After a brief commentary on the overall importance of knowledge to language comprehension ability, learning, and memory, this chapter then goes on to describe in more detail the elements that contribute to language comprehension. Language comprehension is one of the two essential components for learning to read in the Simple View of Reading. The other is word recognition, which was covered in Chapter 3. Similar to the previous chapter that emphasized word recognition, this chapter presents the skills, elements, and components of language comprehension using the framework of the Simple View of Reading. The Simple View is a representative model explaining that during reading both word recognition and language comprehension coordinate to produce skillful reading comprehension, and it also portrays the many elements that combine to build each component. Each element that ultimately contributes to strategic language comprehension is described, and an explanation of its importance along with suggested instructional activities is provided.

Learning Objectives

After reading this chapter, readers will be able to

  1. discuss the importance of knowledge for language comprehension, learning, and memory;
  2. explain the underlying elements of language comprehension;
  3. identify instructional activities to provide and activate background knowledge, teach vocabulary, and teach language structures;
  4. discuss how the underlying elements of language comprehension contribute to successful reading comprehension.