Higher Order Thinking in Comprehension

Authored by: Danielle S. McNamara , Matthew E. Jacovina , Laura K. Allen

Handbook of Individual Differences in Reading

Print publication date:  September  2015
Online publication date:  August  2015

Print ISBN: 9780415658874
eBook ISBN: 9780203075562
Adobe ISBN: 9781135120931


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Reading is a pervasive activity in the classroom, as well as in everyday activities: comprehending text and discourse is crucial to success and survival in the modern world. Nonetheless, many students struggle to understand text at even a basic level, and even more fail to construct deep level understandings of content. Particularly for complex academic texts, students may understand individual words and sentences; yet, they frequently fail to comprehend the underlying meaning of the material, have little memory for the content, and struggle to learn from the texts. As a result, one goal of educators and reading researchers has been to optimize conditions such that readers engage in the higher level cognitive processes that aid in the construction of coherent, interconnected, and elaborated mental representations of content material. At the heart of this objective is the notion that students should engage in higher order thinking in order to understand material at deep levels (which is conducive to learning).

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