Home > General Overview of the Competency Model > Classes of Literacy Activities > Comprehend - Literal Meaning


Literate people have the ability to understand the explicit meaning of a text; that is, the ability to extract literal meaning. This skill supports the construction of a literal understanding of the text that can be read off directly from the phrases and sentences that it contains. If a text is competently constructed, it will communicate the same propositions to any competent reader. However, success at this level does not guarantee that readers will be able to build coherent situation models that integrate this textual content with what they already know.

In reading theory, the reader who exercises this skill is said to be building a text base, a complete model of the propositions communicated by the text. This kind of understanding depends upon the words used and the precise grammatical structure of the text. At high levels of skill, people are sensitive to the differences in meaning made by lexical and grammatical choices and interpret texts on the assumption that an author's lexical and grammatical choices were deliberate and considered.




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