duplicate the findings of his original study, but rather the correlations between the two major factors and the individual tests. Here, word knowledge was found TABI to be positively correlated with the recognition-vocabulary and the inference-in-reading tests, and negatively corre-lated with the nonverbal reasoning and the mechanical move-ments tests. Little relationship was found between the word knowledge factor and other different kinds of reasoning and judgment tests which were expressed in verbal form. The reasoning in reading factor was found to be "strongly and positively" correlated with the inferences-in-reading test and negatively related to the recognition-vocabulary test and the arithmetical-reasoning test. From these findings Davis concluded that the kind of reasoning ability demanded in reading is not identical to that required by other types of reasoning tests such as those made up of mathematical problems. He stated: Reading seems to be primarily a process of associa-ting word meanings, but it does require reasoning of a highly specialized type which can probably be developed only by training and experience in reading. Sophisti-cation in formal logic, skill in solving mathematical problems and skill in syllogistic reasoning are often developed concurrently with ability to reason in read-ing, but there is no basis for believing that training in one of them will, by itself, improve an individual's ability to read with understanding. (8:484) The significance of this conclusion for those who seek to interpret the relationship between cognition in general and that cognitive activity specifically associated with reading has often been overlooked. TABI A consideration of Davis's investigations, particu-larly his initial one (9), would be incomplete without mention of Thurstone's (57) reanalysis of Davis's original data. Thurstone conducted two factor analyses on the correlation data from Davis' original nine reading tests using Spearman's uni-dimensional method and his own cen-troid method. Thurstone contended that his alternative sol-ution was "relatively simple in that the uni-dimensional method of Spearman seems to be applicable instead of the more elaborate multi-dimensional solution" used by Davis (57:183) . Thurstone's findings showed that Davis' data could be accounted for by "a single common factor with remarkably small residuals" which Thurstone interpreted as "reading ability." Thurstone's application of the centroid method to Davis' data "gave the same single-factor solution to this problem." Thurstone maintained that this result was "outstanding" since Davis' tests were constructed to repre-sent "nine supposedly different skills" (57:187-88) . Based on his findings, Thurstone concluded: Since these nine tests are shown to be measures of the same reading function, we have here no evidence about the components of the complex we call reading ability. The question still remains to be investi-gated by new tests in hope of identifying fundamental parameters of reading ability. (57:188) It is important to note in Thurstone's conclusion that he TABI does not dismiss the possibility of multiple abilities in reading comprehension. Rather, he simply states that Davis' method and data are inadequate, for the task of detecting these abilities. Hall and Robinson (19) conducted a factor analysis study in order to determine the skills involved in reading different prose and non-prose materials and the components of these skills. The tests used were Robinson and Hall's three tests in geology, history, and art, Pressey's Dictionary Test, and a test on table reading from Robinson's Diagnostic and Remedial Techniques for Effective Study. Other standardized tests administered were three parts of Thurstone's Chicago Primary Abilities Test (verbal, spatial, and inductive), and five fields in the Michigan Vocabulary Tests. Together with these instruments, author-constructed tests of chart, diagram, and map reading were also administered. Despite this wide range of measuring instru-ments used, Hall and Robinson failed to provide a rationale for their selection of these tests. Such a rationale would have more specifically defined the domain which they sought to explore and would have thereby provided the basis for a better understanding of the significance of their findings. The tests were administered to a rather small sample TABI of one hundred freshmen English students at Eastern Washing-ton College. Correlation coefficients were computed and Thurstone1s centroid method was employed for the factor analysis. Six factors emerged from the analysis, five of which were identifiable: Factor I: study attitude Factor II: inductive factor Factor III: verbal factor (the most strongly defined factor) Factor IV: not identifiable Factor V: rate Factor VI: chart-reading skill Hall and Robinson concluded that different skills were in-volved in the reading of prose or non-prose material, and that each of these skills was in turn composed of different subskills. On the basis of their analysis, they concluded that prose reading involved Factors I, II, III, and V, while Factors III and VI were components of chart reading and Factor V and possibly Factor IV were coordinated in pattern reading. Since Factor III, the verbal factor, was the most strongly defined factor, a full description of its nature would seem to be warranted. Unfortunately, Hall and Robinson's report of their study lacks such a description. A study to determine "the 'generality' of compre-hension" as it applies to different literary content and different reactions demanded of the reader was undertaken by TABI Harris (20). A test was constructed by selecting from literature anthologies passages varying in form (prose and poetry, essay, narrative, and drama), in period (Elizabethan to modern), and in style. The reactions demanded of readers were determined by conceiving literary comprehension as encompassing four kinds of operations: (1) translating—"getting the literal meaning", (2) summarizing, (3) inferring tone, mood, intent, and (4) relating technique and meaning. From these four operations, seven skills were identified and used as a guide in the preparation of test items for the selected passages. These seven skills were: 1. Recognition of symbols for uncommon words and groups :o.f words. 2. Recognition of words or groups of words that are used figuratively. 3. Recognition of antecedents of pronouns, of subjects and predicates in loosely organized statements. 4. Recognition of ideas expressed or implied. 5. Recognition of summaries and characteristics of persons or characters. 6. Recognition of author's attitude toward his characters, of his mood or emotions and of his intent. 7. Recognition of relationship between technique and meaning. Here it can be seen that, like Davis' study and unlike Hall and Robinson's, Harris' investigation was governed by a clearly articulated purpose which was established at the outset and which determined the variables measured. In this TABI manner, Harris provided a coherent framework within which his investigation proceeded and the significance of his findings can be considered. Harris administered his test including fifty-seven items based on seven passages to 106 armed forces dis-chargees . He hypothesized that only one common factor would account for observed correlations. The hypothesis was tested by using the Spearman two-factor analysis and it was found that for both content and reaction one factor accounted for the intercorrelations. Harris concluded that his hypothesis had been upheld with respect to both different content material in English and different reader reaction. Two separate factor analysis studies conducted in Britain were reported by Anderson (2) and Richardson (38). Anderson randomly selected five hundred senior secondary students in Scotland and administered a battery of standard-ized tests including the Otis Group Intelligence Test, the Inglis Vocabulary Test, the Shepherd English Test, and the Co-Operative English Test. Two author-constructed "inter-pretation" tests were also administered. One test measured the ability to indicate facts and details from a passage in a fixed time while the other tested the ability TABI "to comprehend the ideas and vocabulary of a passage." Intercorrelations among different tests scores were deter-mined and the matrix was submitted to factor analysis using Thurstone's method. A limitation of Anderson's study lies in his failure to state the basis of his test selection. The nature of "reading" which he sought to study therefore remains unclear since the variables included in his test battery were not apparently selected in accordance with any previously determined concept of reading. Three factors emerged from Anderson's analysis. The first factor, accounting for 57.6 percent of the total variance, was interpreted as vocabulary ability. A factor identified as the ability to analyze and synthesize accounted for 29.2 percent of the variance, while intelligence accounted for 13.2 percent. The saturation for intelligence was discovered by first factoring the matrix, then part-ialling out intelligence and refactoring so that by com-paring the two saturations the loadings for the factor of intelligence were discovered. In this way, Anderson attempted to distinguish the vocabulary ability and the analyzing and synthesizing ability which were associated with his intelligence factor from the vocabulary ability and the analyzing and synthesizing ability which he TABI interpreted as two additional factors not associated with intelligence. From his findings, Anderson drew the follow-ing conclusion: The hypothesis is suggested that the important words of a sentence are its fundamentals, and its sen-tence structure is the relations given. Children learn the relations by using them with the known fundamentals. Thus adults know the essentials of sentence structure and find difficulty only in important words, to which their eyes will regress in a case of misunderstanding. (2:221) As will be seen in a subsequent chapter, these speculations of Anderson anticipate to a marked degree the more recent hypotheses of educational theorists with respect to comprehension. Richardson (38) constructed and validated a test which he administered to 260 ten-year-old primary English school children. The measuring instruments consisted of two tests involving the silent reading of prose passages followed by questions based on the narrative, a visual and auditory discrimination test of words and word forms, and assessments of experiential background and attitudes to-wards reading. Hence, -Richardson included a much wider range of variables than do most investigators whose studies are reviewed here. Test scores were intercorrelated and the matrix factor analyzed by Thurstone's centroid method. Three TABI factors were extracted which Richardson described as general intelligence, an emotional factor relating to the school situation, and, tentatively, a factor involving "the mechanics of reading." Richardson concluded that intelligence and verbal ability are of primary importance in determining reading ability among primary school children. However, he failed to elaborate on the nature of the verbal ability involved. In a doctoral dissertation, Derrick (12) investi-gated the nature of reading comprehension and the influence of differing lengths of reading selections on the measure-ment of comprehension. Findings relating to the first of these questions are of concern here. Derrick analyzed the pertinent literature and identified three aspects of reading comprehension: (1) "getting the literal meaning of what is read," (2) "securing the broader meaning inherent in the passage," and (3) "reacting critically to what is read". Each of seventeen reading skills was classified under one of the three aspects of comprehension and this classifi-cation was confirmed by expert opinion. Three tests were constructed each containing approximately fifty-five ques-tions designed to measure the three aspects of comprehension postulated. The classification of test items under the TABI appropriate aspect of comprehension was authenticated by professional test constructors. In this manner, Derrick founded his study on a clearly-stated, well-authenticated concept of comprehension which provided the basis for the determination of the variables measured. Derrick administered his tests to 457 freshmen in Chicago junior colleges. Intercorrelations among the nine subscores were computed revealing no significant cluster. The Spearman two-factor method of analysis was used to analyze the correlation matrix. Forty-six percent of the variance was attributed to a "general factor," 44 percent to unreliability factors, and 10 percent to undefined specific factors. From these findings, Derrick concluded that a general factor accounted for the correlations obtain-ed and that this general factor could be interpreted as general reading ability. A further analysis using the bi-factor method of factor analysis confirmed the findings and Derrick's conclusion. Another doctoral dissertation involving a factor analysis of reading comprehension was completed by Mazurkiewicz (30). Mazurkiewicz sought to determine the relationship between reading comprehension and reasoning ability. He hypothesized that comprehension involved an TABI understanding of words and some kind of reasoning ability. An author-constructed test of reading comprehension was developed which included factual and inferential comprehen-sion and vocabulary questions. Together with the compre-hension test, the verbal and nonverbal subtests of the California Test of Mental Maturity and Cattell's Culture Free Test of Intelligence were administered to 154 grade five pupils in a Pennsylvania elementary school. Subtests of reasoning included tests of logical reasoning and number reasoning, along with such tests as verbal concepts, im-mediate and delayed recall, sensing right and left, and manipulation of ideas. Intelligence was measured by the Kuhlmann-Anderson Test of Intelligence and grade placement in reading was determined from the California Reading Test. The twenty-one intercorrelations among the test variables, intelligence, reading grade level, and total scores on the experimental comprehension tests were computed. These inter-correlations were then submitted to factor analysis. Mazurkiewicz found that the intercorrelations among variables could be accounted for by the presence of two sources of common variance which he identified as general reasoning and verbal comprehension factors. Based upon these findings, Mazurkiewicz concluded that reading comprehension TABI is not a unitary activity. Besides involving the dual factors of general reasoning and verbal comprehension, Mazurkiewicz speculated that comprehension was also depen-dent upon the operation of as yet unidentified factors relating to the specific task demanded. With respect to the loadings of numerical tests on the two comprehension factors identified, Mazurkiewicz1s findings appear to vary from those of Langsam (27) and Davis (8). Langsam found that the numerical tests she administered loaded almost exclusively on the factor which she identified as a number factor. Davis found that tests of nonverbal reasoning and mechanical movement correlated negatively with the word recognition factor he identified, and tests of arithmetic reasoning correlated negatively with his reasoning in reading factor. Mazurkiewicz, how-ever, found his Number Series test to correlate .47 with his verbal factor, and a Numerical Quantity test to correlate .61 with his general reasoning factor. Mazurkiewicz ex-plained the loading of the Number Series test on his verbal factor as resulting from the nature of the test which re-quired a knowledge of the meaning of words. However, the loading of the Numerical Quantity tests was cited as evidence of the general rather than specific nature of reasoning TABI associated with comprehension. Mazurkiewicz described the nature of this reasoning as "the- general ability to solve problems." In this respect, he is in disagreement with Davis' conclusion that reading requires reasoning of a highly specialized type which is distinguishable from the type used in solving problems in logic and mathematics. One explanation of this apparent contradiction lies in the different ages of the subjects used by Mazurkiewicz and Davis. It is possible that the specific type of reasoning pertaining to comprehension which Davis' findings indicate only becomes differentiated from general reasoning at a later stage in a child's development. It would seem that this question of whether or not the type of reasoning em-ployed in reading is specific to reading demands further experimental investigation since it is central to an under-standing of the reading process. In a study involving 585 college students, Hunt (22) sought to determine whether the factors identified by Davis (9) would reappear in an independent investigation of read-ing comprehension. Hunt exercised extreme care in deter-mining the variables he measured. Test items were carefully selected in such a manner as to insure that they would be alike within each group but different from each of the other TABI groups. This was accomplished by having each test item individually classified by authorities with respect to one of the skills originally determined by Davis. Agreement among authorities regarding the ability of each item to measure the particular skill.for which it was designated was required before the item was included in the test. Hence, the domain investigated by Hunt was carefully and clearly delineated. When his test was constructed, Hunt administered it to his subjects and utilized differential item analysis in order to determine the differential measurement of his postulated specific comprehension skills. Hunt found that, except for vocabulary items, none of the mean differences in point biserial values was greater than .035, the mean difference values ranged from -.037 to .035, and the median value was -.004. From these findings, Hunt concluded that, aside from vocabulary, the point biserial values for each pair of skills measured were probably chance differences. He further concluded that the different groups of items were not measuring different abilities. Hunt carried out further analyses of his data using factor analysis. The first analysis, using the method initially employed by Davis, revealed one major factor which TABI Hunt designated as "general comprehension." Two lesser factors accounting for an unreported amount of variance, were also extracted, but Hunt considered them to be of minor importance. A second factor analysis using Thurstone's method produced one common factor. Hunt concluded that the skills identified by Davis in 1944 are explainable by one or two factors. As a general conclusion to this very thorough study, Hunt stated: The results of the differential item analysis and the analysis of the relationships among the initial skill measures support the view that each group of items, other than vocabulary items, is measuring a common factor of reading comprehension. (22:169) A simple correlation analysis was conducted by McCullough to determine "whether we are testing essentially different things when we test for different types of compre-hension" (32:65) . Appropriate forms of the Ginn Reading Readiness Test were administered to 258 first, second, and fourth grade pupils. The types of comprehension measured included main idea, details, sequence, and creative reading (seeking relationships, drawing conclusions, passing judg-ments) . Pearson product moment correlations were computed among the test scores on the four types of comprehension measured. Intercorrelations ranged from .26 to .63 leading McCullough to conclude that "there is a positive and perhaps TABI substantial relationship among these comprehension types, suggesting the possibility of a common factor pervading all." McCullough speculated that this common factor "would appear to arise from the reader's fact-getting ability" (32:70) . One suspects that McCullough could have stated her conclusions with more certitude had she factor analyzed her correlation data. As it stands, her study contributes very little beyond what can be learned from early studies of comprehension employing simple correlation procedures. Vernon (60) developed parallel forms of a number of tests designed to measure verbal comprehension. The thoroughness with which Vernon determined the variables which he considered to contribute to comprehension is evidenced by the extent of his test battery. It included the following measures: two tests of "vocabulary" demanding written and multiple-choice responses; two "sentence completion" tests requiring filling gaps in sentences and multiple-choice responses; two undefined "reading compre-hension" tests to be answered in the subject's own words and by multiple-choice questions; two measures of "reading comprehension" involving questions of a factual and infer-ential nature; an unnamed published "reading comprehension" test; a multiple-choice test of "comprehension of tables and graphs;" the Nelson-Denny Reading Test; an English test TABI dealing with sentence structure, punctuation and spelling, vocabulary, and reading; and an "external criterion of intellectual competence" including students' grade point averages and scores on an essay examination. The test battery was administered to 108 British and seventy-five American college students. Scores on all the verbal tests were intercorrelated and then factor analysed using Thurstone's centroid method. A "strong comprehension factor orthogonal to the vocabulary factor" was revealed. No significant variance remained in the correlation matrix after the removal of these two factors. Vernon concluded that his findings represented a contradiction of Thurstone's .Teanalysis of Davis' data, and-that "it would appear that functions in reading can be differentiated rather more readily than Derrick believed" (60:275). Two hypotheses were tested in a study undertaken by Alshan (1) . The first hypothesis was that, in a comprehen-sion test, the test items define the number of factors operating. The second hypothesis was that those items written to measure one specific skill always have substantial loadings on the same factor. Alshan administered the-Davis Reading Test since it met the criterion demanded in his study that the instrument used represent a conscientious TABI attempt to measure different comprehension skills and that this attempt be reflected in the test items. Alshan drew his subjects from the same population as the one used to norm the Davis Test. The sample included 525 eleventh grade students in twenty-four schools in fourteen states. Each school contributed a number of students proportionate to its representation in the original normative group. The study was restricted to the eleventh grade since Alshan's purpose was to focus on "the reasoning aspect of the reading comprehension process" and he therefore wished "to reduce the influence of vocabulary on individual differences by using individuals whose vocabulary would be adequate to the demands of the test" (1:14). Alshan administered the Davis Test to his subjects. He then performed a principal components analysis of the initial forty-by-forty inter-item matrix of phi-coefficients. This procedure indicated a single factor accounting for most of the total variance which Alshan tentatively identified as "reading comprehension" or "verbal reasoning." The five largest factors were then rotated using Kaiser's normalized varimax criterion. The five orthogonal factors obtained in this fashion were found to be unidentifiable. Hence, when the loadings of items within each of the five Davis Test skill TABI categories were compared with the Davis classification, Alshan concluded that the empirical structure of the Davis Test does not conform to its a priori structure. No single factor appeared upon which all the items in a particular postulated category had significant loadings. Alshan con-tended that "the distribution of significant loadings on the five hypothesized factors seemed so haphazard as to make even tentative identification of these factors futile." He further noted that the rotated factors "do not even point toward the existence of a single common factor..." (1:133). It was only in the unrotated matrix of principal axis loadings where one factor accounted for most of the variance. Alshan speculated that this factor "might ten-tatively be identified" as a "reading comprehension" factor. For these reasons, Alshan, like Vernon, concluded that Thurstone's reanalysis of Davis' data represented a more legitimate interpretation of this data. And, since Alshan was at pains to eliminate the influence of vocabulary in his study, he further contended that his findings were con-sistent with those of Hunt. Several questions are raised by Alshan's conclusions, however. First, he maintains that his findings support those of Thurstone with respect to Davis' study. Yet only in the unrotated matrix of principal axis loadings did a TABI single factor account for most of the total variance. When the five largest factors were rotated, the five orthogonal factors obtained were found to be unidentifiable. How these findings support those of Thurstone who extracted one factor accounting for almost all the variance remains unclear. Another consideration of Alshan's findings related to his deliberate elimination of the influence of vocabulary. In doing this, he prevented himself from finding a word knowledge factor. Moreover, by restricting his study to the eleventh grade, Alshan could well have eliminated other factors besides word knowledge similar to those interpreted by Davis. These factors might have appeared if Alshan had drawn his data from a sample of subjects representing a broader range of grade levels. For this reason, Alshan's findings do not necessarily contradict those of Davis nor do they necessarily support the findings of Thurstone and Hunt. The force of Thurstone's reinterpretation of Davis' findings derives primarily from the fact that Thurstone"s analysis was carried out on Davis' data. The factorial composition of standardized, group-administered survey reading tests was the object of a study undertaken by Sutherland (51). Sutherland administered a battery of these tests to 2 50 fifth grade public school TABI pupils in California. The tests used were the reading tests from appropriate forms of the California Achievement Tests, the SRA Achievement Series, and the Sequential Tests of Educational Progress. Intercorrelations among test scores were computed and factor analyzed using the princi-pal axis method. The axes were then rotated analytically using the varimax criterion. Upon completion of this analysis, test items were reclassified according to the categories contained in Bloom's taxonomy. Items fell into eight categories, mostly "knowledge" and "comprehension." The tests were then rescored on this basis and were factor analyzed again. In order to further assess the nature of the factors, a second phase of Sutherland's study was undertaken. This involved administering certain reference tests from Guilford's "Structure of Intellect" battery to 250 seventh grade junior high school students. The California Reading Test was also administered as a represen-tative of all reading tests. Sutherland did not explain this assumption of representativeness, however, The tests were scored and statistically analyzed using a principal-factor method with varimax rotation. Sutherland's principal axis factor analysis revealed that 93 percent of the total variance was accounted for by TABI the first principal factor. From this evidence, he con-cluded that the tests were largely measuring one general factor . When three axes were rotated, three significant factors emerged. They were not sharply defined, however, and none was clearly vocabulary or comprehension. . Suther-land found the degree of overlap between scores on the vocabulary and paragraph meaning subtests of the instru-ments used to be "greater than any degree of separation." When test items were regrouped in conformity to the cate-gories of Bloom's taxonomy, factor analysis revealed no meaningful factors. In fact, Sutherland observed that items tended to cling together according to the test from which they came rather than according to the taxonomy category into which they fitted. With respect to the second part of his investigation, Sutherland found that the vocabulary subtests of the California Reading Test loaded exclusively on the factor cognition, semantic, units—in Guilford's terminology—which Sutherland identified as verbal comprehension. The comprehension subtest of the California Reading Test had a high loading on the Guilford-defined factor of cognition, semantic, units, and smaller loadings on the factors cognition, semantic, systems, and cognition, semantic, classes. The largest factor present in the TABI comprehension subtest, accounting for 47 percent of the total variance, was identified by Sutherland as "verbal comprehension." The second largest factor (21 percent of the total variance) was interpreted as "general reason-ing," while the smallest factor (9 percent of the total variance) remained uninterpreted. Sutherland concluded that the importance of the two smaller factors was not great since error variance accounted for a greater portion of the total variance than did either one of them. In brief, Sutherland's findings showed that, in a battery of standardized reading tests, one general factor accounted for almost all the measured variance. When the comprehension subtest was taken from the California Reading Test, one major factor was extracted which Sutherland called "verbal comprehension." Two other less significant factors also emerged. In a recent and important investigation, Davis made relevant use of highly sophisticated statistical techniques in an attempt to provide "a definitive study of comprehension skills among mature readers" (10:510) . Davis employed multiple-regression procedures in a cross-validated uniqueness analysis designed to identify the "small pockets of unique variance" he claimed previous statistical pro-TABI cedures had left undetected. Specifically, Davis described his purpose as "to obtain estimates of the percentage of non-chance variance in the reliable variance of each of the most important measurable skills of comprehension among mature readers" (10:510). After reviewing experimental studies of comprehen-sion, including his own of 1944 (9), Davis selected eight skills for measurement each of which he hypothesized was unique in comprehension: 1. Remembering word meanings. 2. Inferring word meanings from context. 3. Understanding content stated explicitly. 4. Weaving ideas in the context. 5. Making inferences about the context. 6. Recognizing the author's tone, mood, and purpose. 7. Identifying the author's literary technique. 8. Following the structure of the content. A try-out test was developed including 320 multiple-choice items each based on a separate passage and equally distri-buted among the eight skills. Two parallel forms of the test were constructed and administered to 400 twelfth-grade students. A differential item analysis was carried out in such a way that each item on one form of the test was related to scores on the other form. In this manner, eight "unin-flated" biserial correlation coefficients were obtained for each item between passing and failing the item and scores in the eight skills. From the forty items constructed to TABI measure each skill, twenty-four were selected that had higher average correlations with the total score on that skill than with the total scores on the other seven skills. Using these twenty-four items measuring each skill, two parallel forms of the final measuring instrument were con-structed, each form incorporating twelve test items measur-ing each of the eight hypothesized unique skills. The revised tests were then administered to a new sample of 988 twelfth grade students in four high schools in Philadelphia. Davis then performed uniqueness analyses which were cross validated by items and, separately, by examinees. The largest percentage (32 percent) of unique non-error variance was found in Skill 1, "memory for word meanings." The second largest percentage (20.5) occurred in Skill 5, "drawing inferences from content." Three other skills revealing "appreciable percentages" of unique variance were Skill 8, "following the structure of a passage," 13.5 percent; Skill 6, "recognizing a writer's purpose, attitude, tone and mood," 11 percent; and Skill 3, "finding answers to questions asked explicitly or in paraphrase," 10 percent. Based on these findings, Davis came to the following con-clusion: TABI Comprehension among mature readers is not a unitary mental skill. The data summarized...leave no doubt that substantial parts of the mental abilities used in eight skills judged to be of importance in comprehen-sion are independent of one another. (10:542) Summary and Evaluation A brief summary of the more recent statistical investigations of comprehension reviewed below is provided in Table I. Inspection of this table soon reveals the diverse nature of these investigations and the difficulties encountered when one attempts to draw from them firm con-clusions about the nature of reading comprehension. Table I is organized according to the grade levels of the subjects involved in the studies. One might expect that this organi-zation would indicate certain factors to be characteristic of subjects at various grade levels. Such an indication could help to explain, for example, the apparent disagree-ment discussed above between the respective findings and conclusions of Mazurkiewicz and Davis concerning the nature of the reasoning ability involved in the comprehension of fifth-grade and twelfth-grade subjects. However, an examin-ation of the table soon indicates little consistency in the findings of studies based on similar groups of subjects, pursuing identically labelled topics, or employing the same analytic procedures. A number of reasons may account for TABLE I RECENT STATISTICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF COMPREHENSION Study Grade Level Topic Measuring Analytic Factors of Subjects Investigated Instruments Method Isolated Richardson (1950) primary reading ability battery of author-constructed tests factor analysis: Thurstone's centroid method with oblique rotations intelligence emotional mechanics of reading McCullough (1957) one two four compre-hension published reading test simple correlation analysis comprehen-sion Mazurkie-wicz (1957) five compre-hension battery of author-constructed and publish-ed tests factor analysis: Thurstone's centroid method with oblique rotations general reasoning verbal comprehen-sion Sutherland (1966) five reading ability battery of published reading tests factor analysis: principal axis method with ortho-gonal rotation and varimax criterion general .factor three un-identified factors 00 TABLE I (CONTINUED) Study Grade Level Topic Measuring Analytic Factors of Subjects Investigated Instruments Method Isolated seven compre-hension published test factor analysis: principal axis method with orth-ogonal rotation and varimax criterion verbal com-prehension general reasoning Conant (1942) ten eleven twelve comprehen-sion in social studies study type reading author-constructed tests factor analysis: Hotelling's prin-cipal components method with orth-ogonal rotations general com-prehension Alshan (1964) eleven compre-hension published reading test factor analysis: principal-axis method with orth-ogonal rotations and varimax criterion none identi-fiable U3 TABLE I (CONTINUED) Study Grade Level Topic Measuring Analytic Factors of Subjects investigated Instruments Method Isolated Anderson (1949) senior secondary compre-hension battery of author-constructed and published reading and intelligence tests factor analysis: Thurstone's cen-troid method with oblique rotations vocabulary analysis and synthesis intelligence Davis (1968) twelve compre-hension author -constructed test multiple-regression procedures in a cross-validated uniqueness analysis word meanings drawing infer-ences following the structure of the passage recognizing a writer's purpose, attitude, tone, and mood understanding explicit or implicit meaning £ o TABI Study Grade Level of Subjects Topic Investigated Derrick (1953) junior college compre-hension Davis (1944) college compre-hension Hall and Robinson (1945) college reading prose and non-prose TABLE I (CONTINUED) Measuring Analytic Factors Instruments Method Isolated author-constructed tests factor analysis: Thurstone's cen-troid method with oblique rotations general reading ability author -constructed test factor analysis: Kelley's princi-pal-axis method with orthogonal rotations word knowledge reasoning in reading under standing explicit statements following the organization of the passage knowledge of literary devices and techniques author -constructed and published tests factor analysis: Thurston's cen-troid method with oblique rotations study attitude inductive ver-bal rate chart-reading M TABI Study Grade Level Topic of Subjects Investigated Feder college compre-(1938) hension Hunt college compre-(1957) hension Langsam (1941) college reading ability TABLE I (CONTINUED) Measuring Analytic Factors Instruments Method Isolated author- factor analysis: reading for constructed Thurston's cen- information tests troid method with reading for oblique rotations inference author - differential item vocabulary constructed analysis; factor reading tests analysis using comprehen-Thurstone's cen- sion troid method with oblique rotations; factor analysis using Kelley's principal-axis method with orth-ogonal rotations battery of factor analysis: verbal published Thurstone's cen- perceptual reading and troid method with ' word intelligence oblique rotations number tests seeing rela-tionships TABLE I (CONTINUED) Study Grade Level of Subjects Topic Investigated Measuring Instruments Analytic Method Factors Isolated Vernon (1962) college compre-hension author -constructed and published reading tests factor analysis: Thurstone's cen-troid method with orthogonal rotations comprehension vocabulary Harris (1948) armed forces dischargees comprehen-sion of literature author -constructed tests factor analysis: two-factor method comprehen-sion o TABI this situation. What follows is a discussion of the studies based on five points of comparison: the subjects tested, the nature of the topic investigated, the measuring in-struments used, the analytic methods used, and the factors isolated. Subjects. The subjects used in these investigations range from primary school pupils to former armed forces personnel. Most investigators choose either secondary school or college students as subjects, apparently in the belief that these subjects represent "mature" readers whose comprehension ability is fully developed. But even in these cases, there is little or no attempt at sampling from a broad population. Most subjects are from intact classroom groups or grades contained in one or a few schools located in a particular locality. The only exception to this is Alshan's study, yet the only investigator to explicitly limit the relevance of her findings to the population measured is Conant. It may well be that the process of comprehension is identical among all mature readers and that the need for randomized sampling over a wide population is therefore unnecessary. This point could be supported by the findings of a number of studies parallel with respect to the subjects involved and the variables measured TABI carried out in different localities. But until such support is provided, the seeming lack of adequate sampling illustrated by these studies may restrict the applicability of their findings to the particular groups of subjects studied. Topic investigated. A second difficulty encountered in drawing generalized conclusions from these studies derives from the somewhat different topics of investigation. To be sure, the majority of studies focus upon investi-gating "reading comprehension." But others pursue what one would expect to be the broader field of "reading ability" while seeming to be concerned with essentially the same thing as studies of comprehension. Other investi-gations, notably those of Conant and Harris, concentrate on the comprehension of material in a particular subject area. Comparisons across studies ostensibly investigating general "reading comprehension," "reading ability," and the comprehension of specific content material would seem to require extreme caution. Measuring instruments. The measuring instruments used in these studies vary widely. This condition results in part from the previously-mentioned problem, ie. different TABI studies focus on slightly different subjects of investi-gation. But even among studies explicitly concerned with comprehension, different measuring instruments have been used to provide scores for analysis. In many studies, author-constructed measures have been developed and their reliability and validity established. In other studies, published standardized reading tests have been adopted along with tests of intelligence or other measures thought to be pertinent by the investigator. The importance of the tests implemented in studies of the kind reviewed above has been put succinctly by Davis: The most important step in a study that employs factorial procedures for the investigation of reading comprehension is the selection of the tests the scores of which are to be factored. Unless these tests pro-vide reasonably valid measures of the most important mental skills that have to be performed during the process of reading, the application of the most rigorous statistical procedures can not yield meaning-ful and significant results. The importance of this point can hardly be overstated. (19:185) The question which arises is, "What are 'the most important mental skills that have to be performed during the process of reading'?" This question apparently has been ignored by a number of investigators. Only Davis, Conant, Harris, Derrick, Hunt and Alshan have explicitly set out the "blue-print" (to use Conant's term) of what they mean by compre-hension. The remaining investigators have either assumed TABI that their own tests implicitly define the domain they seek to explore, or they have taken commercially produced instruments as adequate measures of comprehension. Nowhere is their concept of comprehension clearly delineated nor is their justification for using the tests chosen set down. The seriousness of this omission is underlined when the nature of factor analysis is considered. To some degree, as Davis intimates, these studies utilizing factorial methods determine their own outcomes. That is, the abilities demanded of the reader and which appear from the analysis must be included in the tests administered. Hence., if the tests do not represent a viable concept of comprehension, the factors which emerge (and which will be interpreted as the components of comprehension) will themselves be inade-quate to account for comprehension. Thus, the concept of comprehension to emerge from factor analysis studies is dictated by the adequacy of the concept of comprehension which is embodied in the tests used. Within this context, factor analysis can only reveal whether or not the component abilities represented in the tests operate as more or less independent abilities. In the case of comprehension, since its very nature is a subject of controversy, different in-vestigators hold different concepts of its nature. These TABI different concepts result in different tests being used and widely different factors emerging. Thus comparisons across studies become very tentative. Reading comprehension defined as a result of factor analysis must also be defined in terms of the tests used to conduct that analysis. Analytic procedures. The analytic procedure employed in the majority of these studies is factor analysis. How-ever, Hunt used differential item analysis, McCullough used a simple correlation analysis, and Davis developed his new form of cross-validated uniqueness analysis. Where factor analysis has been used, different methods have been employed, although the Thurstone centroid technique predominates. It is important to note, however, that when different methods of factor analysis are adopted, different factors can emerge. Thurstone's reanalysis of Davis' data illustrates this point as do the studies of Alshan and Sutherland. It should be noted, however, that Hunt applied two methods of factor analysis to his data and produced what he felt to be essenti-ally the same results.' Factors isolated. The factors isolated by these studies are almost as various as the studies themselves. An obvious division is between those studies which have found only one factor to account for comprehension and those TABI which reveal multiple factors. The majority of studies resulted in findings which support a multidimensional concept of reading comprehension. Where multiple factors have been extracted, a factor associated with word know-ledge almost always appears. A second factor to appear with some regularity relates to reasoning in reading, possibly involving seeing relationships, organizational patterns, implied meanings, etc. Beyond these tentative conclusions, any further summary becomes arbitrary. Many other factors have been identified in one or, at most, two or three studies. The reason for this disparity is almost certain to lie with the different tests used. As was discussed above, the tests used to gather data have great weight in determining the factors which appear when the data are analyzed. The principal question to emerge from these studies is whether or not comprehension is unitary in nature. It is obvious from the wide variety of findings which the studies display that a definitive answer to this question has yet to be provided. STUDIES OF THE SPECIFICITY OF COMPREHENSION Roughly paralleling the period of major emphasis on factor analysis studies, another series of investigations TABI was being conducted. The purpose of this second series of studies was to determine whether comprehension was indeed a generalized process functioning in the same manner with respect to different materials, or whether differences in the comprehension of different materials could be detected. Review of Studies Among the first of these studies was one conducted by Pressey and Pressey (37). Specifically, they wanted to determine whether either the form or the content of silent reading material was a factor in reading performance. Using material from the Monroe Reading Scales and the Illinois Examination, four reading scales were constructed containing poetry, scientific reading, and the general read-ing passages. Pressey and Pressey stated that the scales were of approximately equal difficulty since their distri-bution of scores and medians were "practically the same." The medians for the four scales were 6.1, 6.5, 6.6, and 6.4 (37:26). These scales were administered to 112 seventh grade pupils and correlations between the scales were computed. Correlations were found to range from .85 be-tween the two tests of general reading to .31 between general reading and poetry. Based on these findings, Pressey and Pressey contended that effective reading in one subject area TABI did not guarantee effective reading in another. In their final conclusion, they stated that "there seems to be little evidence of any general factor of outstanding import-ance" in silent reading (37:30) . McCallister (31) undertook to determine the kinds of reading difficulties encountered in junior high school history, mathematics, and science by students in two seventh and eighth grade classes at the University of Chicago Laboratory School. Through classroom visitations and the analysis of instructional methods and materials, students' written reports, and study activities over a five month period, McCallister concluded that reading diffi-culties in the grades concerned, were for the most part particular to the various content areas. However, McCallister did not take into consideration differences in teacher competence. Hence, since this was a small-scale study, and one in which teacher differences may have been confounded with content differences, its conclusions may not be dependable. In a study of thirty students in each of grades seven, eight, and nine, Grim (18) administered the subtests of reading interpretation from the Progressive Achievement Test as a measure of general reading comprehension. He also 112 constructed and administered a test involving social studies materials which required the interpretation of data, the application of principles, and the analysis of propaganda. Correlations between the two tests were .66 in grade seven, .51 in grade eight, and .52 in grade nine. Since the reliabilities of the tests were "well above .90" (18:373), correcting for attenuation would have raised the observed correlations very little. Grim therefore seems justified in his conclusion that general reading compre-hension and the interpretation of social studies material, while "somewhat related," are "not definitely enough to consider them the same behavior" (18:374). Robinson and Hall (40) conducted a study involving 205 education undergraduates at Ohio State University. The investigators constructed five tests of reading repre-senting four content fields (art, geology, fiction, and history) and two areas of one field (Canadian and Russian history). Correlations between the tests of different content areas ranged from .79 between art and. fiction to .09 between Canadian history and fiction, the majority of correlations being below..50. A significant finding was the correlation of .96 between Canadian and Russian history. Robinson and Hall, like Pressey and Pressey, concluded that 113 it was unreliable to predict comprehension ability from one subject field to another. However, they did observe "a basic reading skill in history." Swensen (53) sought to determine the relationship of scores on the Traxler Silent Reading Test and an author-constructed test based on science materials. These tests were considered to be representative of general reading material and science reading material. The tests were administered to eighty-two grade eight pupils matched for chronological and mental age. Swensen used "t" ratios to determine the probability of differences in student scores on the test of general reading ability and the test of science reading ability. Findings clearly showed that pupils making high scores on the test of general reading also made high scores on the science reading test. On this basis, Swensen concluded that "when one looks for evidence of relationship between the two types of reading materials, it becomes apparent that there is more evidence of similarity than of dissimilarity" (53:90). The relationship among 380 ninth grade pupils between certain reading and study skills and reading com-prehension of scientific and historical materials was the object of an investigation by Shores (43). A test battery 114 including the Iowa Every-Pupil Test of Basic Skills Test A: Silent Reading Comprehension and Basic Study Skills, Reading Scales in Literature, Science, and History; and the California Test of Mental Maturity was administered to the entire ninth-grade population of a Kansas City junior high school. From the results of these tests, four groups of students were selected composed of those students scoring in the upper and lower twenty-seven percent on tests of science and history materials. These students were compared for the significance of differences in mean ability in each of the skills measured by the tests. Subjects mental age and their ability to read literature were controlled. In general, Shores found that skills re-quired to read science materials were not identical to those required to read history, and the reverse. He concluded: The ability to read scientific and historical materials holds unique and different relationships to a number of reading skills. Ability to read effect-ively in the materials of science or history probably requires combinations of"skills either not related to or not as closely related to ability to read literature as these skills are to ability to read science and history. The results of this study offer rather conclusive evidence in refutation of the concept of a general reading ability in the ninth grade. (43:590) McMahon (33) constructed a test of comprehension 115 based on reading materials in arithmetic, literature, science, and social studies and administered it to 867 fifth grade pupils. High coefficients of alienation and low partial correlations between parts of the test based on different content material led McMahon to conclude that the different sections of the test measured partially-distinct but related abilities. He further concluded that a reader's score on one type of material does not give an accurate indication of his ability to read other types of material. Artley (3) designed a study to determine the re-lationship between comprehension of social studies material and general reading comprehension. General reading compre-hension was measured by the Cooperative Test Service, English Test C 1: Reading Comprehension, Form Q. Reading comprehension in social studies was determined by the Progressive Education Association, Application of principles in Social Studies, the Cooperative Test Service Tests of Social Studies Abilities, and Test of General Proficiency in the Field of Social Studies. Non-verbal intelligence was determined by the Chicago Non-verbal Examination. Subjects were two hundred eleventh grade students in a Pennsylvania high school. When correlation coefficients 116 were computed, corrected for attenuation, and the effect of intelligence was partialled out, a relationship of .75 was determined between social studies comprehension and general comprehension. From these findings, Artley con-cluded that, while general comprehension ability is "associated" with the ability to comprehend social studies material, "the absence of a perfect correlation.. .provides evidence that there exists a high degree of specificity" in the understanding of reading materials in the social studies (3:471). A test of problem solving in science was developed by Shores and Saupe (42) and administered to 182 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade pupils in six classroom groups. Multiple-choice questions followed two written passages of typical science material. The questions demanded the solu-tion of problems by drawing appropriate inferences. The New California Short-Form Test of Mental Maturity (giving language and non-language mental age) and the Progressive Achievement Test (giving reading and arithmetic age) were also administered. Intercorrelations among all variables were found to be significantly positive. The correlation between problem solving in science and reading age, when attenuated, was .73. Shores and Saupe concluded that their 117 findings supported the hypothesis that the kind of reading needed for solving problems in science in the intermediate grades has "a large factor in common" with mental ability and general reading achievement, but at the same time is "somewhat unique in a manner which cannot be accounted for by the generalized factors" (42:157). Cooper (7) undertook an investigation to determine whether tests of general reading ability and reading ability in English, social studies, and science measured the same or different abilities. His subjects were 161 grade eleven students in a Chicago high school. The tests used included the Kuhlmann-Finch Intelligence Test, the California Reading Test, the Iowa Tests of Educational Development, the Cooperative Vocabulary Test, and the Iowa Silent Reading Tests. The coefficients of correlation among general silent reading, literature reading, social studies reading, and science reading ranged from .71 to .77 with an average value of .75. Cooper concluded that though the four measures of reading studied were highly interrelated and therefore could not be considered as unique abilities, they were at the same time partially independent and "some minor degree of independence of specificity attaches to each." Cooper further interpreted his findings to mean 118 that "there were appreciable differences among these four reading tests, but that the differences were below the level of differential diagnosis" (7:182). Maney (29) and Sochor (45) undertook two complemen-tary studies using the same subjects. Their purpose was to determine the relationships among general reading ability and literal and critical reading in science (Maney) and social studies (Sochor). They developed and validated their own measures of literal and critical reading which they administered along with the Gates Reading Survey as a test of general reading comprehension. The Pinter General Ability Test was used as a measure of verbal intel-ligence. Literal reading was identically defined in both studies as "the ability to obtain a low-level type of interpretation by using only the information explicitly stated' (29:58). Critical reading was defined as "the ability to obtain a level of interpretation higher than that needed for literal interpretation including the ability to sense semantic variation, to detect central themes, to infer, to generalize, etc" (29:58) . The Pearson product moment correlations between general reading ability and literal reading in science and social studies were .75 and .76 respectively. With 119 intelligence held constant, these correlations were reduced to .35 and .41. Correlations between general reading and critical reading were determined to be .60 in science and .64 in social studies (and .11 and .17 when intelligence was partialled out). Correlations between literal reading and critical reading were .67 in science and .61 in social studies (reduced to .34 and .23 when intelligence was held constant). On the basis of these findings, Maney and Sochor concluded that there is a "high" relationship be-tween general reading ability and literal reading in science and social studies, and a "substantial" relationship between general reading and critical reading in science and social studies. They further concluded that there was a "substantial" relationship between literal and critical reading in both science and social studies. Despite these relationships, however, both investigators recognized that the relationships between reading in their respective sub-jects and general reading were not perfect and hence these abilities were not identical. Summary and Evaluation The studies summarized in Table II are organized in ascending order of the grade levels of the subjects involved. As was the case with factor analysis studies, subjects range TABLE II (CONTINUED) STUDIES OF THE SPECIFICITY OF COMPREHENSION Study Grade Level Topic Investigated Measuring Instruments Conclusions of Subjects Shores and Saupe (1953) four five six problem-solving reading in science and general reading author-constructed test of problem-solving in science plus published intelligence and read-ing tests science reading somewhat unique Maney and Sochor (1958) five general reading and literal and criti-cal reading in science and social studies author-constructed and published reading tests plus published intelli-gence test high and sub-stantial relationships McMahon (1943) five comprehension of arithmetic, liter-ature, science, social studies author-constructed tests distinct though related abilities Pressey and Pressey (1921) seven silent reading: general, poetry, science author-constructed tests little evidence of a general factor M o TABLE II (CONTINUED) Study Grade Level of Subjects Topic Investigated Grim (1940) seven eight nine interpretation: general, social studies McCalli-ster (1930) • seven eight reading difficult-ies in history, mathemat i c s, and science Swensen (1942) eight general and science reading Shores (1943) nine comprehension of historical and science materials Artley (1944) eleven general and social studies comprehen-sion (CONTINUED) Measuring Instruments Conclusions author-constructed and published tests observation general and social studies compre-hension not the same behavior difficulties peculiar to subject areas published and author-constructed tests more evidence of similarity than dissimilarity battery of published tests refutation of the concept of a general read-ing ability battery of published tests a high degree of specificity to HJ TABLE II (CONTINUED) Study Grade Level of Subjects Topic Investigated Measuring Instruments Conclusions Cooper eleven general, English, battery of published a minor degree (1955) social studies, reading and intelli- of specificity and science gence tests reading Robinson college comprehension of author-con str ucted comprehension and Hall art, geology, tests different in (1941) fiction, history each subject area but the same in two kinds of the same subject area i—• to to 123 from the elementary grades to the college level, yet random sampling from a broad population is not apparent. Hence, the application of these findings to a universal population can be only tentative. It must be acknowledged, however, that practical considerations make the true random sampling of a universal population almost impossible. Therefore, it would seem that further insight into the nature of the comprehension of reading materials in different content areas might be derived from studies dealing with similar . populations, determined by age and grade level, involving the measurement of variables which are as near the same as possible. Similar findings from a number of parallel in-vestigations designed in this manner would provide a clearer understanding of the comprehension of materials in different content areas. Unfortunately, the studies re-viewed above do not lend themselves to comparisons of this kind. Perhaps the most obvious reason for difficulty in comparing the findings of many of these studies lies in the different terms by which the objectives of the studies are described. While some investigators study "comprehension," others study "interpretation" or "reading ability" while all seemingly study essentially the same process. And the confusion evident here is further compounded by the 124 measuring instruments used. While a profusion of author-constructed tests have been employed, even when published tests are used, little consistency is evident in the tests chosen. Hence, the question of different variables being measured in different studies arises, making the comparison of findings and conclusions across studies difficult. Added to this is the problem of the reliabilities of the tests used. In many reports of studies, this information is not given, making reported differences among scores of tests of comprehension in different content areas somewhat suspect, and making interpretations of correlations between variables impossible. This is especially true when no cor-rection for attenuation is indicated. For this reason, one might question whether findings and conclusions in some studies result from poor research methodology or from the nature of reading comprehension. Therefore, comparisons of the findings of these studies, even when they involve apparently similar subjects, must be undertaken with caution. Despite these shortcomings, however, one general conclusion does appear to emerge from these studies. This is that a degree of specificity in the comprehension of reading materials in different content areas exists, but there is a definite commonality as well. The extent to 125 which specificity is claimed varies with different investi-gations. Artley and Shores, for instance, contend that the comprehension of materials in different subject areas is quite distinct, while Swensen and Cooper admit that differences do exist but maintain that these differences are outweighed by similarities. The resolution of these apparent inconsistencies awaits further investigation. INTROSPECTIVE-RETROSPECTIVE VERBALIZATION STUDIES The most recent approach to understanding comprehen-sion has been by way of introspective-retrospective verbali-zation studies. This approach is not a new one, however. As was outlined in an earlier section of this chapter, introspective-retrospective verbalization is a method which was used in many of the earliest studies of comprehension. One of the first studies of this type was carried out by Huey (21) seventy years ago. Perhaps the renewed interest in introspective-retro-spective verbalization results in part from a reaction to the earlier prevalence of factor analysis studies. Factor analysis studies present comprehension as a static condition. The mental abilities involved are isolated and held in suspension for the purposes of quantification and interpret-126 ation. The process of comprehension, the manner in which these mental abilities are mobilized and interact during reading is not revealed. On the other hand, introspective-retrospective verbalization concentrates on this dynamic process of reading at the expense of precise quantification. Strang, in a recent discussion of four doctoral dissertations employing introspective-retrospective verbalization, clearly distinguishes between this type of investigation and those of a more rigorously scientific nature: These four dissertations would not be considered "scientific" by the generally accepted standards of educational research. They do not arrive at general-izations or conclusions. They emphasize uniqueness rather than commoness, and take into account deviations as well as central tendencies. They use case studies as one way of emphasizing the fact that reading is an expression of individuality. Yet, as exploratory studies they contribute many observations of behavior — and nothing is more basic or permanent than an accurate observation. (49:46) The manner in which this type of investigation has been applied to the study of reading comprehension is the topic of this section. Review of Studies A somewhat tentative application of introspective-retrospective verbalization was reported by Robinson (41) . He investigated the reading skills used by twelve fourth grade pupils attending the University of Chicago laboratory 127 school. Subjects were asked to solve problems in social studies by reading any of a large number of different materials provided. They were asked to "think out loud" while reading. These verbalizations were taped and then examined and analyzed in order to categorize the reading skills used and the manner of using them. The resulting analysis was then judged by two independent authorities for consistency and accuracy. Robinson found that subjects made errors in comprehension due to their inability to remember the details of material read although these details were initially understood. The subjects also displayed weakness in their understanding of explicit and implicit main ideas. Many pupils failed to apply their background knowledge to the new reading situation, and many confused tasks involving searching for answers to literal questions with tasks requiring interpretative responses. The majority of subjects did not compare ideas found in various sources. Robinson concluded that it was possible to study the reading process using introspective-retrospective tech-niques, but he also cautioned that his findings were appli-cable only to the group of pupils studied. Squire (47) undertook a wide-ranging study aimed at analyzing the responses of fifty-two students in grades nine 128 and ten to four short stories in English literature. The stories were divided into segments for analysis by individ-ual subjects in an interview situation. Individual respon-ses to each segment were recorded after each segment was read and the responses were placed into the following categories: literary judgments, interpretational responses, narrational reactions, associational responses, self-involvement, descriptive judgments, and miscellaneous. Reading ability was measured by the Survey Section of the Diagnostic Reading Tests . Squire found no significant relationship between types of response and reading ability. However, a compari-son of the mean category scores of the five least able and the five most able readers revealed, for narrational responses only, a difference significant at the .02 level. Squire concluded that this finding supported his observa-tion that readers who experienced difficulty in comprehen-sion tended simply to restate the narrative when respond-ing to it. He observed that "the slow readers seemed almost to repeat elements of the story in an attempt to clarify its meaning." Squire found that failure to grasp meaning derived from three causes including the misunder-standing of key words, the failure to grasp the implications 129 of details presented by the author, and making incorrect inferences (47:37). The first of the more recent introspective-retrospective studies to investigate comprehension in depth was undertaken by Swain (52). Swain's objective was to observe behavior which she assumed reflected the thought processes involved while interpreting reading materials. Subjects were twenty-nine freshmen at the University of Georgia selected according to their scores on the A.C.E. Psychological Examination and the Cooperative English Test, Reading Section, Lower Level. Reading test scores deter-mined the selection of three groups of students judged to be good, average, and poor readers. Within each of these three groups, three levels of intelligence were represented. Reading materials were taken from the battery of United States Armed Forces Institute Tests of General Educational Development, High School and College Level. Subjects were asked to read to answer questions requiring the understanding of several different relationships among the concepts ex-pressed in the material. Subjects were also asked to verbal-ize their thoughts as they read, and their responses were recorded for analysis. Swain found certain aspects of the interpretative 130 process to be typical of readers at all three ability levels. Readers all tended to focus initially upon the meanings conveyed rather than on the language form conveying these meanings. When comprehension is obtained easily, Swain found readers' responses to be characterized by smoothness, understanding and satisfaction which she described as "insight." When comprehension is not immediately obtained, the focus of readers' mental activity changed from seeking meaning alone to seeking language clues to meaning. This process was accompanied by an increase in tension. The release of this tension occurred when the reader indicated understanding of what he was reading. This release took place irrespective of whether the correct understanding was obtained or whether the reader provided an answer while demonstrating little understanding or confidence in its accuracy. In the latter case, it appeared that the reader was seeking to escape from the tension of the situation. Besides these similarities among readers, Swain also found differences. Good readers tended to manipulate mean-ings mentally in order to understand a passage, average readers concentrated on language clues, while poor readers vacillated between these two approaches. When easy questions were put to good readers, they emphasized the structure of 131 meanings contained within passages as they sought solutions. With more difficult questions, good readers shifted their focus to analyzing the language and synthesizing the new meanings achieved into broader understanding. As difficulty increased, so did the tension demonstrated by good readers. This tension was accompanied by a loss of confidence and a lessening of control over seeking under-standing as many alternative lines of thought were initiated and abandoned. When poor readers answered easier questions, their initial thought processes involved both restructuring meanings and working with language clues. This latter activity often served to distract the poor reader from deal-ing with meanings. As the difficulty of questions increased, the poor readers placed more emphasis on language. However, though the energy expended increased, their ability to extract meaning remained uncontrolled as successive tech-niques were attempted and abandoned. In answering very difficult questions, poor readers tended to limit their re-sponse to reading orally and making defensive attempts to disguise their confusion. Answers to questions were more often characterized by exterior displays of confidence than by genuine assurance. 132 Average readers.tended to focus on language which they synthesized and analyzed to obtain meaning. As problems increased in difficulty, average readers placed more emphasis on language form. They increased their effort and became more efficient in approaching problems. This efficiency resulted in increased confidence. Diffi-cult problems resulted in little change in the focus of average readers* thought processes, but their effort and confidence decreased. Piekarz (36) conducted a study involving the compari-son of two pupils identified as a higher-level reader and a lower-level reader. Both subjects were taken from a group of twenty-two sixth grade pupils who were advanced in their general reading competency as measured by standard-ized tests, but who differed significantly in their ability to interpret what they read. Each pupil in the group was asked to read a selection on parent-child relations and to verbalize his thoughts and feelings while reading. Verbal-izations were recorded on tape. The reading of the text was followed by a test composed of thirty questions based on nine postulated areas of interpretation designed to measure understanding of the selection. The higher-level reader selected was a boy whose score on the test was third 133 highest for the group. His score on the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Score for Adolescents and Adults was 129, and he was on good terms with his parents. The lower-level reader was a girl who scored among the lowest in the group, but whose score on the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale for Adolescents and Adults was 127. She revealed an un-favorable attitude towards her parents. The analysis of these two pupils1 verbalizations revealed distinctive differences in their manner of inter-preting what they read. The higher-level reader's responses were greater in number and variety than the lower-level reader leading Pielcarz to infer that he participated to a greater extent in the reading process. The lower level reader's responses were characteristically literal in nature Showing only slight recognition of implicit meaning and the need for critical evaluation. The responses of the higher-level reader were more fluent and evenly distributed among literal, implied, and evaluative interpretations. The higher-level reader maintained objectivity and emotional distance in terms of the content of the selection while the lower-level reader became personally involved and highly subjective in her approach. She seemed incapable of differ-entiating between her own opinions and the author's. Her 134 responses were characteristically emotional rather than intellectual. Piekarz concluded that the low-level reader's poor interpretative ability was due to her negative feelings towards her parents which were stimulated by the nature of the reading passage. She was unable to approach the task in an objective and rational manner for the purpose of u nder standing the message which it conveyed. In an attempt to explore the nature of reading com-prehension among high school students, Jenkinson (24) used the "cloze" procedure to measure the comprehension of prose passages. Cloze tests were administered to 210 students in grades ten through twelve. From these subjects, twenty-two were selected for interviews, eleven making high scores and eleven making low scores. These twenty-two students were asked to complete two cloze passages while their verbalizations were recorded. The recordings were then analyzed to determine whether observable differences existed in the methods high-scoring and low-scoring students used to obtain meaning. A classification scheme was developed on the basis of these recordings including three major aspects of comprehension: (1) structure, reveal-ing the use of linguistic knowledge to obtain meaning, 135 (2) Semantic, indicating the manner of obtaining meaning, and (3) Approach, suggesting the reader's method of attaching meaning. With respect to Structure responses, Jenkinson found significant differences between high and low groups of readers in word recognition, awareness of language, sensitivity to sound, and sensitivity to style as these abilities were determined in her classification scheme. In Semantic responses, good readers produced a greater number of responses than poor readers. They also made greater use of context in anticipating ideas and meaning, and retrospection in checking meaning. The good readers also produced a greater number of ideational responses involving the fusion of separate meanings of words or groups of words into ideas, the recognition of sequences and relationships among ideas, seeing implied meanings, and making inferences. In Approach, high scorers displayed greater verbal fluency and more facility in verbal closure. The protocols of good readers also revealed the intellectual processes which they used to obtain meaning more fully. It was found that the better readers made more attempts to elucidate meaning and gave fewer negative responses. 136 Other findings indicated that both groups focussed their attention on meaning while reading rather than on the language forms conveying meaning. The verbalizations of good readers produced a larger number of discrete ideas than did those of poor readers. These ideas were characterized by greater precision, relevance, and more effective use of context—all indicating that good readers participated more actively in the interpretative process. Good readers used a greater variety of methods to assist them in comprehension and they displayed a greater knowledge of word meanings and language structure in completing the cloze test. Poor readers, tended to reminisce about personal experiences extraneous to the reading selection. They also placed undue importance on individual details in a passage and showed an inability to synthesize. Readers in the high group were more often able to correct errors made, and they displayed greater flexibility in shifting their approaches and interpretations so as to accommodate the meaning of the entire passage. In looking over the protocols as a whole, Jenkinson concluded that word fluency and language ability have a major role in influencing reading achievement. She also concluded that, since errors in interpretation seldom occurred in 137 isolation or were simple in nature, the process of inter-pretation was a highly complex one. The interpretative responses of grade eleven students to a short story were the subject of an investi-gation by Strang and Rogers (50) . Students were asked to read the story. Following this, they were interviewed and their unstructured responses solicited. They were then asked specific questions relating to the story. Finally, subjects were given selections from the story typed on cards and were asked to read them .aloud and vocalize thoughts and feelings while doing so. The data obtained in this manner were then analyzed, responses were categorized and checked by an independent rater, and the differences between fourteen high-level readers and fourteen low-level readers were computed and tested for significance using the "t" test. Significant differences were found between low and high-level readers in their ability to grasp both explicit and implicit meaning—in their ability to understand symbol-ism, similes and metaphors, the significance of the title, the mood of the story, and the author's point of view. High-level readers were more frequent in their comparisons of the story to others they had read and in their attempts to gain meaning from the story by such comparisons. They were 154 also more active in seeking meanings to words and ideas not understood, and their attitudes were altered to a greater extent by reading the story. These better readers reached beyond the surface meaning to interpret the story's significance on a more abstract and philosophical level. Finally, higher-level readers displayed a greater awareness of the reading process they employed. Low-level readers showed lesser awareness of the elements of the story and were more likely to miss the main events. They were more sensory in their responses while remaining weak in their ability to understand symbolism, similes and metaphors, and words in context. The signifi-cance of the title often eluded them as did clues to setting, the author's background, and details of characterization. Low-level readers also displayed relative weakness in seeing purposes, recognizing main incidents, and detecting narra-tive transitions. These readers had difficulty in remember-ing facts and were less inclined to look for the meanings of misunderstood words and ideas. They tended to respond to the story on a literal level often simply recapitulating the fact pattern. Poor readers also tended to interject personal observations which were extraneous to understanding the story. 139 In a concluding remark relating to the value of the introspective-retrospective method of studying comprehen-sion, the authors wrote: Though quite inadequate for the purpose of testing factual comprehension, an unstructured approach is especially valuable in showing how the reader's mind works. From such free responses we learn what is really communicated to the adolescent reader of a given short story. We also obtain glimpses of the reading processes that are used and recognized by some of the more able readers. (50:823) Smith (44) carried out a study to determine the success of twelfth-grade students in reading for details and for general impressions, and the processes these students reported using during the two kinds of reading. Fifteen good readers and fifteen poor readers were selected on the basis of their scores on the Cooperative English Test: Reading Comprehension. Within each of the two groups, three subgroups were determined representing different ranges of mental ability as measured by the Wechsler-Bellevue Intelligence Scale. The case study method was adopted involving structured interviews and retrospection in order to determine the processes used when subjects read for different purposes. Subjects first were directed on their purpose for reading. Then they read the selection and answered questions based on it. Following this, subjects were asked to describe their manner of answering the questions 140 and the procedures they used in reading for the two purposes. With respect to reading procedures, Smith found that good readers made greater adjustment in reading for different purposes than did poor readers. In reading for details, good readers made reference to the content of the selections, anticipated meaning, remembered details and related them to the rest of the selection, organized, asso-ciated, and evaluated ideas, and held them in mind while reviewing content. In reading for general impressions, good readers made inferences based on the content of their own experience, opinionated freely and reacted to the content, generalized, and. gave tentative descriptions of their own reading process. In contrast, poor readers reported only slight variations in their reading process when reading for differ-" ent purposes, in reading for details, they used related in-formation in the selection, memorized, and reviewed more frequently than when reading for general impressions. Alter-natively, when reading for inferences, they made numerous inferences and ignored details. In reading for both pur-poses, poor readers were unable to describe their methods of answering questions. They made incorrect references and 141 inferences more often when reading for general impressions. When reading for general impressions, their responses be-came irrelevant, incomplete or repetitious. Good readers made more frequent adjustments in their approach to the two purposes for reading than did poor readers. In particular, they indicated a greater number of procedures when reading for details. Poor readers were less able to describe their reading procedures. They tended to make faulty inferences and references, were repetitive rather than expansive in their answers, vague in responding concerning the procedures they used, and made irrelevant responses. In keeping their purpose for reading in mind, good readers succeeded to a greater extent than did poor readers. Good readers were better able to restate clearly their purpose for reading and the method to be employed than were poor readers. A study focussing on the understanding of English literature was undertaken by Ward (61). He sought to des-cribe the interpretative processes employed by his subjects as they read and responded to three short stories. Subjects were sixty-two twelfth grade students in two college pre-paratory English classes. Students were presented with two 142 stories and were encouraged to respond to them freely in writing with respect to how they felt, experienced, and preceived while reading. The students were also asked to construct questions based on a third story which would aid in its interpretation and analysis. Finally, subjects were asked to complete a questionnaire relating to a fourth story. From these three procedures, Ward hoped to acquire data about the students' perception of their own reading and interpretative behaviors. Four characteristic reading and interpreting diffi-culties emerged from the students' responses to the stories. First, students failed to maintain adequate distance from the stories. That is, they were unable to detect the nuances of meaning placed on the story by the narrator and hence read the story as an objective account rather than a subtly subjective one. A second weakness was the subjects' inability to view the story as a whole. Certain elements and details took on significance in the minds of the readers which were disproportionate to their importance in the story. "Invention constituted a third weakness in interpreta-tion. Here students simply fabricated details not contained in the story. The final difficulty encountered by the sub-jects. was an egocentric block to understanding the stories 143 when the content was antithetical to their own experience. Additional findings derived from the questions con-structed by students indicated that they adopted no characteristic pattern or process of interpretation. The questionnaire responses revealed that students generally understood and were able to report the reading processes they actually used. However, there was no evidence to sug-gest that a relationship existed between students' aware-ness of their interpretative process and the quality of their interpretation. It is important to note that Ward, unlike the other studies reviewed thus far, does not seek to compare the reading behavior of good and poor readers. Rather, he takes the somewhat :more limited perspective of viewing the read-ing behaviors of a supposedly typical group of adolescent readers with respect to a fairly particularized type of reading. However, his findings are illuminating and, as will be seen, are generally consistent with those of other investigators. Another study which varied the introspective-retro-spective method to approach the reading process from a some-what different viewpoint was conducted by Stemmler (48). She undertook to compare the reading behaviors of highly 144 creative and highly intelligent school students all of whom were reading above grade level. The eighteen students in the highly creative group all scored in the top fifteen percent on the five-test creativity battery of Getzels and Jackson, but not in the top fifteen percent of intelligence as measured by an unnamed standardized intelligence test. The eighteen students in the highly intelligent group scored in the same percentage ranges as the creative students except that their high score was in intelligence. The case study approach was adopted using recorded oral introspection and retrospection as students read and answered questions on a prose exerpt and a poem. A classi-fication scheme was developed and validated by experts, and the subjects' responses were analyzed in terms of this. Frequency counts for each group were made and comparisons to determine statistically significant differences between groups were conducted using the chi-square statistic. Stemmler concluded that the two groups exhibited different reading styles. She found that the reading of highly creative students was very imaginative in nature being characterized by many sensations, images, and specu-lations, and a high level of sensitivity to the nuances of meaning. Highly creative readers were given to fantasizing 145 and role-playing but doing so in a manner which enhanced their enjoyment and interpretation of what they read. They were able to interpret at different levels and from a highly personal point of view. The reading style of the highly intelligent student was characterized by an analytical approach although the nuances of meaning were often overlooked. Speculations were used to solve ambiguities presented directly in the material. The highly intelligent reader was systematic in comparing and contrasting what he read with outside objective criteria. It was this outer orientation which appeared to distinguish the highly intelligent reader from the inner-oriented highly creative one. A second conclusion was that both groups employed speculation as a major component of their reading strate-gies. Though this always involved selecting from alter-native meanings and reducing ambiguities, highly creative readers were more expansive in this activity than were highly intelligent readers. Stemmler also concluded that her findings indicated not only different interpretive styles, but also suggested different "routes" for arriving at them. For the highly intelligent group, this route lay in what Stemmler called 146 the Intellective Dimension. This Dimension is characterized by the synthesis of meaning into a generalized theme or by the extension of meaning as an example of a more universal concept. The highly creative reader's route involved the Imaginative Dimension which is characterized by a tendency to symbolize sensational responses in concrete images. A fourth conclusion reached by Stemmler was that, while the use of images, sensations, and role-playing was very important in the interpretive process of highly creative readers, these aids to interpretation were irre-levant for the highly intelligent readers. As a final comment, Stemmler noted that her study revealed the Imaginative Dimension as a new aspect to the study of the reading process. Thus, though the comprehen-sion scores of an intelligent and a creative reader may be similar, the process producing these scores may be quite different. Summary and Evaluation As was the case with factor analysis studies of comprehension, it is extremely difficult to extract defen-sible generalizations from the multitude of findings pro-vided by introspective-retrospective studies. While the procedures employed in these investigations are generally 147 alike, the subjects used vary in number and maturity, the material read differs, and each investigation is to a slight degree different in its purpose. To be sure, all investigations seek to explore the reading process, but Swain undertook to determine the influence of material of different levels of difficulty on good, average and poor readers? Piekarz seemed primarily interested in the influ-ence of the reader's emotional response on comprehension; Strang and Rogers broadened their investigation to include readers' reaction to literature in general as did Ward; Smith restricted her investigation to reading for two explicitly-stated purposes; while Stemmler was interested in the reading processes of two particular kinds of gifted readers. This leaves Jenkinson's study as the only "normal" one, a state of normalacy which is highly tenuous by virtue of its singularity. The nature of introspection and retrospection itself can cast some doubt upon the accuracy of findings resulting from the adoption of this method. In the first instance, introspective and retrospective techniques are based on the assumption that the reader can and will provide an accurate account of his mental activity while reading. At the very best, this account must be limited to reporting the conscious 148 mental activity which the reader is prepared to freely impart. The need for a high level of rapport between interviewer and interviewee is immediately apparent if this approach is to be adopted. It is also necessary that the investi-gator establish a frame of reference within which the subject of his investigation will be adequately represented. Also, the investigator must take care that he does not distort the meaning of what is reported to him when inter-preting it. Since the application of statistical controls in this method must be very limited, when used at all, the investigator is left with an essentially subjective inter-pretation of his data. Despite these limitations, some generalizations are suggested in the findings provided by these studies. The mental processes used by a reader during comprehension appear to be represented by the following characteristics: 1. Ideational Fluency: a large number of responses leading to the determination of meaning on an abstract rather than a literal level. 2. Linguistic Fluency: a general sensitivity to language and to the use of language clues in the determin-ation of meaning. 3. Manipulation: involving analysis, synthesis, anticipation, speculation, retrospection, etc., leading to 149 a wholistic rather than fragmented or distorted determination of meaning. 4. Variety and Flexibility: the use of a variety of strategies to determine meaning and flexibility in altering strategies to meet new needs. 5. Objectivity: extraneous, personal, subjective or emotional responses not allowed to interfere with the deter-mination of meaning. SUMMARY A number of early investigations of reading compre-hension were conducted during the first decades of this century. These studies are significant in that they shifted, the focus of reading research away from a preoccupation with perception and word recognition to a basic concern with the nature of comprehension. Current knowledge about the nature of reading comprehension based on experimental evidence derives from three kinds of study: statistical analyses, studies of the specificity of comprehension, and introspective-retrospective verbalization case studies. Statistical analyses of comprehension have involved subjects of various age levels drawn from generally narrow populations. The topics investigated by these studies have appeared under various titles besides comprehension, but their nature 150 appears to be basically the same. A wide variety of measuring instruments has been used, although the analysis of the resulting data has usually involved factor analysis. The factors which have been isolated vary from one to many depending on which study is examined. A similar pattern of subjects, topic investigated, and measuring instruments characterizes studies of the specificity of comprehension. These studies show that comprehension ability tends to be somewhat specific to the content material read. Introspective-retrospective verbalization studies have revealed a number of mental operations accompanying comprehension. Yet the accuracy of this method of investi-gation may be questioned. A compilation of findings from the three recent types of experimental investigation is provided below. Findings from the early investigations of comprehension have been omitted since these studies are of more value for their historical interest than for their contribution to current knowledge of comprehension. The present state of sometimes conflicting experimental knowledge relating to the nature of reading comprehension may be summarized as follows: 1. Comprehension as defined by statistical analyses: 1.1 Comprehension is a unitary mental ability 151 having no distinguishable subskills. 1.2 Comprehension is a composite of a number of subskills, the two most commonly found being interpreted as word knowledge and reasoning. 2. Comprehension as defined by studies of its specificity. 2.1 Comprehension is to a greater or lesser extent specific to the content material being read. 3. Comprehension as defined by introspective-retrospective verbalization case studies. 3.1 Comprehension is a cognitive activity involv-ing the following processes. 3.11 Ideational Fluency: a large number of responses leading to the determination of meaning on an abstract rather than literal level. 3.12 Linguistic Fluency: a general sensitiv-ity to language and to the use of language clues in the determination of meaning. 3.13 Manipulation: involving analysis, synthe-sis, anticipation, retrospection, etc. 152 leading to a holistic rather than frag-mented or distorted determination of meaning. 3.14 Variety and Flexibility: the use of a variety of strategies to determine meaning and flexibility in altering strategies to meet new needs. 3.15 Objectivity: extraneous personal, subjective, or emtoional responses not allowed to interfere with the determin-ation of meaning. REFERENCES CITED 1. Leonard M. Alshan, "A Factor Analytic Study of Items Used in the Measurement of Some Fundamental Factors of Reading Comprehension" (unpublished Doctor's dissert-ation, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1964). 2. Charles C. Anderson, "A Factorial Analysis of Reading," British Journal of Educational Psychology, XIX (November, 1949), 220-221. 3. A. Sterl Artley, "A Study of Certain Relationships Existing Between General Reading Comprehension and Reading Comprehension in a Specific Subject-Matter Area," Journal of Educational Research, XXXVII (February, 1944), 464-473. 4. Harry Bell, "Comprehension in Silent Reading," British Journal of Educational Psychology, XII (February, 1942), 47-55. 5. E. L. Black, "The Difficulties of Training College Students in Understanding What They Read," British Journal of Educational Psychology, XXIV (February, 1954), 17-31. 6. Margaret M. Conant, The Construction of a Diagnostic Reading Test. Columbia University Contributions to Education, No. 861 (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1942). 7. William H. Cooper, "Interrelationships Among General and Specialized Reading Abilities and General and Special-ized Vocabularies" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, Northwestern University, 1955). 8. Frederick B. Davis, "The Factorial Composition of Two Tests of Comprehension in Reading," Journal of Educa-tional Psychology, XXXVII (November, 1946), 481-486. 9. Frederick B. Davis, "Fundamental Factors of Compre-hension in Reading," Psychometrika, IX (September, 1944), 185-197. 153 154 10. Frederick B. Davis, "Research in Comprehension in Reading," Reading Research Quarterly, III (Summer, 1968), 499-545. 11. Frederick B. Davis, "Two New Measures of Reading Ability," Journal of Educational Psychology, XXXIII (April, 1942), 365-372. 12. Clarence Derrick, "Three Aspects of Reading Compre-hension Measured by Tests of Different Lengths," (unpub-lished Doctor's dissertation, University of Chicago, 1953) . 13. Joseph C. Dewey, "The Acquisition of Facts as a Measure of Reading Comprehension," Elementary School Journal, XXXV (January, 1935), 346-348. 14. D. D. Feder, "Comprehension Maturity Tests—A New Technique in Mental Measurement," Journal of Educational Psychology. XXXIX (November, 1938), 597-606. 15. Roma Gans, A Study of Critical Reading Comprehension in the Intermediate Grades, Columbia University Contribution to Education, No. 811 (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1940) . 16. C. T. Gray, "The Anticipation of Meaning as a Factor in Reading Ability," Elementary School Journal, XXIII (April, 1923), 616-626. 17. William S. Gray, Summary of Investigations Relating to Reading, Supplementary Educational Monographs, No. 28 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1925). 18. Paul R. Grim, "Interpretation of Data and Reading Ability in the Social Studies," Educational Research Bulletin, XIX (September, 1940), 372-374. 19. William E. Hall and F. P. Robinson, "An Analytical Approach to the Study of Reading Skills," Journal of Edu-cational Psychology, XXXVI (February, 1945), 429-442. 20. Chester W. Harris, "Measurement of Comprehension of Literature: Nature of Literary Comprehension," School Review, LVI (May, 1948), 280-289; 332-342 . 155 21. Edmund B. Huey, "On the Psychology and Physiology of Reading, II," American Journal of Psychology, XII (April, 1901), 292-313. 22. Lyman G. Hunt, "Can We Measure Specific Factors Associated With Reading Comprehension?" Journal of Educa-tional Research, LI (November, 1957), 161-172. 23. T. W. H. Irion, Comprehension Difficulties of Ninth-Grade Students in the Study of Literature, Columbia University Contributions to Education, No. 189 (New York: Teachers College, Columbia University, 1925). 24. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Selected Processes and Difficulties of Reading Comprehension" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, University of Chicago, 1957) . 25. Charles Hubband Judd and Guy T. Buswell, Silent Reading: A Study of the Various Types, Supplementary Educational Monographs, No. 23 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1922) . 26. George Katona, "On Different Forms of Learning by Reading," Journal of Educational Psychology, XXXIII (May, 1942), 335-355. 27. Rosiland S. Langsam, "A Factorial Analysis of Reading Ability," Journal of Experimental Education, X (September, 1941), 57-63. 28. Moritz Lowi, "Observations on Comprehending," American Journal of Psychology, LVI (January, 1943), 129-133. 29. Ethel Maney, "Literal and Critical Reading in Science," Journal of Experimental Education, XXVII (September, 1958), 57-64. 30. Albert J. Mazurkiewicz, "An Investigation of the Nature of Reading Comprehension of Fifth Grade Children as Evaluated by an Unaided-Recall Reading Test" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, Temple University, 1957) . 31. James W. McCallister, "Reading Difficulties in Studying Content Subjects," Elementary School Journal, XXXI (November, 1930), 191-201. 156 32. Constance McCullough, "Responses of Elementary-School Children to Common Types of Reading Comprehension Questions," Journal of Educational Research, LI (September, 1957) , 65-70. 33. Ottis McMahon, "A Study of the Ability of Fifth Grade Children to Read Various Types of Material," Peabody Journal of Education, XX .(January, 1943), 228-233. 34. Jum C. Nunnally, Psychometric Theory (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1967) . 35. R. W. Pickford, "The Tendency Towards Synthesis in Reading," British Journal of Psychology XXIV (July, 1933), 50-66. 36. Josephine Piekarz, "Getting Meaning From Reading," Elementary School Journal, 56 (March, 1956), 303-309. 37. Luella C. Pressey and S. L. Pressey, "A Critical Study of the Concept of Silent Reading Ability," Journal of Educational Psychology, XII (January, 1921), 25-31. 38. J. Richardson, "A Factorial Analysis of Reading Ability in Ten-Year-Old Primary School Children," British Journal of Educational Psychology, XX (November, 1950) , 200-201. 39. B. T. Ritter and W. T. Lofland, "The Relation Between Reading Ability as Measured by Certain Standardized Tests and the Ability Required in the Interpretation of Printed Matter Involving Reason," Elementary School Journal, XXIV (March, 1924), 529-546. 40. Francis P. Robinson and Prudence Hall, "Studies of Higher-Level Reading Abilities," Journal of Educational Psychology, XXXII (April, 1941), 241-252. 41. H. Alan Robinson, "Reading Skills Employed in Solving Social Studies Problems," Reading Teacher, XVIII (January, 1965), 263-269. 42. J. Harlan Shores and J. L. Saupe, "Reading for Problem Solving in Science," Journal of Educational Psychology, XLIV (March, 1953), 149-158. 157 43. J. Harlan Shores, "Skills Related to the Ability to Read History and Science," Journal of Educational Research, XXXVI (April, 1943), 584-593. 44. Helen K. Smith "The Response of Good and Poor Readers When Asked to Read for Different Purposes," Reading Research Quarterly, III (Fall, 1967), 53-83. 45. E. Elona Sochor, "Literal and Critical Reading in Social Studies," Journal of Experimental Education, XXVII (September, 1958), 49-56. 46. George D. Spache, "Psychological Explanations of Reading," The Reading Teacher's Reader, ed. Oscar S. Causey (New York: The Ronald Press, 1958), pp. 9-14. 47. James R. Squire, The Responses of Adolescents While Reading Four Short Stories (Champaign, Illinois: National Council of Teachers of English, 1964). 48. Anne 0. Stemmler, "Reading of Highly Creative Versus Highly Intelligent Secondary Students," Reading and Realism, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XIII, Part I (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 821-831. 49. Ruth Strang, "Exploration of the Reading Process," Reading Research Quarterly, II (Spring, 1967), 33-45. 50. Ruth Strang and Charlotte Rogers, "How Do Students Read a Short Story?" English Journal, LIV (December, 1965), 819-823, 829. 51. Samuel P. Sutherland, "A Factor Analytic Study of Tests Designed to Measure Reading Ability" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, University of Southern California, 1966) . 52. Emeliza Swain, "Conscious Thought Processes Used in the Interpretation of Reading Materials" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, University of Chicago, 1953) . 53. Esther J. Swenson, "A Study of the Relationships Among Various Types of Reading Scores on General and Science Materials," Journal of Educational Research, XXXVI, (October, 1942), 81-90. 158 54. E. L. Thorndike, "The Psychology of Thinking in the Case of Reading," Psychological Review, XXIV (September, 1917), 220-234. 55. E. L. Thorndike, "Reading as Reasoning: A Study of Mistakes in Paragraph Reading," Journal of Educational Psychology, VII (June, 1917), 323-332. 56. E. L. Thorndike, "The Understanding of Sentences," Elementary School Journal, XVIII (September, 1917), 98-114. 57. L. L. Thurstone, "A Note on a Reanalysis of Davis' Reading Tests," Psychometrika, XI (September, 1946), 185-188. 58. Arthur E. Traxler, "A Study of the Van Wagenen-Dvorak Diagnostic Examination of Silent Reading Abilities," Educational Records Bulletin, XXXI (January, 1941), 33-41. 59. Ralph W. Tyler, "Measuring the Ability to Infer," Educational Research Bulletin, IX (November, 1930), 475-480. 60. Philip E. Vernon, "The Determinants of Reading Comprehension," Educational and Psychological Measurement, XXII (Winter, 1962), 269-286. 61. Jerry Ring Ward, "A Study of the Interpretive Processes Employed by Selected Adolescent Readers of Three Short Stories" (unpublished Doctor's dissertation, Ohio State University, 1968). Chapter 4 VERBAL DEFINITIONS OF READING COMPREHENSION The purpose of this chapter is to describe and assess verbal definitions of reading comprehension. These definitions are primarily based upon theoretical assump-tions rather than experimental evidence. The chapter is divided into four sections. The first section concerns skills-based definitions of comprehension including hierarchial and non-hierarchial organizations. Also in-cluded in this section are definitions of critical and creative reading and descriptions of their associated skills. The section is concluded with an assessment of skills-based definitions of comprehension. The second section of the chapter is devoted to cognitive-based de-finitions of comprehension. Theoretical statements concern-ing the cognitive operations involved in comprehension are reviewed. An overall assessment of verbal definitions of reading comprehension comprises the third section of the chapter while the final section includes a summary. 159 160 SKILLS-BASED DEFINITIONS OF COMPREHENSION By far the most common approach to defining com-prehension verbally has been through the description of the skills involved. For the most part, these definitions either implicitly or explicitly embody a hierarchical \ organization of abilities. An example of this approach can be seen in Russell and Fea's definition: Comprehension requires knowledge not only of the meaning of words but of their relationships in sentences, paragraphs, and longer passages. It involves understanding of the intent of the author and may go beyond literal recorded facts to hidden meanings or implications. (52:883) In a similar manner, Betts contends that "depth of compre-hension is a matter of degree": Reading of the predominantly assimilative type emphasizes the identification and recall of facts. Reading of the predominantly critical type emphasizes the higher thought processes having to do with selection-rejection of ideas, the relationship between ideas and the organization of ideas. (4:11) More recently, Carroll has suggested a qualitative distinc-tion between those skills which he places under the rubric "comprehension" and those which he considers to be outcomes of "inference." He uses the term "comprehension" to refer to the literal understanding of what is read and to involve the following skills: "vocabulary knowledge, ability to 161 apprehend grammatical relations, and the ability to integrate the lexical and grammatical intonation in a text to perceive the meaning." On the other hand, by "inference," Carroll refers to an understanding of meanings which are not explicitly stated, and involving these skills: "a general ability to reason with information that is presented, and the ability to appreciate an author's purpose, attitude, tone, and mood" (7) . Hierarchical Definitions of Comprehension More highly structured hierarchical organizations of comprehension skills are common in the literature. A' rather extensive survey of them will be given here in order to assess the limits which authorities have set for compre-hension when it is defined in these terms. Many authorities arrange comprehension skills into three-part hierarchies. Typical of this approach is Piekarz's analysis. Under the heading "literal comprehen-sion," she includes "the awareness or recognition of ex-plicitly stated facts." "Interpretation" is used to refer to "those menaings which are implied in the writing and which must be inferred by the reader" while "the evaluative category" involves "the personal reaction of the reader to the material he reads" (45:136-7). Dale also outlines 162 comprehension skills in three levels. He describes the first level as the "simple, uncritical reproduction" of what is read, the second level as "drawing inferences from what is read" involving critical thinking and analysis, and a third level as embodying the "evaluation and application of what is read" (16:1). Cutter also proposes three levels of comprehension made up of "reading the lines" or what was said, "reading between the lines" or what was meant, and "reading beyond the lines" or what generalizations or evaluations can be made" (15:64-7). Huus also explains comprehension in terms of three levels. She characterizes "literal" comprehension as when "the reader grasps the work as a whole and knows 'what the book says,'" "interpretation" as "'what the author really means' regardless of what he says," and "assimilation" as the "recognition of a personal connection, of accepting into one's apperceptive mass or background the idea freshly gained from reading" (25). A further three-part analysis of com-prehension skills is suggested by Joll: First, there is the level of literal reading where the student gets full and accurate meaning from the lines. Second, there is that of critical reading which involves the ability to read carefully and to react intelligently to the presentation of the author. Third, there is that of reading interpretively which not only involves the previous two _levels but requires a sen-sitiveness and involvement on the part of the reader. (31:115) 163 More extensive skills analyses of comprehension have been proposed by other authorities in the field. Letton outlines a hierarchy of questioning categories which illu-strate skills which she feels are included in five levels of comprehension: A Level I question requires a factual response which is clearly stated in the selection read. A Level II question requires an answer in which the reader must make some recognition of the author1s material. A Level III question requires an answer in which the reader must make inferences within a framework relevant to ideas which are not directly stated. A Level IV question requires an answer in which the reader shows a knowledge of figurative, idiomatic, or picturesque language, and the connotations or denota-tions of words, if he is to interpret the selection accurately. A Level V question requires an answer in which the reader must evaluate ideas in the selection, weighing them against those of another author or authors, or comparing them with those of the reader himself. (41:79-80) Andresen and Robinson postulate that "reading comprehension begins with an understanding of the author's meaning and ends with an intelligent reaction by the reader to the author's ideas." They include within this spectrum five levels which can be summarized as follows: Literal Level: The reader recognizes and understands the author's stated ideas. Interpretative Level: The-reader understands the author's implied ideas. Critical Level: The reader passes judgment on the author's ideas. 164 Assimilative Level.: The reader adds to the author's thinking with thoughts from his own experiences and imagination. Creative Level: The reader's imagination works on the ideas derived from reading and new ideas emerge. Andresen and Robinson maintain that each of these levels is "additive": "A higher level cannot be achieved without the successful performance of the preceding lower levels" (1:102-103). Smith suggests "a potential hierarchy" of compre-hension skills. At the literal level, Smith includes the following: understanding relevant details and facts; securing the main idea or central thought; following directions; recognizing sequence of time, place, events, or steps; and identifying stated conclusions. Reading for implied meanings and drawing inferences involve: deter-mining characterization and setting; sensing relationships among events and characters, cause and effect; anticipating outcomes; determining the author's purpose by identifying the tone, mood, and intent of the passage; making compari-sons and contrasts; and drawing conclusions and making generalizations. Smith also emphasizes that the reader must follow the logic of an argument, filling in gaps left by the author but being certain that he is securing the author's ideas and not reflections of his own (53:51-3). 165 In a recent article, Smith develops a taxonomic "hierarchy of reading-for-meaning skills." The first of these Smith calls "literal comprehension" and involves "getting the primary direct literal meaning of a word, idea, or sentence in context." The second category, "interpretation," is concerned with "supplying meanings not directly stated in the text," while the third category, "critical reading," involves the reader in evaluating and passing personal judgment on "the quality, the value, the accuracy, and the truthfulness of what is read." Finally, Smith identifies "creative reading" in which the reader "goes out on his own beyond the author's text to seek out or express new ideas, to gain additional insights, to find the answer to a question or the solution to a life-like problem" (54:254-58). Non-Hierarchial Definitions of Comprehension Despite the frequent definitions of comprehension in terms of skills hierarchies, it is important to note that not all authorities accept the legitimacy of this approach. Sochor, after an extensive review of the liter-ature, concludes that "proposed hierarchies...are primarily the product of logical thinking rather than research" (56:52-54). The manner in which this "logical thinking" 166 has come to influence educators is suggested by McCullough: We harbour the misconception that one bit must precede another. This is the case because, after our initial discoveries, we let logic obscure the nature of language and learning and rule our decisions. (43:20) Besides Sochor and McCullough, Howards (23), Heilman (22) and Bliesmer (5) also have questioned the use of unvali-dated skills hierarchies to explain comprehension accurately. Sochor provides her own explanation of why comprehen-sion may not be legitimately viewed in hierarchical terms. The thinking processes necessary to understand what one author says (literal reading) may be far more complex than the evaluation of what another author states (critical reading). If after difficult literal interpretation the reader must proceed to what is known as critical reading, the situation becomes even more complex.... The differentiation can be made on the basis of the reader's purpose for reading, ie., his need to understand what is stated (literal reading) as contrasted with his need to deal with the facts in some way (critical reading). (56:52) It is possible that Sochor is confusing complexity with difficulty in her explanation. But in emphasizing the role of the reader's purpose, she is in general agreement with Davis, who, in providing a "functional definition" of com-prehension, has made a similar point. He maintains that comprehension may be described as a "weighted composite" of the following five skills: 167 Skills in answering questions that are explicitly answered in a-passage . Skill in weaving together ideas in a passage, in group-ing its central thought, and in answering questions that are not explicitly answered in it. Skill in following the structure of a passage. Skill in drawing inferences about the content of a passage and about the author's purpose, intent, and point of view. Skill in recognizing the literary devices used by an author and in identifying the tone and mood of a passage. (17:541) Rather than envisioning these skills operating within an hierarchical structure, Davis describes their functioning in terms of the "weights" attached to different skills de-pending upon the type of material read and the reader's purpose and maturity. Both Sochor and Davis contend, therefore, that it is the nature of the particular material read and the reader's specific purpose for reading that determine the skills used to comprehend, and the relative importance of these skills. In the view of these author-ities, a rigid hierarchy of comprehension skills is unten-able . Critical Reading Whether or not hierarchies are recognized, a frequently encountered element in skills analyses of compre-hension is "critical reading" and the skills associated with it. Besides being discussed within the context of 168 comprehension as a whole, however, critical reading has been isolated for special attention by a number of author-ities. The position which these authorities generally ascribe to critical reading has been described by Clymer as "the zenith of all comprehension skills" (9:41), and by Covell as one of the "highest planes" of comprehension (13:616). Authorities seem to be in general agreement that critical reading involves evaluative thinking against the background of the reader * s own experience. Robinson defines critical reading as "judgment of the veracity, validity, and worth of what is read, based on sound criteria or standards developed through previous exper-iences" (48:3). Robinson's formulation is reflected in Huus' definition: "Critical reading requires the evalu-ation of the material, comparing it with known standards and norms, and concluding or acting on the judgment" (24:115). Artley describes critical reading as "a process of judging with severity" involving "an active process of reflection with care on the ideas expressed, of making a rigidly exacting analysis and as a result, arriving at a valid conclusion" (2:122) . Critical readers have been characteri-zed by Piekarz as those who "project the literal meanings 169 against their own backgrounds of experience, reasoning with and evaluating the stated facts and implied ideas" (45:138). Karlin states that to be critical in reading means "to be discriminating or evaluative" involving "a kind of judgment based on what is known or implied" (33:74). The nature of critical reading has been described more fully by setting out the specific skills involved. Robinson follows her definition of critical reading with an outline of six characteristics of the critical reader: 1. An inquiring attitude. 2. A background to supply knowledge about the topic. 3. The ability to suspend judgment until the writer's message is fully sectored. 4. The ability to follow the organization or logic of the presentation, recognizing what is included and what is omitted. 5. Awareness of the author's qualifications and intent. 6. Recognition of the publisher's commitments. (48:6) Huus relates three kinds of skills to critical reading. In the first instance, critical reading refers to seeing the author's purpose and evaluating his competence. Secondly, the reader focuses on the content of a selection; "its adequacy or completeness, its accuracy and recency, its inherent logic and consistency, and its suitability to the purpose at hand." Finally, according to Huus, the critical reader makes reference to the style in which the selection is written (24:115-16) . 170 In an earlier attempt to delineate the skills sub-sumed under the term critical reading, Kay lists "the ability to make comparisons of the works of authors on the same subjects, to evaluate the authenticity of material, to discover inaccuracies and omissions in writer's works, [and] to find the writer's purpose" (34:383). De Boer's statement of critical reading skills in the same year compares with Kay's: Critical reading involves the search for relevant materials, the evaluation of data, the identification and comparison of sources, and the synthesis of these findings. It involves the capacity for suspended judgment and the interpretation of the writer's motive. (18:251) More recently, numerous lists of critical reading skills have been formulated. A representative three will be outlined here. In her insightful analysis of basal readers, Williams identified seven abilities associated with critical reading. These included comparing and con-trasting, drawing conclusions, evaluating conclusions, evaluating relevancy and adequacy of material, making in-ferences, predicting the outcome of events, and arriving at generalizations (63:327) . Cooper includes under critical reading the ability to recognize common assumptions, to recognize common fallacies in thinking, to distinguish be-tween connotative and denotative meanings of words, to 171 evaluate the adequacy of general statements, and to evaluate the dependability of data and the competence of authorities (12) . Massey states that the critical reader must perform the following tasks: (1) perceive relationships between words, percepts, and concepts; (2) appraise the author's statements by ascertaining their relevancy to his problems, their auth-enticity, their objectivity, their agreement or dis-agreement with statements of other authors or speakers, and their truth or fancifulness; (3) draw inferences from the author's implications; and (4) reserve con-clusions until all obtainable facts cire perceived. (42:104) Creative Reading A third rubric sometimes appearing as a subcategory under comprehension and often appearing alone is "creative reading." One approach to creative reading as a separate category is to treat it as synonomous with critical reading. Benson takes this approach in stating that "critical or creative reading means forming judgments and opinions, in-terpreting feelings, making comparisons and inferences and reflecting on what has been read" (3:150) . Most authorities, however, see creative reading as a separate entity from critical reading. Russell, for example, employs the term "to signify behavior which goes beyond word identification or understanding of the literal meaning to the reader's interpretation of the printed materials. Such reading may 172 be productive of new ideas, critical of old ones, or appreciative of the art of literature" (51:36). Torrance characterizes the creative reader in a manner similar to Russell: The creative reader sensitizes himself to problems, gaps in knowledge, missing elements, something in-correct. This calls for the formation of new relation-ships and combinations, synthesizing relatively un-related elements into a coherent whole, redefining or transforming certain elements to discover new uses, and building onto what is known. (60:63) McCullough defines creative reading as the type in which "the reader acts upon material intellectually and emotionally and thereby derives from the experience more than the author might have originally intended." She elaborates her definition by stating that creative reading involves such skills as seeing cause and effect relationships, making - inferences, and passing judgments (44) . Another explana-tion of creative reading supported by a description of associated skills is provided by Huus. She defines creative reading as being "concerned with the production of new ideas, the development of new insights, fresh approaches, and original constructs." The skills Huus finds involved in creative reading include the ability to see structural re-lationships within a selection, cause and effect relation-ships, juxtaposed events and actions, and comparisons of 173 time and space, place and sequency (24:116-17). However, despite McCullough's and Huss' inclusion of these skills under their definitions of creative reading, it has been seen that seemingly similar skills have been placed by other authorities under their definitions of comprehension and creative reading. Assessment of Skills-Based Definitions It becomes apparent that the skills approach to defining comprehension is confused. Not only do semantic difficulties arise when individual skills are described and differentiated from others, but when the "higher" comprehension skills are discussed, they are often placed under the more specialized headings of critical or creative reading rather than general comprehension. The semantic imprecision within different skills-based definitions of comprehension is revealed by an examination of the descrip-tions of different skills. For example, Joll includes at the second level of his analysis of comprehension "critical reading" which he regards as "the ability to read carefully and to react intelligently to the presentation of the author" (31:115). On the other hand, Andresen and Robinson define the "critical level" of their skills hierarchy as that where "the reader passes judgment on the author's ideas" 174 (1:103) . It would seem that both definitions include some-thing more than literal understanding, but it is unclear to what extent more precise similarity exists. This example serves to illustrate the lack of sharp definition which is often encountered in individual skills hierarchies, and, consequently, the near impossibility of making more than over-generalized comparisons among apparently similar skills presented in different hierarchies. When critical and creative reading are defined and discussed as separate entities from comprehension, the definition of each term becomes hopelessly blurred. To follow upon the example cited above illustrating the semantic imprecision within hierarchies of comprehension, it is revealing to note that Cooper, for example, includes under the general heading of "critical reading" the ability "to evaluate the adequacy of general statements" (12:87). This ability appears to be closely allied to the two skills included by Joll (31:115) and Andresen and Robinson (1:103) in their respective definitions of comprehension. And yet, in giving a definition of creative reading, McCullough in-cludes the skill of "passing judgments" (44), a skill seem-ingly very similar to those delineated by Joll, Andresen and Robinson, and Cooper. Hence, it would seem that, given 175 the vagueness contained within the different definitions of each skill, what appears to be approximately the same skill is included by different authorities under the head-ings of comprehension, critical reading and creative reading. Thus, not only is there semantic imprecision when comparing comprehension skills, determined by different authorities, but there is also confusion as to whether these skills should be included under the general categories of compre-hension, critical reading, or creative reading. A further complication in the skills approach to comprehension is the question of when comprehension stops. A perusal of the definitions of comprehension, critical, and creative reading outlined above soon reveals that some authorities include under these headings abilities which are not applied directly to the immediate reading task. For example, most definitions of creative reading seem to imply an emotional and creative response by the reader. These characteristics of creative reading are perhaps most clearly seen in McCullough's definition (44). Yet, whether these responses are involved in understanding the meaning of what is read, or whether they depend on such an under-standing at all are questions which remain unanswered. It would seem possible for a reader to respond in an emotional 176 manner to something read but completely misunderstood. Similarly, some creative response might also result from a misianderstanding of the text. Furthermore, to combine the emotional response of the reader with a definition of how he understands what is read would appear to confuse what Bloom and his colleagues have designated as the cogni-tive and affective domains (6:7). Another extension of skills beyond those which one might expect to find under comprehension occurs with respect to critical reading. Here, for example, Robinson includes "the awareness of the author's qualifications" (48:6). Also, under her discussion of critical reading, Kay places "the ability to make comparisons of the works of authors on the same subjects" (34:383). To be sure, previous knowledge of the author and the subject enhances the reader's understanding of what he reads in that this know-ledge provides a conceptual framework within which reading can take place. However, an evaluation of the competence cf an author by searching for information about him after reading is complete, and an assessment of the writing by later comparing it with other writing on the same topic both carry the reader beyond the act of reading and perhaps can more accurately be classified as study skills rather 177 than comprehension skills. For this reason, it can be maintained that comprehension is getting meaning from what is read and does not, in a strict sense, include ancillary activities taking place after reading has been completed which may enhance meaning once it has been achieved. Recently, Gephart has distinguished between thinking during reading and thinking about what has been read in the following manner: If the intellectual activity involved in the analysis, interpretation, synthesis, and evaluation of a printed or written message is concurrent with the physiological reading activity, that mental activity is included as an aspect of reading. If the evalu-ation occurs through an oral discussion or mental consideration after the material to be read is placed aside, it is not considered reading. (20:116) Hence, it would seem that the critical consideration in determining whether or not the reader's activities fall within a definition of comprehension is whether or not these activities take place concurrently with the reading act. If they do, then they may be deemed aspects of comprehension; if they do not, they must be considered extraneous to the reading process. This discussion serves to illustrate the limitations of the skills approach in achieving an understanding of reading comprehension. While the teaching of specific com-prehension skills may be a viable method of developing 178 children's understanding of what they read, to seek a clear understanding of the nature of comprehension via this method would seem to result in only limited success. General dissatisfaction with present conceptions of com-prehension reached through skills analysis is apparent in the opinion of reading experts. Typical of this sentiment is Staiger's view: Comprehension skills can similarly be analyzed, tabulated and described, and then listed and dis-sected. Yet we still have difficulty in knowing what comprehension is because of the complex ways in which it operates. (57:143-49) More recently, Kerfoot (51), Jenkinson (27), and Smith (54) have expressed similar views. And when the term "critical reading" is considered, authorities are even less satisfied with present definitions. Huus, for example, writes: The need for critical reading in our contemporary culture has not been questioned. But there has been little agreement concerning the attributes of critical reading, and the terra has been confused with vague descriptions of creative and interpretive reading. (26:146) Like opinions have been voiced by Sochor (56), Williams (63), and King (36:2). These authorities would all seem to agree with Kingston's recent statement that "at present the field of reading seems to be a pot pourri of poorly delin-eated behaviors and undefined terms" (38:133). 179 COGNITIVE-BASED DEFINITIONS OF COMPREHENSION While many authorities have sought to explain comprehension in terms of the skills employed for under-standing, a lesser number have suggested explanations of the mental activity which accompanies and produces this understanding. Too often it would seem that comprehension skills have been delineated with little regard for the mental activity which they suggest. An awareness of this shortcoming appears to underlie Raygor's comment: It seems clear that one of the primary sources of confusion in reading is the tendency to substitute names of things for events. The whole notion of thought units and word meanings and main ideas, as things rather than events, is a good example of the explanatory fictions which provide us ways of talking about the behavior without really describing it. (47:36) Among those who emphasize the mental activity in-volved in comprehension is Stauffer. He has recently dis-cussed reading in terms of cognitive functioning and, in doing so, has contended that "reading is a complex form of mental activity akin to thinking" (58:5). Similar positions have been taken by Sochor (55), Strang (59), Pratt (46), Jenkinson (29) and Cramer (14). Thinking is most often linked with comprehension when the higher levels of compre-hension, including critical reading, are examined. Typical 180 of this point of view is Russell who states that "critical reading does not exist in a vacuum by itself but can be thought of best as closely related to critical thinking" (51:579). Opinions parallel to Russell's have been ex-pressed by Karlin (32), Robinson (48), and Sochor (56). Cognitive-Based Definitions of Comprehension Once comprehension is approached from the point of view of the mental activity involved, it comes to be viewed as a dynamic process—or "event", to use Raygor's (47:36) term—rather than a static construct of skills. Kingston's explanation provides clarification on this point: Traditionally the psychologist speaks of "process" in contrast with "structure". A process involves a continuous series of successive but independent changes or events. Process, then, implies some sort of transformation taking place in time and obviously represents something that is dynamic rather than static. (39:6) It is this dynamic cognitive aspect of reading comprehension that some authorities have sought to explain. One approach to understanding the cognitive activity associated with comprehension is to discuss it in terms of the communication of meaning. Typical of this position is Weaver who maintains that meaning is communicated "as the coding of the message approaches relevant coded structures within the organism." He describes the processing of a 181 communication by a reader as follows: Meaning, as I think of the term, is the result of the application of prior codings of the organism to the present decoding task. The prior codings of the organism do not seem entirely dependent on input sources external to the organism. That is, the inter-nal system seems to be productive of new input to the system. External inputs into the system are inter-preted by previous external inputs plus internal re-organizations which have occurred. (62:71-2) A somewhat similar position is taken by Kress who, like Weaver, premises his explanation of comprehension on the communication of meaning between writer and reader: To arrive at an understanding of what another person has put into print demands that one react to the symbols in which his ideas have been represented by relating them to meanings which already have developed out of one's previous perceptual-conceptual activities. To the degree that the past experiences of the author (the encoder) and the reader (the decoder) have resulted in commonality of meaning, communication between them is possible. Comprehension, therefore, is dependent on the relationship between the percept-ual-conceptual resevoirs of both the author and the reader. (40:32) Another approach to the process of comprehension is to consider it in terms of what Wark calls "internal verbal behavior" which he contends is "nothing more than internal talking." He describes comprehension essentially as a two-stage process of language processing: A reader sees an external stimulus of some sort. He produces some subvocal, covert response. Then the same responses produce stimuli for further covert, internal responding. It is this "search level response", 182 controlled in part by what the reader sees and in part by memory, long-range association, contrast and so on that we call "comprehension". (61:192) Carroll explains the process of comprehension in a similar manner by contending that it "occurs in response to some kind of internal representation, however abbreviated or fragmentary, of a spoken message." He goes on to elaborate by stating that "the reader does not respond solely to visual symbols; he also responds to some sort of reconstru-ction of a spoken message which he derives from the written message" (8:337-38). Assessment of Cognitive-Based Definitions Each of the definitions outlined here varies to some degree from the others, and all offer somewhat tentative explanations. It is not surprising that these differences and vagaries exist since each explanation is presented within the context of the thinking process. And, in this regard, the lack of a generally accepted and validated concept of thinking has been recognized by a number of authorities in-cluding Durrell and Chambers (19) and Russell (51) . For this reason, Kingston condemns those who seek to understand comprehension by comparing it with thinking: Rather than clarifying our understanding of the reading process, we have confused the issue by adding an equally complex and abstract term to further compli-cate the problem. (37:102) 183 More recently, both Robinson (49) and Clymer (10:11) have expressed similar views. Jenkinson (30:60) has gone one step further and asked the question: To what extent are thinking and comprehension synonymous, and, if they differ, how do they differ? It would seem that an understanding of the mental processes involved in comprehension is con-tingent on a clear understanding of cognition in general, and that this latter understanding is lacking. Russell explains the lack of a satisfactory defin-ition of thinking in terms of trends in experimental research: American psychologists in general have been wary of studies of mental life. We have careful laboratory investigations of conditioning eye-blink and elegant procedures for recording the maze-running ability of rats, but we have often shied away from the study of the complex intellectual life of children and adults. (51:370) In a similar vein, Kingston decries "the ascendency which behaviorism has held in American psychology during the present century, and the reluctance of the behavioral psychologist to deal with covert behavior" (39:425). Weaver, in bis discussion of the psychology of reading, describes the difficulties encountered in exploring covert mental behaviors. He refers to the psychologist's use of the "black box" analogue to provide a basis for the understanding of 184 cognition during reading. Weaver points out that the psychologist, by using this device to explain mental operations, "is in contact with the covert only by inferences he is able to draw from the overt " (62:69-72) . Addi-tional difficulties exist since, as Jenkinson has observed, measuring instruments appropriate to inferring cognitive activity from overt behavioral responses are lacking. Jenkinson further notes that even if such instruments were readily available, agreement is lacking regarding which thinking processes should be measured in order to study thinking while reading (28:549-51). Despite these difficulties, the need for more defin-itive explanations of covert psychological processes in reading is not questioned. The inadequacy of the stimulus-response model has been clearly enunciated by Guilford: The prevailing model of behavior has been that of stimulus-response associations.... Such a model has worked very well in instruction such as teaching the numerical operations. But even there, some added comprehension of the principles involved would be very desirable. Comprehension of principles is a matter of cognition and takes us at once beyond the stimulus-response model. (21:178) It would seem that fruitful theoretical speculation regarding the cognitive operations involved in reading comprehension is dependent upon an integrated program of experimental research. This point will be dealt with in greater detail 185 in the next chapter. ASSESSMENT OF VERBAL DEFINITIONS OF COMPREHENSION This discussion of verbal definitions of reading comprehension has revealed a general lack of specificity. When comprehension has been approached by means of the skills employed by the reader, hierarchical organizations of these skills usually result. But these hierarchies are built on the basis of logical thinking rather than empirical data. Hence their organization and even the existence of the skills they organize may be questioned. Further confusion is generated by the semantic imprecision encountered when individual skills are described and when comparisons among different skills in different hierarchies are attempted. This confusion is compounded by the question of whether skills should be subsumed under the heading "comprehension," "critical reading," or "creative reading." A related complication appears when the issue of the con-ceptual boundaries for a discussion of comprehension is encountered. More particularly, should such matters as the reader's emotional response and his awareness of the author's qualifications be of legitimate concern in an explanation of comprehension? 186 Problems involved in describing the cognitive activity associated with comprehension fundamentally rest on the question of what constitutes thinking. Since a satisfactory description of thinking does not yet exist, the more particular question of what kinds of cognitive activity are mobilized during reading comprehension must remain unanswered. Basic to the whole matter of cognitive functioning is the problem of exploring covert activity. Not only do cognitive behaviors remain a relative mystery, but instruments by which they may be inferred from overt behavior are generally lacking. SUMMARY Verbal definitions of reading comprehension are basically of two types. The first type describes compre-hension in terms of the various skills which are postulated as necessary to understand what is read. Descriptions of this kind are usually presented in an hierarchical organi-zation, although some authorities question this arrangement. Included with skills-based definitions of comprehension are descriptions of critical and creative reading and their associated skills. The second type of verbal definition is founded upon descriptions of the cognitive operations 187 involved in reading comprehension. This type of description rests upon knowledge of cognition in general. Both skills-based and cognitive-based definitions of comprehension are characterized by a general lack of specificity. Briefly, the definitions of comprehension discussed in this chapter may be summarized as follows: 1. Skills-based definitions of comprehension. 1.1 Comprehension involves a number of separate skills which are arranged hierarchically. 1.2 Comprehension involves a number of separate skills which are not arranged hierarchically. 1.3 Critical and creative reading constitute high-level comprehension and involve separate skills which are distinguishable from those associated with low-level comprehension. 2. Cognitive-based definitions of comprehension. 1.1 Comprehension is a cognitive process involving a variety of mental operations which may be described in a number of ways. It would seem that the most consistent basis for distinguishing between the two basic types of verbal definition revealed in this summary is the difference between overt and covert behavior. The skills-based descriptions are 188 concerned with the overt behaviors performed by a reader in order to understand what is read. These behaviors are observable and measurable and may be used to draw infer-ences regarding the mental activity in progress. On the other hand, the cognitive-based definitions are concerned with describing the covert mental operations which result in comprehension. These operations are not observable and are extremely difficult to measure. Logic would seem to indicate that overt skills are the outcome of covert cognitive activity, but the exact relationship between these two facets of comprehension remains unclear. REFERENCES CITED 1. Oliver Andresen and H. Alan Robinson, "Developing Competence in Reading Comprehension," Reading Instruction; An International Forum, ed. Marion D. Jenkinson, Proceedings of the First World Conference on Reading (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1966), pp. 99-108. 2. A. Sterl Artley, "Critical Reading in the Content Areas," Elementary English, XXXVI (February, 1959), 122-30. 3. Josephine T. Benson, "Creative Reading at All Grade Levels," Reading in Relation to the Mass Media, ed. Donald L. Cleland, Report of the Fourteenth Annual Confer-ence and Course on Reading (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1958), pp. 145-150. 4. E. A. Betts, "Guidance in the Critical Interpreta-tion of Language," Elementary English, XXVII (January, 1950, 9-18. 5. Emery P. Bliesmer, "Sequence of Reading Skills in Reading: Is there Really One?" Current Issues in Reading, ed. Nila Banton Smith, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XIII, Part II (Newark, Dela-ware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 125-133. 6. Benjamin S. Bloom and others. Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: Handbook I: Cognitive Domain, (New York: David McKay, 1956) . 7. John B. Carroll, "From Comprehension to Inference," Claremont Reading Conference, Thirty-Third Yearbook (Claremont, California: Claremont Reading Conference, 1969) , pp. 39-44. 8. John B. Carroll, "The Analysis of Reading Instruction: Perspectives from Psychology and Linguistics," Theories of Learning, Sixty-Third Yearbook of the Society for the Study of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964), pp. 336-353. 189 190 9. Theodore L. Clymer, "Implications of Research on Critical Reading and Thinking," Reading and Thinking, ed. Donald L. Cleland, Report on the Seventeenth Conference and Course on Reading (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1961), pp. 41-45. 10. Theodore Clymer, "What is 'Reading'?" Innovation and Change in Reading Instruction. Sixty-Seventh Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1968), pp. 7-29. 11. Marvin L. Cohn, "Structured Comprehension," The Reading Teacher. XXII (February, 1969), 440-444. 12. David Cooper, "Concepts from Semantics as Avenues to Reading Improvement," English Journal, LIII (February, 1964), 85-90. 13. Harold M. Covell, "Applying Research Findings in Comprehension to Classroom Practice (Secondary)," Forging Ahead in Reading, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Read-ing Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XII, Part I (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1968), pp. 615-620. 14. Roland L. Cramer, "Setting Purposes and Making Predictions: Essentials to Critical Reading," Journal of Reading, XIII (January, 1970), 259-62. 15. Virginia Cutter, "And Beyond the Lines," Vistas in Reading, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XI, Part I (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1967), pp. 64-68. 16. Edgar Dale, "The Critical Reader," The News Letter, XXX (January, 1965), 1-4. 17. Frederick B. Davis, "The Teaching of Comprehension in the Secondary School," Education, LXXVI (May, 1956), 541-44. 18. John DeBoer, "Teaching Critical Reading," Elementary English Review, XXIII (October, 1946), 251-54. 191 19. D. F. Durrell and J. R. Chambers, "Research in Thinking Abilities Related to Reading," The Reading Teacher, XII (December, 1958), 89-91. 20. William J. Gephart, Application of the Convergence Technique to Basic Studies of the Reading Process (Blooming-ton, Indiana: Phi Delta Kappa, 1970) . 21. J. P. Guilford, "Frontiers in Thinking that Teachers Should Know About," The Reading Teacher, XIII (February, 1960), 176-82. 22. Arthur W. Heilman, "Sequence of Reading Skills in Reading: Is There Really One?" Current Issues in Reading, ed. Nila Banton Smith, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XIII, Part II (Newark, Dela-ware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 123-4. 23. Melvin Howards, "The Conditions for Critical Reading," Fusing Reading Skills and Content, eds. H. Alan Robinson and Ellen Lamar Thomas (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 171-75. 24. Helen Huus, "Critical and Creative Reading," Reading and Inquiry, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. X (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1965), pp. 115-117. 25. Helen Huus, "Critical Aspects of Comprehension," (paper read at the National Conference of Teachers of English Conference, 1967, Honolulu). 26. Helen Huus, "Innovation In Reading Instruction At Higher Levels," Innovation and Change in Reading Instruction, Sixty-Seventh Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education, Part II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1969), pp. 126-58. 27. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Comprehension and Some Lin-guistic Fallacies," New Frontiers in College-Adult Reading. Fifteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference, 1966), pp. 180-87. 192 28. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Cognitive Processes in Reading: Implications for Further Research and Classroom Practice," Reading and Realism, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XIII, Part I (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 545-54. 29. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Reading—Developing the Mind," Changing Concepts of Reading Instruction, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. VI (New York: Scholastic Magazines, 1961), pp. 170-73. 30. Marion D. Jenkinson, "Sources of Knowledge for Theories of Reading," Language and Reading: An Inter-disciplinary Approach, ed. Doris V. Gunderson (Washington, D. C.: Center for Applied Linguistics, 1970), pp. 55-71. 31. Leonard W. Joll, "Three Important Levels of Comprehension," Forging Ahead in Reading, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XII, Part I (Newark, Delaware: Inter-national Reading Association, 1967), pp. 115-118. 32. Robert Karlin, "Critical Reading is Critical Thinking," Education, LXXXIV (February, 1964), 334-38. 33. Robert Karlin, "Sequence in Thoughtful and Critical Reaction to What is Read," Sequential Development of Reading Abilities, ed. Helen M. Robinson, Supplementary Educational Monographs, No. 90 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, I960), pp. 74-9. 34. Sylvia C. Kay, "Critical Reading: Its Importance and Development," English Journal, XXXV (September, 1946), 380-85. 35. James F. Kerfoot, "Problems and Research Consider-ations in Reading Comprehension," The Reading Teacher, XVIII (January, 1965), 250-56. 36. Martha L. King, Bernice D. Ellinger, and Willavene Wolfe (eds.). Critical Reading (Philadelphia: Lippencott, 1967) . 193 37. Albert J. Kingston, "A Conceptual Model of Reading Comprehension," Phases of College and Other Adult Reading Programs, Tenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1961), pp. 100-07. 38. Albert J. Kingston, "Areas of Confusion in the Developing of a Science of Reading," The Psychology of Reading Behavior. Eighteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1969), pp. 113-16. 39. Albert J. Kingston, "Psychological Embarrassments of Reading," Multi-Disciplinary Aspects of College-Adult Reading, Sixteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Confer-ence (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1968), pp. 4-9. 40. Roy A. Kress, "The Realm of Comprehension in Read-ing," Reading and Thinking, (eds.) Marjorie Seddon Johnson and Roy A. Kress, Proceedings of the Annual Reading Institute at Temple University, (Philadelphia: Temple University, 1966), pp. 31-6. 41. Mildred C. Letton, "Evaluating the Effectiveness of Teaching Reading," Evaluation of Reading, ed. Helen M. Robinson, Supplementary Educational Monographs, N. 88 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1958), pp. 76-82. 42. Will J. Massey, "Critical Reading in the Content Areas," Reading as an Intellectual Activity, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceed-ings, Vol. VIII (New York: Scholastic Magazines, 1963), pp. 104-07. 43. Constance M. McCullough, "Bridges to Understanding," Reading and Realism, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. XIII, Part I (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1969), pp. 20-8. 44. Constance M. McCullough, "Teaching Creative Reading," Journal of Education, CXXXVI (April, 1954), 200-03. 45. Josephine A. Piekarz, "Attitudes and Critical Reading," Dimensions of Critical Reading, ed. Russell G. Stauffer (Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware, 1964), pp. 134-44. 194 46. Edward Pratt, "Reading as a Thinking Process," Vistas in Reading, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1966), pp. 52-5. 47. Alton E. Raygor, "Behavioral Research in Reading: What Does it Offer," Improvement of Reading Through Classroom Practice, ed. J. Allen Figurel, International Reading Association Conference Proceedings, Vol. IX (Newark, Delaware: International Reading Association, 1964), pp. 235-38. 48. Helen M. Robinson, "Developing Critical Readers," Dimensions of Critical Reading, ed. Russell G. Stauffer, Proceedings of the Annual Education and Reading Conference, Vol. XI (Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware, 1964), pp. 1-12. 49. Helen M. Robinson, "The Major Aspects of Reading," Reading: Seventy-Five Years of Progress, ed. H. Alan Robinson, Supplementary Educational Monographs, No. 96 (Chicago: University of Chicago, 1966), pp. 22-32. 50. David H. Russell, "The Prerequisite: Knowing How to Read Critically," Elementary English, XL (October, 1964), 579-82, 597. 51. David H. Russell, "Research on the Process of Thinking with Some Application to Reading," Elementary English. XLII (April, 1965), 370-8, 432. 52. David H. Russell and Henry R. Fea, "Research on Teaching Reading," Handbook of Research on Teaching, ed. N. L. Gage (Chicago: Rand McNally, 1963), pp. 865-928. 53. Helen K. Smith, "Sequence in Comprehension," Sequential Development of Reading Abilities, ed. Helen M. Robinson, Supplementary Educational Monographs, No. 90 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press), pp. 51-6. 54. Nila Banton Smith, "The Many Faces of Comprehension," The Reading Teacher, XXIII (December, 1969), 249-59. 195 55. E. Elona Sochor, "Comprehension in the Reading Program," Reading In the Secondary School, ed. M. Jerry Weiss (New York: Odyssey Press, 1961), pp. 213-19. 56. E. Elona Sochor, "The Nature of Critical Reading," Elementary English. XXX (January, 1959), 47-58. 57. Ralph Staiger, "Improving Comprehension Skills," Corrective and Remedial Reading, eds. Donald L.< Cleleand and Josephine T. Benson, Report of the Sixteenth Annual Conference and Course on Reading (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh, 1960), pp. 143-9. 58. Russell G. Stauffer, Directing Reading Maturity as a Cognitive Process (New York: Harper and Row, 1969). 59. Ruth Strang, "Secondary School Reading as Thinking," The Reading Teacher. XIII (February, 1960), 194-200. 60. E. Paul Torrance, "Developing Creative Readers," Dimensions of Critical Reading, ed. Russell G. Stauffer (Newark, Delaware: University of Delaware, 1964), pp. 59-74. 61. David M. Wark, "Reading Comprehension as Implicit Verbal Behavior," Multi-Disciplinary Aspects of College-Adult Reading, Sixteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1968), pp. 192-98. 62. Wendell W. Weaver, "On the Psychology of Reading," New Concepts in College-Adult Reading, Thirteenth Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (Milwaukee: National Reading Conference, 1964), pp. 67-74. 63. Gertrude Williams, "Provisions for Critical Reading in Basic Readers," Elementary English, XXXVI (March, 1959), 323-33. Chapter 5 MODELS OP READING COMPREHENSION This chapter is concerned with describing and assessing the various models of reading comprehension which have been proposed. The first section of the chapter describes the need for models in reading as this need has been expressed by various authorities. The nature of models as discussed in scientific literature is the con-cern of the second section of the chapter. The third section presents a review of thirteen models of reading comprehension. The evaluation of these models is undertaken in the fourth section of the chapter while the fifth section focuses on an overall assessment of model building as it relates to reading comprehension. The final section presents a brief summary of the chapter. THE NEED FOR MODELS The common characteristic of findings resulting from experimental investigations of comprehension and theoretical statements concerning its nature is a lack of precision. 196 197 Though a great deal of empirical data exists and perhaps an even greater amount of theoretical speculation has been undertaken, the precise nature of comprehension remains unclear. The need for greater specificity in both data collection and verbal statements concerning reading compre-hension has been partly recognized during the past decade in the appearance of a number of comprehension models. The literature over the past few years reveals a growing awareness of the necessity for greater coordination between theoretical and experimental research if viable explanations of reading processes are to be forthcoming. For example, Strang states the need for more mature theoreti-cal formulations:. To understand how students read, we need a frame-work, a paradigm, a pattern that encompasses the major or contributory factors. (55:49) And Berg indicates the place of these formulations in empiri-cal research: The simple fact is that without a more pervasive theoretical structure we can never really develop an orderly system of data collecting or finally regularize the discipline into a science. (3:13) Similar sentiments have been expressed by Jenkinson (27:551) and Levin (33:140). The danger of failing to work in terms of these formulations has been pointed to by Raygor: 198 The problem created by the radical empiricist who is unwilling even to commit himself to any notion of theory is that he has nothing to guide him in his collection of data, and he is very likely to do useless, repetitious data collecting. (42:172) It is not surprising, therefore, that in reviewing reading research over the first years of the 1960's, Holmes and Singer (26) noted a tendency towards the greater order-ing of empirical data: Recognition of the need to search for "understandings" is evident in concerted effort (a) to construct new models representing the processes at work in the sub-systems or causal chains of events that come to focus in the reading act and (b) to probe deeper with studies that aim to explain reading phenomena in smaller and smaller units. (26:127) Holmes and Singer also observed: A field of study is generally headed for a spurt of creative productivity when theory construction and experimental research become closely interdependent and mutually directed. (26:150) The growing interest in model construction during the 1960's is further exemplified by the International Reading Associa-tion's sponsoring of an institute prior to its 1965 conven-tion devoted entirely to the use of models in reading research (13). At that time, Kingston noted that "models may help the researcher to understand more completely the underlying relationships between the various components of the [reading] phenomena [under study] " (30:4) . Two years later, the utility of models was emphasized by Clymer in his 199 review of model building in reading: Constructing a model forces the investigator to organize facts and to set them against a rational framework; at the same time, it provides a technique for testing these facts and for generating more hypotheses for testing. (12:12) More recently, Jenkinson (27) and Singer (48) (49) have presented reviews of the numerous models of the reading process which have appeared over the past ten years. Similarly, a number of models have appeared which seek to explain the nature of comprehension within the total reading act. It is these models which are of direct concern here. THE NATURE OF MODELS Despite the large number of models which have appeared relating to reading, the definition of a model is itself a subject of conjecture among scientific theorists. It is obvious that the utility of models to explain processes in reading is dependent upon a clear understanding of their nature. As is so often the case when scientific procedures are adopted for the study of reading, an understanding of the nature of models comes from an examination of literature extending beyond the immediate field of reading education. The Purpose of Models The advocacy of models for scientific inquiry has 200 been based upon what Meadows calls the "commerce between empirical and conceptual systems" (37:3). Meadows' meaning is clarified by Maccia's description of the nature of scientific inquiry: The complete act of scientific inquiry...has two main dimensions: the development of cognitive claims and the justification of cognitive claims. The conduct of inquiry therefore involves one in modes of con-structing cognitive claims and modes of checking cognitive claims. (34:7) Models are modes for constructing cognitive claims, or, as Belth has put it, "models are addressed to principles, not to raw experience" (4:209). Model building is based on the conviction that fruitful experimental investigation can only proceed in response to the need to verify cogent theoretical formulations. Thus, to again quote Maccia, "in scientific inquiry, theorizing must precede researching. Nature cannot be approached in an empty-headed fashion" (34:12). It is the problem implicit in seeking an explanation of nature that gives credence to the use of models. Rosen-blueth and Wiener have stated this problem and the value of models in solving it: No substantial part of the universe is so simple that it can be grasped and controlled without abstrac-tion. Abstraction consists of replacing the part of the universe under consideration by a model of similar but simpler structure. (44:316) 201 Hence it can be seen that the function of a model becomes the portrayal of a known or hypothesized part of the natural universe, but in a conceptually delimited way. As Meadows has put it, "through the acts of abstraction, which omit the distracting detail, the model 'stands for the reality'" (37:7) . But it also stands for reality in a special manner — it presents the structure and process of reality devoid of encumbering minutae; it provides what Deutsch calls a "pattern of distribution of relative discontinuities, and some 'laws' of operation" (14:230). The construction of a model is only one stage in the complete act of scientific inquiry proposed by Maccia (34:8). Once the cognitive claims have been conceptually structured in and by the model, these claims must be verified. This is done by compearing the hypotheses embodied in the model with experimental data taken from the natural world which models seek to represent. It is only in this fashion that models can facilitate the prediction and understanding of natural phenomena. As Meadows states, "scientific predic-tion...is a process of comparing certain conclusions derived from the properties of our models with observations" (37:8). The danger of becoming pre-occupied with model building for its own sake is indicated by Kaplan: 202 As attention focuses on the properties of a model, the data which it is to fit tend to become peripheral; by insensible degrees they are felt to be of only secondary importance, and at last are brushed aside as ugly facts capable of ruining a beautiful theory. (29:290) Here Kaplan implies that the construction of a model may follow the accumulation of data rather than form the initial theoretical basis for precise data collection. Lachman has made a similar suggestion in proposing that the function of a model is "to organize what is observed experi-mentally into some comprehensible order, and by proper symbolic manipulation to arrive at a representation of what has not been observed" (32:113) . Although these statements disrupt the continuity of scientific inquiry propounded by Maccia (34), they remain consistent with the central purpose of models—to provide intellectually controlled delineations of real or hypothesized natural phenomena. It would seem clear that models, to provide the greatest utility in scientific inquiry, must both direct and be directed by data collection. Hypotheses developed through model building must be experimentally verified. But it is also vital that models be altered to accommodate empirically derived data not in accordance with initial hypotheses. As Meyer has observed, "scientific models are bound to be disturbed sooner or later by experience" (38:119). 203 Hence, the process of verifying models facilitates their continued refinement which, in turn, enables them to provide increasingly accurate representations of reality. Rosenbleuth and Wiener have described this process as "the progressive concretization of a theoretical model by the successive introduction of additional variables" (44:319) . And Meyer has remarked that "fitting new facts into old models is less fruitful for the advancement of science than discovering why old models should be revised on account of new facts" (38:122). The necessity for the constant re-vision of models in the behavioral sciences particularly has been stressed by Kaplan (29:291) who points to the complexity of variables which influence phenomena in this field and the difficulty of measuring these variables accurately. Despite general agreement concerning the function of models in scientific inquiry, the relationship between models and theories is an area of confusion. Brodbeck has noted the "unnecessary use" of "model" as a synonym for "theory," and has cited four instances when this occurs most frequently: (1) when a theory is untested or untest-able, (2) when effort is made to avoid admitting the equi-vocal nature of a theory, (3) when a theory describes ideal 204 but unreal entities, and (4) when a theory is quantified (9:381-383). The distinction between the terms "model" and "theory" would appear to lie with the function of each. While a theory seeks to explain reality, a model associated with a theory illustrates the structure of this explanation. This process George calls "the formalization of the theory" and it involves "showing the precise logical structure of the theory" (15:333). For this reason, George describes the use of models as "the use of relational structures": It is certainly generally accepted that we can proceed from a set of statements of direct observation to generalizations by inductive inference, and from the generalizations back to the testable particulars by deduction. This is the theory; the model is in essence the skeletal, logical structure of this theory. There is thus clearly the closest relation between theory and model. (15:335-36) Kaplan emphasizes the role of models in illustrating the structural properties implicit in theories by observing: The theory states that the subject-matter has a certain structure, but the theory does not therefore necessarily exhibit that structure in itself. All theories make abstractions, to be sure, in the sense of treating as irrelevant some properties of their subject-matter. But not all of them abstract to the point of treating as relevant only the structural properties. (29:264-65). The model, then, must be seen as illustrative of but differen-tiated from the theory. It is not a part of the theory 205 although it helps to illuminate the theory by providing an alternative structural representation of it. As Lachman states, a model is a "separate system" which "brings to bear an external organization of ideas, laws, or relation-ships upon the hypothetical propositions of a theory or phenomenon it encompasses" (32:114). Lachman continues: Empirical elements and relationships which constitute the phenomena to be organized by a theory are known to us by the symbolic system or language that designates these data. By introducing a model constituting a separately organized system, we are provided an addition-al system or representation for the phenomena and a suitable way of speaking about them. (32:114) It is through the use of models, therefore, that scientists produce separate "mental pictures", as Meyer calls them, which "tend to make the ideas embodied in their, theories intuitively clear" (38:112-113). Thus, Nagel (39:107) maintains that a model provides an "interpretation" for a theory, or, as Braithwaite explains: To think in terms of the model is therefore frequent-ly the most convenient way of thinking about the structure of the theory, for it avoids the self-conscious ness required in order to have before the mind at the same time both the set of propositions arranged in a deductive system which is the theory, and the set of sentences or formulae arranged in order which is the calculus representing the theory. (8:92) It would seem that authorities are in general agree-ment that some theoretical formulations developed to explain natural phenomena are of such complexity that models are 206 helpful to illustrate more clearly the structural relation-ships suggested by these theories. Hence, models may be described as structural reproductions of theories. But they must of necessity initially post-date theories although models and the theories they represent will both be revised as hypotheses suggested by models are tested. Models cannot be self-generating since they depend for their existence on theoretical conceptualizations for which they in turn provide structural illustrations. As Black has put it, "the maker of a scientific model must have prior control of a well-knit scientific theory" since the "system-atic complexity" embodied in the theory is "the source of the model" (5:219) . Kinds of Models One reason for the confusion surrounding the relative functions of models and theories in scientific inquiry possibly lies in the multiplicity of uses to which models have been put. Meadows observes that these uses form "a gradient extending from the expedient, practical and pictor-ial to the abstractive and schematic" (37:8) . Various points can be marked on this gradient, however, and different types of models may be observed at each of these points. For the purpose of this discussion, three categories of 207 model will be proposed. But it is important to note that no qualitative distinction is implied among these cate-gories since, as will be discussed below, the utility of a model lies in the extent of its heuristic value, and not in the ingenuity or complexity of its construction. The simplest kind of model is the scale model which Black describes as including "all likenesses of material objects, systems, or processes, whether real or imaginary, that preserve relative proportions" (5:220). It is this preservation of relative proportions which under-lies the quality of isomorphism illustrated by these models. Brodbeck has set out two conditions required for isomorph-ism. First, a one-to-one correspondence between the components of the model and the components of the thing being modeled is necessary and, second, preservation of "certain relations" in the ordering of these elements. She goes on to distinguish between "complete" isomorphism, a model working on the same principle as the original, and "incomplete" isomorphism, a model functioning according to a different principle to the real thing (9:374-75) . A second type of model is the analogue. The differ-ence between a scale and an analogue model is essentially that, while the scale model reproduces the physical propor-tions of the original though with a constant change in 208 dimension, the analogue model presents the structure of the original in some more abstract manner. Thus, Black defines the analogue model as "some material object, system or process designed to reproduce as faithfully as possible the structure or web of relationships in the original..." (5:22) . Other terms have been used to describe analogue models. For example, Rosenbleuth and Wiener refer to a "material model" which they define as "the representation of a complex system by a system which is assumed to have some properties similar to those selected for study in the original complex system" (44:317). Kaplan distinguishes between "physical" analogues embodying "some actual physical system", and "semantical" analogues involving "a set of symbols" (29:266-267). The analogue model is described by Maccia as a "representational model" or a "model for." It may take the form of an object or some other characterization which may be "empirical," involving propositions, or which may be "formal," showing "the way in which the terms and propositions are interrelated" (34:190). Nagal categorizes analogue models as either "substantive" or "formal". In substantive analogues, "a system of elements possessing certain already familiar properties" and for which a known and relatively concrete 209 set of relations exists is implemented as a model to explain some second system. With "formal" models, however, the system of elements which serves as the model, while remaining familiar, is more abstract than in the substantive model. Nagel uses the mathematical model as an example here (39:110) . It follows that analogue models provide for a high level of flexibility in model building. They are more abstract than the scale models and therefore more versatile. And because models are independent structures from the theories they illustrate, more than one model can usually be constructed for a given theory. As George has noted, "any symbolic model can be regarded as a physical system and produced in hardware" (15:314). Theoretical models constitute a third category. Black alludes to the more abstract nature of these models when he states that "the theoretical model need not be built; it is enough that it be described" (5:229) . Similarly, Deutsch has said that theoretical models are constituted by "sets of symbols and operating rules carried largely in people's heads" (14:231-32). As Rosenbleuth and Wiener have speculated in their discussion of "formal" models, "the ideal formal model would be one which would cover the entire universe" (44:320). 210 Brodbeck has delineated theoretical models as follows: Two theories whose laws have the same form are isomorphic or structurally similar to each other. If the laws of one theory have the same form as the laws of another theory, then one may be said to be a model for the other. (9:379) Braithwaite has provided further explanation of theoretical models by his example in which "a model for a theory T is another theory M which corresponds to the theory T in respect of deductive structure." Braithwaite elaborates: By correspondence in deductive structure between M and T is meant that there is a one-one correlation between the concepts of T and those of M which gives rise to a one-one correlation between the propositions of T and those of M which is such that if a proposition in T logically follows from a set of propositions in T, the correlate in M of the first proposition in T logically follows from the set of correlates in M of the propositions of the set in T. (7:225) Brodbeck warns against undue significance being ascribed to structural isomorphism between theories, and sets out three conditions for viable theoretical models: The identification of one set of phenomena with another rests on three things: first, their laws have the same form; second, the same value for the constants in these laws, and, finally, the interchangeability of the empirical concepts. By condition one, two areas are merely shown to be structurally isomorphic. Only by conditions two and three can they meaningfully be said to be the same phenomena. (9:349); She adds that once one theory has been identified as a viable model for another, the reverse is also true. Maccia characterizes a theoretical model as a "non-representational" 211 model or a "model for" as opposed to her "model of" out-lined above (34:9) . Kaplan appears to include his de-signation of "formal" and "interpretive" models under the theoretical category. He describes the formal model as being highly abstract and "free from the irrelevancies necessarily involved in any concrete embodiment of the structure," while the "interpretive model is used to interpret the formal model, since "it allows us to use what we know of one subject-matter to arrive at hypotheses concerning another subject-matter structurally similar to the first" (29:267-68). Criteria for Models It is difficult to place different kinds of models designated by different authorities under prescribed categories. This is partly because each model represents an isolated point on a continuum ranging from concrete scale models to abstract theoretical models. A second complication arises from the use by different authorities of different terms to describe their models. Yet difficul-ties in assigning models to categories and epithets to models, if allowed to assume undue importance, can only detract from an appreciation of the worth of models. It was suggested above that the criterion against 212 which a model must always be measured is its heuristic value. The ingenuity of its construction or the complexity of its design, if concentrated on for their own sakes, are the preoccupation of dilettanttism. Models are tools for scientific inquiry and the degree to which they facilitate this inquiry is the measure of their worth. Yet models are more than just devices in scientific inquiry—they form a dynamic link between the theoretical conceptualizations which initiate inquiry and the experimental verification of these conceptualizations. They do this by providing separate systems which clarify hypothesized structural features and relationships within a theory, and which suggest ways by which the existence of these features and relationships may be verified. In order that models may fulfil their heuristic function in scientific inquiry, it would seem that certain conditions must be met. These conditions can be outlined under the five headings which follow. Articulation. The central criterion here is the precision of the model. It must provide an explicitly arti-culated separate symbolic system which illuminates the under-lying structure of the theory being considered. Further, this symbolic system must maintain simplicity by containing 213 only those structural features which have utility for elucidating the theory. In this regard, Kaplan distinguishes between "exogenous" features which he defines as "properties of a system which are irrelevant to its structure", and "endogenous" features which are relevant (29:286) . Con-versely, it must be insured that no structurally vital properties are ignored in the model. In this way, a well-articulated model provides for communication among scholars thereby making theoretical formulations repeatable. This is what Deutsch calls "the property of retraceability" (14:230). Differentiation. The model must be clearly distin-guishable from the theory it illuminates even though, by its very nature, it structurally reproduces the theory. This is what Braithwaite means when he cautions that "think-ing of scientific theories by means of models is always as-if thinking," and adds, "the price of the employment of models is eternal vigilance" (8:93). Hence, the model must reflect conscious intellectual rigor in that it really does help to clarify the theory, and does not merely express the imponderables of a theory in another way. It must supply what Belth calls "the conceptual instruments for discovery, analysis, explanation or 214 definition," (4:217) and for this reason, as Meadows states, "the utility of any given model is a function of the level of gymbolization" (37:7) . It is in this way that the explanatory power of a model is established. Prediction. A model, to be heuristically fruitful, must provide testable hypotheses. These hypotheses are based upon elements and relationships illustrated by the model and suggested by the theory. In this way, as Braithwaite has noted, a model may be said "to point towards its extension" (7:229) . Studies initiated to test hypotheses provide for the quantification of the elements and relationships upon which the hypotheses are based. In this way, a calculus for the model is generated. Hence, Braithwaite observes that the calculus of a model is, like the model itself, an alternative representation of the theory (8:90). The quantification of the elements and re-lationships illustrated by the model thereby allows for the development of mathematical formulae which explain the interaction of these components. The formulae can in turn be used to predict operations and outcomes hypothesized from the. model. Operations and outcomes can then be compared with observed natural phenomena, and in this way the degree of the model's predictive capability can be determined. 215 Creativity. Black speaks of models bringing about "a wedding of disparate subjects" in their attempts to illustrate new relationships (5:237). This is the essence of creativity in model building, provided that the new re-lationships reveal the structural elements of the theory under consideration. There is little point in creating models to illustrate already-known conceptual structures, or to display bizarre relationships, the knowledge of which does nothing to interpret the theory involved. Flexibility. The essence of heuristic value lies in flexibility. This characteristic must be present in a model from its inception. The flexibility of a model is what Lachman refers to as "deployability" and "scope" (32:126)— the capacity of a model to adapt and to accommodate changes in its structure as new elements and relationships are discovered by empirical investigation. The propensity of a model to "impose premature closure on our ideas," as Kaplan (29:279-80) warns, must be avoided. Hence what appear to be logical forms must give way before accumulating empirical evidence. In short, the model must remain heuri-stically expandible. This expansion can be encouraged by what George refers to as "controlled vagueness," (15:313) the negative capability which allows for the maintenance 216 of intellectual flexibility in the face of apparent theoretical certitude. REVIEW OF COMPREHENSION MODELS Many of the models specifically aimed at explaining reading comprehension have been identified by Clymer (12) in his review of models in reading. Since Clymer's review, other models have appeared. Each of these models will be described in this section of the chapter, and in the follow-ing section all models will be evaluated according to the criteria outlined above. A summary of this evaluation is provided in Table III at the end of the evaluation section. Following this, general conclusions regarding the status of model building as it pertains to reading comprehension will be drawn. The Smith Model Smith (50) founds his model upon Guilford's (22) model of the structure of intellect. The pictorial repre-sentation of Smith's model as presented by him is given in Figure 2. He takes the Semantic Contents dimension of Guilford's model, but modifies it to remove Relations from the Products dimension and Cognition, Memory, and Evalu-ation from the Operations dimension. Smith justifies these (Implication) Implications Implications (Tremsformation) Application Applications (System) Paragraph Conclusions resulting from: logical order temporal order spatial order Main Idea: as topic sentence as implied (Class) Sentence Similarity and Difference Contrast: of subject of intent Comparison: of subject of intent (Unit) Sentence Literal meaning Implied meaning Convergent Divergent (deductive) (inductive) thinking thinking FIGURE 2 SMITH'S MODEL OF READING COMPREHENSION N> H -O 218 omissions by maintaining that, in the case of Relations, there is.no corresponding reading skill. Cognition is removed on the grounds that material is never merely cog-nized, but it is always acted upon in some way when it is comprehended. Memory, Smith argues, extends beyond compre-hension and is therefore removed, while Evaluation also lies outside of the realm of comprehension since it relates to decisions made concerning the material after it has been understood (50:23-24). With these changes made in Guilford's construct, Smith describes comprehension in terms of "directed thinking" operating at different levels as determined by the complexity of the material being read: The unit is considered to be the sentence, classes to be the grouping of sentences as similar or contrast-ing in subject and intent, and the system to be the paragraph. A convergent thinking style will then be most suitable for comprehension of literal meanings, for determining differences, and for drawing a conclusion from an orderly sequence of sentence ideas. The orders tend to be logical, temporal (time order) or spatial.... A divergent style of thinking best fits implied meanings, the noting of similarities, and the ability to induce or infer a main idea which is implicit in the paragraph. (50:25-26) Smith contends that the skills which he associates with the mental activities outlined in his model constitute a complete list. He concludes that "comprehension skills are scarce," and argues that more extensive lists "must be encompassed by 219 the few described herein" (50:26) . A number of assumptions underlie Smith's model. Among them is the significant attempt he makes to link the mental processes involved in comprehension to specific skills. It should be noted that Smith does not see skills as being arranged hierarchically since they are associated with the non-hierarchical cells of the Guilford model. Smith argues that it is the complexity of the reading material which determines the levels at which the reader functions and the skills which he brings into operation. It is also significant that Smith is very reluctant to include within his model any cognitive operation and associated skill which does not relate directly to the immediate reading task. For this reason he eliminates critical reading from a discussion of comprehension main-t aining that critical reading involves evaluation which occurs after understanding has taken place. The Spache Model Spache, (51) like Smith, bases his model on the Semantic Content dimension of Guilford's structure of intellect model. He explains his adaptation of Guilford's model to describe comprehension as follows: 220 The unit is considered to be the word, the class is the sentence, relations are the interrelationships of sentences, and systems are the arrangements of sentences we call paragraphs. Finally, transformations are the manipulation of paragraphs and implications represent inferential reactions to paragraphs. (51:66) But Spache emphasizes that he wishes to describe not only the cognitive operations involved in comprehension, but also how these operations are "exemplified in various read-ing behaviors" (51:66). He does this by means of a diagram in which the components of the Semantic Content dimension of Guilford's model are linked with specific reading skills. Spache's diagram is shown in Figure 3. The skills pre-sented, Spache argues, are uniquely related to the cognit-ive operations under which they are placed in the diagram. Spache emphasizes that there is no hierarchy implied by the arrangement of cognitive operations and associated skills in his diagram. He maintains that such factors as the reader's experiential background and the degree of abstrac-tion contained within the material being read determine the mental process used in comprehension. Similarities between Smith's model and Spache's are immediately apparent. Like Smith, Spache seeks to relate specific, skills to the cognitive operations identified by Guilford. The most striking difference lies" in the expanded range of mental activity and skills which Spache provides. U N I T C L A S S R E L A T I O N S SYSTEMS, TRANSFOR-MATIONS I M P L I C A T I O N S Cognition (recognition of information) Memory (retention of information) Divergent Production (logical, creative ideas) Convergent Production (conclusions, inductive thinking) Evaluation (critical thinking) Recognition that word has meaning Recall specific word meanings Meaning from context by inference Meaning from structure of context, (i.e. appositive sentence) Acceptance or rejection of author's diction Recognition of sentence as com-plete thought Recall of thoughts of sentence (re-verberations) Selecting implied meaning of sentence Combining ideas into literal meaning of sentence Acceptance or rejec-tion of meaning of sentence, as fact-opinion Recognition of paragraph meaning (literal idea of paragraph) Comprehend main idea as summa-tion of sentences (reverberation) Choosing implied main idea Evolving main idea a3 extension of topic sentence Acceptance or rejec-tion of main idea as fact or opinion; check author's sources; compare with own experi-ences and beliefs Recognition of types of relationships within structure of paragraph Summarize facts of paragraph in own words with due attention to structure Analyze author's reasons for structure Categorize structure of paragraph; outline it Look for fallacies in logic, appeals to reader's emo-tions, overgen-eralizations, omis-sions, distortions Underline key words of paragraph Combine recall with own associations Construct rebus of paragraph: offer new titles for paragraph Choose among alter-nate titles or statements of main idea Identify author's viewpoint and purpose; compare with other view-points; explore the ultimate out-comes of ac-ceptance of author's viewpoint Recognize that there are impli-cations in author's main idea Choose possible implications from given alternates Amplify author's implications and ideas in free association Suggest future applications of author's ideas Check author's background as basis for view-point; react to author's value judgments; ex-amine author's basic assump-tions and infer-ences from these FIGURE 3 SPACHE'S MODEL OF READING BEHAVIORS IN SEMANTIC CONTENT (MEANINGS, IDEAS) NJ NJ I—' 222 He includes all of the elements Guilford places within Products and Operations rather than only selected ones as is the case with Smith. And in doing so, Spache accommo-dates all the aspects of critical reading which occur under Evaluation which Smith deliberately omits. Hence, Spache's model represents a far more inclusive concept of comprehension than does Smith's. The Cleiand Model Cleland (11) defines comprehension in the following m anner: Comprehension—a central mental activity involving the higher intellectual processes in which there is a reorganization of experiences relevant to the purpose of the reading, these experiences having been evoked by the linguistic symbols we call words. (11:21) His model of comprehension is an attempt to further eluci-date the cognitive operations suggested in this definition. Against the background of an extensive review of the related psychological literature, Cleland presents a six-part verbal model, each part of which defines an aspect of the total mental process involved in comprehension. "Perception" is the first component of Cleland's model. By this he means not only the recognition of words, but, more important, the "meaningful response" of the reader to words, sentences, paragraphs, and entire stories 223 or articles. The second element of the model Cleland calls "Apperception" by which he means "the process of relating background experiences to the meanings couched in the language of author or speaker—it is perception character-ized by clearness." Under the heading "Abstraction," Cleland refers to "the mental process by which the reader or listener neglects or selects percepts, images, or memories which are relevant to the purpose of reading or listening." He adds that related concepts and specific as opposed to generic meanings may also be selected in this manner. "Appraisal," the fourth component of the model, "refers to the process of estimating the value or the validity of the aforementioned materials of thinking, according to accepted norms, standards or processes." The fifth part of the model is "Ideation" and it involves five modes of thinking: inductive, deductive, critical, problem solving, and creative. The final component of Cleland's model is "Application" and it includes "the func-tional uses readers make of the new ideas acquired" (11:28-31). It can be seen from this resume of the components of Cleland's model that it is the total cognitive process of comprehension which interest him along with the components of the process. Cleland is not concerned with describing 224 the observable outcomes of this process although the process is described in terms of a progression of cognitive acti-vity ranging from the recognition of printed or written words to the application of understanding gleaned from reading. By including Application, Cleland accommodates within his model cognitive activities which go beyond the immediate derivation of meaning during the reading act. The Stauffer Model Although Stauffer does not present his outline of the "reading-thinking process" explicitly as a model, it does display the structural characteristics necessary to qualify as one and will therefore be treated as such here. Stauffer's model, originally stated in 1965 (54) and to a greater or lesser extent propounded in the enormous volume of his published work, is developed most completely in his recent book, Directing Reading Maturity as a Cognitive Process (53). The process he delineates is essentially an instructional procedure for teaching comprehension, but it is f ounded upon the notion of encouraging the development of the process used by mature readers to understand what they read, and is therefore illustrative of Stauffer's theoretical formulation of this process. Stauffer strongly emphasizes the cognitive aspects 225 of the reading process and the importance of comprehension within it. He contends that "reading is a complex pheno-menon of mental activity akin to thinking" and that "to read is to comprehend what is read" (53:5) . Hence, reading becomes a purposeful process directed at obtaining infor-mation. Stauffer identifies three steps in this process the first of which is "Declaring purposes." Here the reader establishes "a perplexity that demands a solution" and the reader therefore reads to resolve this perplexity. It is this purpose which "regulates the rate and scope of the reading-thinking process." The second stage of this process Stauffer describes as "Reasoning while reading." At this state the reader "manipulates the ideas to discover logical relations, or he rearranges logical patterns in such a way that a conclusion can be reached." At the final stage, "Judging" occurs whereby the reader evaluates and draws conclusions. To do this, he must "select and weigh the facts and make decisions that are pertinent and discriminate." Stauffer suggests that to these three aspects of the reading-thinking process, a fourth might be added. This he calls "refining and extending ideas" and it includes "the more ardent tasks of discriminating between the particular qualities of a concept, and sorting and 226 assimilating the qualities so that a standard of reference can be obtained" (53:26-28). Like Cleland, Stauffer presents a sequence of cognitive operations which he contends constitute comprehen-sion. His model places heavy stress on the process of understanding what is read, even to the exclusion of a reference to perception. Stauffer does not extend his notion of comprehension to include activities which follow understanding as does Cleland, however, and to this extent his model is more restrictive. On the other hand, it is closely reminiscent of Cleland's construct in its omission of reference to specific skills which may be interpreted as the manifest outcomes of the processes described. The McCullough Model Unlike Cleland and Stauffer who consider only the thought processes of the reader, McCullough (35) claims that comprehension rests upon the communication of thought patterns between the author and the reader. She explains: Comprehension is based partly upon familiarity with and recognition of the modes of thought employed by the! author of the material read. Interpretation applies the reader's own modes of thought to what he believes the author means. (35:333) In an earlier article (36), McCullough describes the cogni-tive operations employed by an author to express himself 227 verbally and which must in turn be used by a reader to understand what has been written: The brain of a human being receives sensory impressions of objects and living organisms in patterns of events and situations, modified by his own thought-and-feeling predispositions and reactions. He becomes conscious of various relationships: whole-part, cause-effect, sequential, comparison-contrast, and coordinate-subordinate. From these he can develop certain products of the mind: theories, laws and principles, generalizations, summarizations, definitions, classi-fications, and procedures. These, in turn, he can support with examples, elaboration, and application. (36:357) As is illustrated in Figure 4, McCullough presents a diagram-atic version of this "schema of thought patterns" (35:333) . It is important to note that McCullough implies no hierarchy in her schema. As she puts it, "the path an author takes from one point to another on this chart is highly individual; hence the importance of being able to follow his path" (35:334). Is is therefore apparent that comprehension involves the reader in free movement through various thought patterns as he seeks accord with the thought of the author. According to McCullough, the directions which these movements take can involve inductive, deductive, convergent, divergent, and evaluative thinking. McCullough*s model, like those of Cleland and Stauffer, is concerned solely with the cognitive processes involved in comprehension. She suggests no specific skills 228 Sensory Impressions of Objects and Living Organisms | in patterns of Events and Situations Whole-Part Relationships with | T h o u g h t and Feeling Predispositions and Reactions | and awareness of Cause and Effect Relationships Sequential Relationships Comparison and Contrast Relationships Leading to the development of Subordination and Co-ordination Ret. Theories Precepts Aphorisms Generalizations Summarizations Definitions Classifications Procedures supported b y Examples Elaboration Application FIGURE 4 MCCULLOUGH'S SCHEMA OF THOUGHT PATTERNS 229 although they might be inferred from her description of cognitive operations. Where McCullough differs from both Cleland and Stauffer is in describing comprehension in terms of the interaction of thought patterns between the author and the reader rather than solely in terms of the reader's cognitive response. The Kingston Model Like McCullough, Kingston (30) presents a model of comprehension based on the process of communication between the author and the reader. But here the similarity ends. While McCullough delineates the thought processes imployed by the author and the reader as they communicate, Kingston defines what are essentially external conditions which influence the efficacy of this communication. Kingston explains his model in the following terms: It essentially states that if the past experience in learning of both the reader and the writer are such that both attach a common meaning to a language symbol, comprehension will result. (30:103) Figure 5 illustrates Kingston's diagrammatic presentation of his model. The model is supported by four postulates which can be summarized as follows: I. Reading comprehension can best be understood as a product of communication that results from inter-action between the reader and the writer. SK/LLS FACTORS /?. a. FIGURE 5 KINGSTON'S CONCEPTUAL MODEL FOR READING COMPREHENSION to LO O 231 II. Meanings attributed to word symbols are developed through common learning experiences and these learning experiences are reinforced throughout the life span of the individual. Effective communi-cation between the author and the reader results provided that the language employed by the author is familiar to the reader in lexical structure and form, there is agreement on the meaning of verbal symbols employed by the author, and these symbols are of comparable levels of abstraction. Ill. The reading skills possessed and employed by the reader determine the efficacy of his comprehension of the author"s communication. IV. The personality structure of the reader determines his sensitivity to receiving the message. Such factors as reader motivation or interest, excessive anxieties or unresolved needs, rigidity of personal-ity structure, and active prejudices and biases re-garding the communicator or the message may all function to limit or distort message intake. (30:105-7) Kingston concentrates on what he believes to be the external influences on comprehension which he envisages as the end product of a communication process. The cognitive operations whereby an author and a reader communicate through a written or printed message are not dealt with. Hence, Kingston, while not delineating (or denying) the skills involved in comprehension, is not concerned with the process of comprehension either. Rather, he is interested in identifying some external factors which come to influence the efficacy of this process. The Gray-Robinson Model The Gray-Robinson model, first enunciated by Gray (21) 232 and modified by Robinson (43), encompasses what Gray refers to as "the understandings, attitudes, and skills common to most reading activities" (21:8). Gray places these under four headings to which Robinson adds a fifth. Though the different aspects of reading are considered separately, Gray emphasizes that "they are closely integrated to form a psychologically coherent unit" (21:8). Gray summar-ized the major aspects of reading as follows: 1. Word Perception: involves the arousal of both mean-ing and pronunciation associations. 2. Comprehension: involves a clear grasp on the meaning of what is read. 3. Reaction: the reader's reaction to and evaluation of the ideas secured. 4. Assimilation: the fusion of new ideas acquired with previous experience. 5. Rates of Reading: Flexible and adjusted to the reader's purpose and to the difficulty of the materials. (27:9) Besides verbal descriptions of the five aspects of reading, both Gray and Robinson provide pictorial represent-ations as well. In the case of Gray, however, the relation-ships between his verbal and pictorial representations are not always clear, and one suspects that the pictorial model is at a relatively early stage of development. Perhaps in recognition of this, but also in order to accommodate her fifth aspect ("Rates"), Robinson modifies the Gray diagrams. In addition, her pictorial representation is coloured in 233 order to indicate "the close relationship among the areas and the interaction o£ each with all the others" (43:29). Like Gray, Robinson warns against deriving a segmented concept of reading from the model: "Although each of the f ive major aspects may be identified and described separ-ately, they are never conceived as steps but as coherent whole" (43:29). Despite changes in the model as a whole, that part of it relating specifically to comprehension is adopted from Gray unaltered by Robinson. Gray identifies three aspects of comprehension under each of which he places specific "understandings, attitudes, and skills": Grasping literal meaning the good reader— A-Adopts an inquiring attitude B-Focuses attention on and anticipates meanings C-Fuses meanings into a stream of related ideas D—Follows the author's arrangement of ideas E-Recognizes their relative importance and use F-Visualizes clearly the scenes and events described G-Adjusts speed of reading to difficulties faced H-Utilizes all his mental resources in achieving purpose Securing an expanded grasp of the meaning, the good reader — A-Recognizes Type of material read Author's purpose, mood Attitude toward subject and reader B-Recalls related experiences C-Recognizes implied meanings D-Makes inquiries appropriate to material read E-Interprets In light of author's purpose, mood, attitude Time and place setting Use of words—rhetorical devices 234 F-Follows arguments G-Recognizes unstated generalizations and conclusions H-Distinguishes between one's own ideas and those of author Understanding ideas read, the good reader— A-Recognizes Author's purpose or problem, questions faced Frame of reference Assumptions Generalizations Conclusions B-Sees their implications C-Recognizes their applications. (21:15-16) It is significant that the Gray-Robinson model explicitly separates "reaction" and "assimilation" from "comprehension." Robinson is very clear on this point when she states: "It should be noted that reaction occurs only as comprehension is fully realized" (43:30). It would seem that under the headings "reaction" and "assimilation," Gray and Robinson include what is more commonly referred to as critical and creative reading. Hence, in the opinion of these two authorities, skills involved in reading of these latter two types should not be included under a definition of comprehension since comprehension has taken place before they begin. However, it appears that an element of inconsis-tency exists here. Since both Gray and Robinson insist that their model represents a coherent whole, each aspect of which functions "concurrently" (43:29) with the others, the sequence Robinson establishes between "comprehension" and 235 "reaction" and "assimilation" seems to be incompatible with the highly integrated nature of the model. This is especially true when one considers that Robinson adopted colours to illustrate the model in order to indicate "the close relationship among the areas and the interaction of each with all others" (43:29). A consideration of the Gray-Robinson model soon reveals that it is essentially a skills model. Although Gray seeks to clarify some aspects of the psychology of reading, the coherence of his model derives from its delineation of specific skills. Robinson emphasizes this skills orienta-tion when she maintains that "the intent of this model is to distinguish between what we are trying to achieve and the processes for achieving our goals" (43:32). Robinson bases her discussion on what she calls "an operational definition which includes identification of the skills and abilities." She is careful to note that "models of the reading process and of procedures for teaching reading have been omitted" (43:23) . The Barrett Model A taxonomy purporting to describe both the cognitive and affective dimensions of comprehension is presented by Barrett (1) and has been recently revised (2). According to 236 Clymer, Barrett's taxonomy was originally conceived to provide teachers with "both a manageable and understandable means of teaching comprehension" (12:17) . Clymer also notes that the taxonomy is based principally upon the model of edu-cational objectives for the cognitive domain proposed by Bloom (6). Barrett's revised taxonomy includes four levels of skills arranged hierarchically in order of complexity. The taxonomy may be summarized as follows: 1.0 Literal Comprehension: Literal comprehension re-quires the recognition or recall of ideas, infor-mation, and happenings that are explicitely stated in the materials used. 1.1 Recognition or Recall of Details 1.2 Recognition or Recall of Main Ideas 1.3 Recognition or Recall of Sequence 1.4 Recognition or Recall of Comparisons 1.5 Recognition or Recall of Cause and Effect Re-lationships 1.6 Recognition or Recall of Character Traits 2.0 Inferential Comprehension: Inferential comprehen-sion is demonstrated by the student when he uses a synthesis of the literal content of a selection, his personal knowledge, his intuition and his imagination as a basis for conjectures or hypotheses. 2.1 Inferring Supporting Details 2.2 Inferring the Main Idea 2.3 Inferring Sequence 2 .4 Inferring Comparisons 2.5 Inferring Cause and Effect Relationships 2.6 Inferring Character Traits 2.7 Predicting Outcomes 2 .8 Inferring About Figurative Language 3.0 Evaluation: Evaluation is demonstrated by a student when he makes judgments about the content of a read-ing selection by comparing it with external criteria or with internal criteria. 237 3.1 Judgments of Reality or Fantasy 3.2 Judgments of Fact or Opinion 3.3 Judgments of Adequacy or Validity 3.4 Judgments of Appropriateness 3.5 Judgments of Worth, Desirability, or Accept-ability 4.0 Appreciation: Appreciation involves all the previously cited cognitive dimensions of reading, for it deals with the psychological, and aesthetic impact of the selection on the reader. 4.1 Emotional Response to the'Content 4.2 Identification with Characters and Incidents 4.3 Reactions to the Author's Use of Language 4.4 Imagery (2) Within each level and subcategory of the taxonomy Barrett provides examples of tasks which the student must perform in order to demonstrate proficiency at each level. Some resemblance is apparent between Barrett's model and the models of Smith and Spache. While Smith and Spache deny any hierarchical organization within their models, they do seek to indicate the relationship between the cognitive operations involved in comprehension and the skills resulting from these operations. Similarly, Barrett places under each of the four major categories of his model which indicate cognitive operations "some of the tasks that might,be used to produce comprehension...on the part of the students...(2:1). In this manner, Barrett seeks to establish the relationship between overt and covert aspects of comprehension. In doing so, he extends his concept of comprehension beyond that pro-238 posed by Gray and Robinson to include evaluative skills by which, for example, the reader judges the adequacy or validity of reading material. However, Barrett's model is seriously limited by his vague description of the cognitive operations involved. Terms such as "recognition," "evalu-ation," and "appreciation" do little to illuminate what takes place in the mind of the reader as he gains meaning from what he reads. A further observation on Barrett's taxonomy involves a comparison between it and the model upon which it was based. Bloom's (6) taxonomy. Barrett places at the highest level of his taxonomy the emotional response of the reader to what is read. This response, Barrett maintains, "involves all the previously cited cognitive dimensions of reading." Here it would seem that Barrett violates one of the funda-mental tenents of Bloom: that the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains all operate concurrently yet in separate systems having complementary levels (6:7) . In contrast, Barrett implies that the affective domain dominates the cognitive domain. The Rystrom Model Rystrom's model (46) is formulated in an attempt to explain the nature of comprehension and how it may be taught. 239 The model consists of six different "skill areas" which are defined as vocabulary, syntax, item recall, item sequence, interpretation, and evaluation. Rystrom provides a pictorial representation of his model which is given here in Figure 6. Rystrom explains the comprehension process repre-sented by his model in terms of a child reading a story. The process begins with a decoding operation whereby infor-mation is taken in and decoded in the brain. At the first stage, the vocabulary in the story is matched with the know-1 edge of words stored in the reader's mind. Then sentence patterns and syntactic items are matched. Next, signifi-cant individual items or events in the story are identified and their order remembered. Following this, the reader in-terprets the story in terms of his own experience through a process of inference. Finally, the story is evaluated on the basis of its internal consistency and its perceived con-sistency with reality. Rystrom emphasizes that his model does not necessarily imply a linear progression in the com-prehension process. It is possible for a reader to shift back and forth among various parts of the model as he seeks \inderstanding of what is being read (46:60-64) . Unlike the other comprehension models discussed thus RYSTROM'S READING COMPREHENSION MODEL 241 far, Rystrom has sought to validate his model by constructing a test "indicating the extent to which this model accurate-ly reflects the comprehension process (46:146) . The test was administered to 169 grade four pupils in six classes from northeastern Georgia schools. Reliability and content validity were established, and a step-wise regression analysis, factor analysis, and item analysis were carried out. From these statistical procedures, Rystrom concludes that "the six comprehension factors presented [in the model] appear to determine comprehension." He further concludes that "the most important single comprehension skill appears to be the ability to remember specific facts from what has been read" (46:156). The legitimacy of Rystrom's conclusion that his test validates his model appears to be open to question, how-ever . Though the six parts of the model may appear to be represented in the analysis of data derived from the test, the operation of these parts and the relationships among them which the model postulates are not confirmed by the analysis of data. Even if Rystrom's test has in fact content validity for his model, this in no way indicates that the model itself accurately illustrates the process he seeks to explain and measure. 242 The Goodman Model Goodman proposes a psycholinguistic model (20) founded upon his theory that "reading comprehension results from a series of tentative decisions made on the basis of partial use of available language clues" (19:191). In actual fact, Goodman uses the term "reading" to mean "compre-hension" since reading is conceived as "the receptive phase of written communication" (18:15). Like Kingston and McCullough, Goodman views comprehension as resulting from communication between author and reader, but communication which can be explained in terms of language processing: The-reader, a user of language, interacts with the graphic input as he seeks to reconstruct a message encoded by the writer. He concentrates his total prior experience and learning on the task, drawing on his experiences and the concepts he has attained as well as the language competence he has achieved. (16:15) The nature of this interaction is "tentative," however, since, according to Goodman, "reading is a selective process": It involves partial use of available minimal langu-age cues selected from perceptual input on the basis of the reader's expectation. As this partial information is processed, tentative decisions are made to be con-firmed, rejected, or refined as reading progresses. (20:260) It is for this reason that Goodman calls reading "a psycho-linguistic guessing game," the nature of which can be ex-plored through an analysis of the "miscues" or errors made 243 during oral reading. On the basis of evidence gleaned from his research (17), Goodman has developed a taxonomy of cues and miscues for the purpose of analyzing a reader's psycholinguistic functioning during oral reading (16). Goodman is both adamant and specific in his rejec-tion of the view that reading "involves exact, detailed, sequential perception and identification of letters, words, spelling patterns and large language units." He disparages such theories as embodying an "'end of the nose' view" of reading which cannot explain the speed and complexity of the reading process. On the contrary, Goodman argues that the reader employs three kinds of information simultaneously— grapho-phonic, syntactic, and semantic. Through the use of these three systems, the reader "predicts and anticipates ..., sampling from the print just enough to confirm his guess of what's coming, to cue more semantic and syntactic information." Goodman maintains that this prediction is possible because of redundancy and sequential restraints in language (20:265-266) . Goodman further objects to dividing "code-breaking" from "reading for meaning" contending that the language read is not composed solely of a set of symbols, but, rather, that "it is a system of communication capable of carrying an 244 infinite variety of messages" (16:16). While drawing a close relationship between language and thought, Goodman is nevertheless restrictive in the degree of cognitive activity which he allows as part of reading. He clearly distinguishes between the psycholinguistic process of reading and the thinking and linguistic processes themselves. He states that, while the reader may "experience cycles of reflective thinking" while reading, "these cycles cannot be considered part of the reading process itself any more than following directions after having read them can be consider-ed a part of the reading process" (16:15). Through his model of the reading process, Goodman s eeks to illustrate how a reader acquires meaning from a written or printed communication. Goodman's representation of his model is given in Figure 7. Here he traces the process by which he conceives a reader to move from the visual per-ception of the reading material to an understanding of the encoded message in the material. Besides presenting his model as a flow diagram, Goodman also describes it verbally: 1. The reader scans along a line of print from left to right and down the page, line by line. 2. He fixes at a point to permit eye focus. Some print will be central and in focus, some will be peripheral; perhaps his perceptual field is a flattened circle. 3. Now begins the selection process. He picks up graphic cues guided by constraints set up through prior choices, his language knowledge, his cognitive styles, and strategies he has learned. V/ 246 4. He forms a perceptual image using these cues and his anticipated cues. This image then is partly what he sees and partly what he expected to see. 5. Now he searches his memory for related syntactic, semantic, and phonological cues. This may lead to selection of more graphic cues, and to reforming the perceptual image. 6. At this point, he makes a guess or tentative choice consistent with graphic cues. Semantic analysis leads to partial decoding as far as possible. This meaning is stored in short-term memory as he • proceeds. 7. If no guess is possible, he checks the recalled per-ceptual input and tries again. If a guess is still not possible, he takes another look at the text to gather more graphic cues. 8. If he can make a decodable choice, he tests it for semantic and grammatical acceptability in the context developed by prior choices and decoding. 9. If the tentative choice is not acceptable semantically or syntactically, then he regresses, scanning from right to left along the line and up the page to locate a point of semantic or syntactic inconsistency. When such a point is found, he starts over at that point. If no inconsistency can be identified, he reads on seeking some cue which will make it possible to reconcile the anomalous situation. 10 .If the choice is acceptable, decoding is extended, meaning is assimilated with prior meaning, and prior meaning is accommodated, if necessary. Expectations are formed about input and meaning that lies ahead. 11.Then the cycle continues. (20:269-70) The obvious distinguishing characteristic of Goodman's model is its psycholinguistic basis. Goodman seeks to explain the process of comprehension by accounting for the covert psychological processes involved in understanding written or printed language. He traces this process as it involves the scanning of print and the cognitive operations involved in decoding the meaning of this print. In doing so, 247 Goodman takes into account the nature of language and the relationship between language structure and the particular thinking processes involved in understanding language. Hence, Goodman presents a highly unified model illustrating the structure of his theory of reading. Despite the com-plexity of his model, however, Goodman maintains that it is still inadequate to explain the complexities of the reading process (20:271) . The Venezky and Calfee Model Venezky and Calfee have developed a model describing their; theory of adult reading competence (37). Like Goodman, they attempt to deduce "a procedure for generating output from input, input being printed materials in English, and out-put being "a vagary called understanding" (37:273). These authors' theory of reading rests on their conceptualization of a highly integrated structure including three basic pro-cesses: "forward scanning" and "integration" leading to "comprehension". Two factors determine scanning—the general knowledge of the reader stored in his Integrated Knowledge Store (IKS), and his immediate knowledge obtained from the reading material and stored in his Temporary Know-ledge Store (TKS). Intermediate knowledge can take two forms, knowledge which is derived from the reading material 248 and which therefore creates "logical sets (expectancies) for particular words, phrases, or ideas," and knowledge which is closest to the eye's processing of a given time, "that is, intra-sentence, intra-phrase, or intra-word data that aid in the search for the LMUs" or "Largest Manageable Units" (56:273-277). During reading, simultaneous dual-processing occurs involving the "syntactic-semantic integration of what has just been scanned and forward scanning to locate the next LMU." The direction of this processing is undertaken by the "Control Unit" which "mediates between the various stores and the ongoing processes." The process of integra-tion involves "connecting isolated units to what has al-ready been picked up and generating new predictions about what will occur next." LMUs are defined as the "largest units that can be chunked rapidly." They can be phrases, words, letter strings, or single words. Venezky and Calfee hypothesize that as each LMU is initially identified, for-ward scanning continues while the LMU is positively identi-fied and integrated. If the initial identification is incorrect, there may be repetition of forward scanning. Word identification results from a search of the Associative Word Store (AWS) containing well-known words, or, if unsuc-cessful, a search of the Low Frequency Store (LFS). Failure 249 to immediately match a word produces subvocalization and rescanning (56:273-277). It is clear that in this proposed theory of reading, the scanning process occupies a central position. It is through scanning that the reader engages in what Venezky and Calfee call "attention tagging," the process of marking certain letters, letter-units, words, or phrases in order to indicate the degree of attention necessary to integrate them. Hence, integration involves the identification of tagged items, the relating of newly acquired material to what is already stored, and the predicting of what should be scanned next. Thus, the success a reader has in inte-grating what he reads determines the rapidity with which, scanning can progress. The balance between integration and scanning is also determined by the nature of the material read and the reader's purpose. In every case, however, the extent of scanning depends upon the identification of the Largest Manageable Unit (56:273-277). The components contained within Venezky and Calfee's model of reading are presented diagramatically in Figure 8. They also provide a verbal description of their model in note form. These notations are summarized as follows: 250 FIGURE 8 VENEZKY AND CALFEE'S SCHEMATIC OF READING MODEL 251 IKS (Integrated Knowledge Store): contains the most stable knowledge that the reader has: how reading works, sentence types, knowledge of the real and imaginary worlds, etc. ILS (Integrated Letter Store): contains, for the mature reader, stable information—information on letters and letter expectancies. TKS (Temporary Knowledge Store): contains integrated information about what is currently being read, obtained from the Scratch Pad Store (also part of the TKS). SPS (Scratch Pad Score): contains data needed to analyze either the current LMU being integrated or the next LMUs. AWS (Associative Word Store): contains the most frequent-ly encountered words and word parts with strong linkages to their semantic and syntactic functions, and to their pronunciations. LFS (Low Frequency Store): contains words that do not fit the AWS. (56:277-78) Venezky and Calfee emphasize that their model has been developed with heuristic intent. They explicitly set out the hypotheses suggested by their model and state that each of these hypotheses should be tested. They also freely allow that verification of their model will result in re-visions as new evidence comes to light. While recognizing the difficulties involved in investigating "processes... internal to the subject," they suggest research to answer such questions as whether the three stages of the reading process which they postulate actually exist and, if they do, how they operate. They also suggest research designed to determine whether or not the components of their model listed above exist. Put simply, Venezky and Calfee are not satisfied 252 to create a model and to leave it; they realize that model building provides a starting point for further experimental investigation. Similarities between Goodman's model and the model of Venezky and Calfee are immediately apparent. Both models view comprehension as the output of a communication system and printed language as the input. And both models seek to explain the intervening processes between this input and output. More particularly, both models envision com-prehension as based on a dynamic sampling process whereby the reader tentatively tests his choices of meaning against information which he brings to the selection stores in his memory. This process is presented in each model as involving both forward scanning and regressive movements as the reader tests his speculations concerning the meaning of the message being decoded. The key to both models therefore lies in their notion of decoding. Neither model extends beyond the simple acquisition of the message to include cri-tical or evaluative response. The two models di
UBC Theses and Dissertations
Reading comprehension to 1970 : its theoretical and empirical bases, and its implementation in secondary… Harker, William John 1971
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