Archived InformationState of the Art: Reading - November 1993
(Paris, Wasik, and Turner 1991, p. 635)
Inferencing is the process of reaching conclusions based on information within the text and is the cornerstone of constructing meaning. Inferencing includes making predictions using prior knowledge combined with information available from text. Identifying important information is the process of finding critical facts and details in narrative (e.g., stories) or expository (e.g., informational) text. The task of identifying important information in narrative text differs from that of identifying important information in expository text because the structures of the text are different. However, students can be taught strategies for approaching each type of text. Monitoring is a metacognitive or self-awareness process that expert constructors of meaning use to help themselves overcome problems as they read. For example, when good readers have difficulty understanding a paragraph, they become aware of the problem and stop immediately to "fix" it by employing a strategy such as rereading. Summarizing is a process that involves pulling together important information gathered from a long passage of text. Question generating involves readers asking themselves questions they want answered from reading that require them to integrate information while they read.
These five strategies for constructing meaning are based on
substantial research. Many studies in which nonexpert readers were
trained to use these strategies have shown very promising results
(Palincar and Brown 1984; Baumann 1984; Rinehart et al. 1986;
Pressley et al. 1991; 1992). Effective teachers incorporate these
strategies into their ongoing literacy instruction. When modeling
these strategies, they treat them as a set of devices for
constructing meaning instead of as independent activities that are
isolated from the literacy context.