Text Relevance and Learning from Text

Edited by:
Matthew T. McCrudden, Victoria University of Wellington
Joseph P. Magliano, Northern Illinois University
Gregory Schraw, University of Nevada - Las Vegas

Published 2011

Why do people from similar backgrounds who read the same text construct different meanings? Is there a question behind every reading goal, such that reading is an interactive process of asking and answering of questions? Do people who believe that knowledge is dynamic construct meaning differently than those who believe that knowledge is certain? This volume addresses questions such as these and presents cutting edge research and theory that explores how readers determine text relevance (i.e., the different values they assign to information as they read), how relevance affects understanding, and the implications of these studies for theories of text comprehension.

This volume documents in a compelling manner the ongoing international effort to understand how text relevance affects reading and comprehension. Contributing authors represent major academic institutions on three continents and nine countries, demonstrating the multinational interest in text relevance. Why is there so much interest in text relevance? Learners are inundated with unprecedented amounts of information, and increased research regarding how readers process non-traditional texts (e.g., documents on the web) and multiple documents, for example, underscores the importance of understanding how readers determine the relevance of text information for personal, academic, or professional goals, which can enable educators to design learning situations that help learners get the most out of reading.

Relevance in Text Comprehension, Matthew T. McCrudden, Joseph P. Magliano, and Gregory Schraw. Relevance Processes in Multiple Document Comprehension, Jean-François Rouet and M. Anne Britt. Questions Drive Comprehension of Text and Multimedia, Art Graesser and Blair Lehman. Interweaving Memory-Based Processes into the Goal-Focusing Model of Text Relevance, Karla A. Lassonde, Emily R. Smith, and Edward J. O’Brien. The Role of Different Task Instructions and Reader Characteristics when Learning from Multiple Expository Texts, Ivar Bråten, Laura Gil, and Helge I. Strømsø. When a Reader Meets a Text: The Role of Standards of Coherence in Reading Comprehension, Paul van den Broek, Catherine M. Bohn-Gettler, Panayiota Kendeou, Sarah Carlson, and Mary Jane White. Focusing Effects from Online and Offline Reading Tasks, David N. Rapp and Michael C. Mensink. Identifying Relevance in Mathematical Word Problems and in Non-Mathematical Texts: Similarities and Differences, Joan Littlefield Cook. The Effects of Reading Purpose on Advanced Readers, Tracy Linderholm, Heekyung Kwon, and Xuesong Wang. Online Processing of and Memory for Perspective-Relevant and Irrelevant Text Information, Johanna K. Kaakinen and Jukka Hyönä. The Relevance of Purpose: Why Purpose Situates Relevance Instructions, Crystal M. Ramsay and Rayne A. Sperling. Individual Differences in Task-Oriented Reading, Eduardo Vidal Abarca, Ladislao Salmerón, and Amelia Mañá. Question-Driven Processing in Single and Multiple Texts, Raquel Cerdán, Laura Gil, and Eduardo Vidal Abarca. Reader Expectations of Question Formats and Difficulty: Targeting the Zone, Danielle S. McNamara and Kyle Dempsey. Clarifying Goals of Reading for Understanding from Expository Science Text, Jennifer Wiley, Ivan K. Ash, Christopher A. Sanchez, and Allison Jaeger. What We Have Been Missing: The Role of Goals in Reading Comprehension, Panayiota Kendeou, Catherine Bohn-Gettler, and Sandra Fulton. Toward an Integrated View of Relevance in Text Comprehension, Matthew T. McCrudden, Joseph P. Magliano, and Gregory Schraw. About the Contributors.