In this article we will discuss about Comprehension. After reading this article you will learn about: 1. Meaning of Comprehension 2. Types of Comprehension.
Meaning of Comprehension:
Comprehension includes the correct association of meanings with word symbols, the selection of the correct meaning suggested by the context, the organisation and retention of meanings, the ability to reason one’s way through smaller ideas segments, and the ability to grasp, the meaning of a larger unitary idea.
Thorndikc (1971) describes reading comprehension simply as thinking. To comprehenced a pupil needs to understand language patterns, to recognise the structural elements composing a sentence and to perceive the syntactic inter relationship of these elements.
In other words, the pupil must understand syntax. Davis (1944, 1972) early noted that underlying comprehension are two general mental abilities, the ability to remember word meanings and the ability to reason with verbal concepts and hence with words. Comprehension is a thinking process, it is thinking through reading.
As such, it is dependent upon the leaders basic cognitive and intellectual skills, upon their background of experience and upon their language skills. Readers use their thinking and verbal reasoning skills to read for main idea for details, for organisation, for evaluation, and for appreciation.
Reading comprehension must involve an interaction between the readers world knowledge and the incoming messages. Over research investigations of reading comprehension focused on how much a person could remember after reading something.
If the person could correctly answer questions or restate parts of what was read, then it was assumed that comprehension had occurred. Today this concept of reading comprehension has been expanded to include not only how much is remembered but also a persons understanding of what was read.
In order to comprehend prose, the comprehender must obviously have knowledge of language. Linguistics have segregated this knowledge into different levels.
There is a phonemic level visual or acoustic input is recorded into basic speech sounds called phonemes.
There is a lexical levels, which roughly corresponds to words.
There is syntactic level, which includes a set of rules that specify how categories of word, are to be grouped or ordered.
There is a semantic level, which specified how the meanings of sentences are constructed. The meaning of a sentence is not simply the summation of the lexical meanings of the words in the sentences.
Fifth is a pragmatic level, which corresponds to the use of the language in dialogues and social interaction.
Learning to comprehend involves a complex of skills. Various writers have attempted to categorize these into three or four levels. Lanier and Davis (1972) in summarizing comprehension skills, categorize them as literal skills, interpretive skills, critical skills and creative skills.
Types of Comprehension:
1. Literal Comprehension:
Literal comprehension involves the processing of factual explicit stated information; Recall or recognition of main ideas, details sequences of events, comparison, character traits, and cause and effect relationship explicitly stated in a story are examples of literal level comprehension tasks.
Recall would require a child to furnish an idea or ideas stated by the experimenter. Recognition on the other hand would require the child to decide whether or not specific information was presented in the story. Recall questions arc usually more difficult to answer than recognition questions. A recall question calls for the student to produce response from remembering what was read.
In contrast recognition questions requires the reader to select a correct answer by recognizing it. We want children to be able to comprehend literal information presented in a story. Because such comprehensions lead to higher levels, they are important for forming representations.
However, we must keep in mind distinction between simple recall of information versus comprehension. If all we measured was children’s literal comprehension, our definition of comprehension as understanding ideas would not be met.
2. Inferential Comprehension:
The inferential comprehension level is when the reader infers meaning that goes beyond explicitly stated information. Similar to literal comprehension, inferential comprehension may be the inferring of main ideas, sequences, details, character traits, and so forth. The major difference is that this information is not explicitly stated. Children have to “read between the lines”, to comprehend at an inferential level.
The readers representation of ideas goes beyond recall of explicit text information. In some instances of inferential comprehension readers would probably elaborate on ideas and in other they might have to abstract them. Also it would seem necessary that these ideas must first be integrated and them used as a basis for making inferences.
Inference requires an integration of the context of a selection which alone can lead to inferences about the material. It involves a combination of conjecture and explanation based on a synthesis of the literal context, personal knowledge, intention, and imagination.
Inference can take the form of either convergent or divergent thoughts; convergent thinking is involved in such skills as identifying topic sentences, determining sequences and recalling details, it calls for some commonness of meaning or conveyance between writer and reader.
Convergent inferences cause the reader to come to a specific correct answer or an agreed upon hypotheses that may be verified through the data supplied by the writer. A divergent inference on the other hand, calls for imagination or creative thinking.
It is an inference that does not have to be judged as right or wrong. In divergent thinking the individual develops alternative answer, none of which is necessarily correct but none of which is in-correct either. Divergent thinking is a synonym for creative thinking.