Home > General Overview of the Competency Model > Classes of Literacy Activities> Integrate - Discourse Comprehension

Literate people have the ability to read a document and build a mental model of its content and structure. This kind of discourse comprehension enables people to integrate the ideas that appear in a text into a coherent mental model that allows them to understand how all the pieces of the text fit together to achieve some specific purpose.

In reading theory, this process is referred to as constructing a situation model, but here we only include the kinds of thinking needed to make sense of the text—a canonical situation model, covering what any competent reader will automatically infer about what the text means.

Building a canonical situation model will draw upon social awareness, background knowledge, and inferencing skills to build a coherent understanding of the text, but such a model is unlikely to require interpretive or creative leaps (unless the author is particularly inconsiderate or incoherent). This skill involves the kinds of inference typically referred to as bridging inference and calls upon more active forms of text interpretation only as required to achieve a coherent representation of the text. Strategies that support this kind of reasoning are indicated in the first column of the table of discourse comprehension and planning strategies.

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