ERIC Number: ED333438
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990
Reference Count: N/A
Reading and Understanding Literature. Report Series 4.5.
Finding meaning in an ordinary prose text and following a description or argument is generally considered less difficult than finding the essential message in a literary text. Sometimes, however, the emotional impact makes it easier for some readers with some texts to see and understand the meaning of some literary texts. Research from the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA) suggests that differences in comprehension between high- and low-achieving students are much less in literature than in reading comprehension. Other studies showing declines in reading comprehension over time do not indicate corresponding declines in results for literature. A student may be aware that a literary work has affected him or her emotionally in some way, but may not be able to say how. The student's understanding of the text has been achieved through a synthetic, seemingly effortless grasp of the words' impact, rather than through an analytic approach. Studies suggest that despite age, education, and reading experience differences, differing groups of readers have similar abilities to create meanings early in the reading process, and to organize and observe these meanings. But groups differ when asked to describe or interpret literary works. Synthetic and incompletely verbalized understandings run the risk of being overlooked in teaching and in research. (Four figures are included.) (SG)
Descriptors: Difficulty Level, Emotional Response, Foreign Countries, Literature Appreciation, Reader Text Relationship, Reading Comprehension, Reading Processes, Reading Research, Secondary Education
Literature Center, University of Albany, Ed B-9, 1400 Washington Ave., Albany, NY 12222 ($3.00 prepaid; checks payable to the Research Foundation of SUNY).
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Endowment for the Arts, Washington, DC.; Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center for the Learning and Teaching of Literature, Albany, NY.
Identifiers - Location: Sweden