Literacy: From the Perspective of Text and Discourse Theory

Journal of Language and Education, 2019, 5(3), 56-69. doi: 10.17323/jle.2019.10196

14 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2020

See all articles by Danielle S. McNamara

Danielle S. McNamara

Arizona State University (ASU)

Rod Roscoe

Arizona State University (ASU)

Laura Allen

University of New Hampshire

Renu Balyan

Arizona State University (ASU)

Kathryn S. McCarthy

Georgia State University

Date Written: September 30, 2019

Abstract

Literacy is a critically important and contemporary issue for educators, scientists, and politicians. Efforts to overcome the challenges associated with illiteracy, and the subsequent development of literate societies, are closely related to those of poverty reduction and sustainable human development. In this paper, the authors examine literacy from the lens of text and discourse theorists who focus on the higher-order comprehension processes involved in literacy. Discourse processing models make the assumption that comprehension emerges from the construction of a mental model of the text, which relies on the reader generating inferences to connect ideas within the text and to what the reader already knows. The article provides a broad overview of the theoretical models that drive research on text comprehension and production, as well as how this research shapes literacy instruction and effective interventions. The authors focus on two interventions with proven success in improving deep comprehension and writing, iSTART and the Writing Pal. Increasing literacy across the world call for a greater focus on theory driven strategy interventions to be integrated within classrooms and community at large.

Keywords: literacy, reading, writing, discourse theory, comprehension, strategies, interventions

Suggested Citation

McNamara, Danielle S. and Roscoe, Rod and Allen, Laura and Balyan, Renu and McCarthy, Kathryn S., Literacy: From the Perspective of Text and Discourse Theory (September 30, 2019). Journal of Language and Education, 2019, 5(3), 56-69. doi: 10.17323/jle.2019.10196, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3511752

Danielle S. McNamara (Contact Author)

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Rod Roscoe

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Laura Allen

University of New Hampshire ( email )

15 College Road
Durham, NH 03824
United States

Renu Balyan

Arizona State University (ASU) ( email )

Farmer Building 440G PO Box 872011
Tempe, AZ 85287
United States

Kathryn S. McCarthy

Georgia State University ( email )

35 Broad Street
Atlanta, GA 30303-3083
United States

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