ERIC Number: ED263532
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1985-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Discourse Structure and Mental Models. Technical Report No. 343.
Bock, J. Kathryn; Brewer, William F.
Discourse comprehension involves readers or listeners in constructing mental models using local text information, global text structures, and their general knowledge of the world. An analysis of the literature on children's understanding of spoken discourse reveals that young children are capable of forming mental models from texts, but that their overall level of comprehension may be reduced by factors such as limited general knowledge, inexperience in constructing certain types of mental models, unfamiliarity with particular global text structures, difficulty in understanding anaphoric expressions, and constraints on memory. Differences between written texts and the spoken discourse that children have mastered when they begin school have the potential to exacerbate their comprehension problems. Written text taps a wider range of general knowledge, shows different forms of discourse organization, uses different anaphoric devices, and provides less contextual support than spoken discourse. The major hurdle in the acquisition of discourse comprehension skills may be expository prose. Since more of the knowledge that students are expected to acquire in school is conveyed in that format, facility in dealing with expository discourse represents a crucial step in the development of text understanding. (HOD)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.