Home > Strategies and Skill Development > Conceptual Strategy Families > Clarification > Literature Note - Clarification

What we are terming clarification is a complex of skills that begin with the ability to deal with the literal content of text and extend beyond it, to the drawing of bridging and elaborative inferences that enrich the reader's representation of text content by constructing a detailed (probably purpose-driven and highly contextualized) model of the situation or conceptual content referenced by the text. This complex of skills is critical in text comprehension (Cain, Oakhill, Barnes, & Bryant, 2001), and differentially engaged depending on the reader's purpose (Narvaez, van den Broek, & Ruiz, 1999). The ability to create such inferences is of course critically dependent on prior knowledge, but as McNamara and O'Reilly (2009) concluded, people can learn to apply metacognitive strategies to generate richer inferences and thus can improve their comprehension of text.

Cain, K., Oakhill, J. V., Barnes, M. A., & Bryant, P. E. (2001). Comprehension skill, inference-making ability, and their relation to knowledge. Memory and Cognition 29(6), 850-859.

McNamara, T. S., & O'Reilly, T. (2009). Theories of comprehension skill: Knowledge and strategies versus capacity and suppression. In F. Columbus (Ed.), Progress in experimental psychology research (pp. 113-136). Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science.

Narvaez, D.; van den Broek, P., & Ruiz, A.B. (1999). The influence of reading purpose on inference generation and comprehension in reading. Journal of Educational Psychology 91(3), 488-496.

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