Schemata and reading comprehension


  • José Luiz Meurer UFSC


t school, and also after formal schooling takes place, the acquisition of new knowledge is in great measure dependent on reading comprehension. The total task of understanding written discourse depends on the distribution of information in the printed text, and on the voluntary and automatic activation of information or "schemata" in the reader's mind. Thus, what different readers 'comprehend' of a given text may vary considerably. Reading comprehension is a function of the nature of the text itself and of the extent to which the reader possesses, uses, and integrates pertinent background knowledge, or schemata. Schemata can be loosely defined as patterns which represent the way experinece and knowledge are organized in the mind. The schema for a concept like "break", for instance, will have associated with it at least the variables "breaker", "the thing broken", "the method or' instrument" for the action of breaking, and the notion of "causing something to change into a different state" (Rumelhart and Ortony 1977). Schemata constitute a powerful means used by readers in understanding information which is both explicit and implicit in texts. As an illustration, let us say that we read (or hear) the following sentences: "The Karate champion broke the cinder block" (Brewer 1977:3).

Biografia do Autor

José Luiz Meurer, UFSC

Atualmente é professor titular da Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina e exerce a função de Coordenador do Programa de Pós-Graduação em Inglês. Possui graduação em Letras - Licenciatura em Português / Inglês pela Faculdade Católica de Filosofia, Ciência e Letras de Bagé (1972), mestrado em Letras (Inglês e Literatura Correspondente) pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (1978), mestrado em Lingüística - Georgetown University (1981) e doutorado em Lingüística - Georgetown University (1985).

Mais informações: Currículo Lattes - CNPq.