Reading Comprehension and Text Organization

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This book examines reading comprehension processes from a psychological standpoint, and considers the affect of cultural predilections on meaning. It examines a wide range of topics, including bilingualism, reading theory, contrastive rhetoric, and the influence on reading of learning styles and educational traditions. Although essentially using a psychological/cognitive interpretation of reading comprehension, the book nevertheless draws many threads from the cultural practices of readers themselves and provides conclusions as to the nature of contrastive rhetoric and the effect of culture, thinking and meaning on reading comprehension.


“[This work] analyses the interaction between psychological and cognitive processes involved in reading, and cultural and educational values…..offer[s] fascinating and valuable insights for teachers involved in foreign or second language education….this book is commendable for its insights into the complex nature of reading and the interactions of language, culture, and education, as well as the complexity of investigating reading behavior.” – Reading in a Foreign Language Journal, Oct 2003

“Dr. Sharp’s book provides a thorough and highly accessible discussion of reading comprehension theory and the complexities of reading assessment. . . . Cross-cultural investigations of this kind into the practical problems of reading texts in English are of crucial importance at a time when English is fast becoming a lingua franca and the teaching profession stands in need of assistance in addressing the important role of the reading habit in the learning process. This is an intelligent and well-organized book on an important subject for theorists and those involved in experimental work in reading comprehension in first and second language learning environments.” – Barry Asker

“A fascinating exploration of the effects of Chinese rhetorical patterns and learning style on the comprehension of English text. This book makes a valuable contribution to our understanding of teaching and learning in multilingual settings.” – V. K. Edwards

Table of Contents

Table of contents (main headings):
Preface; Introduction
1. Hong Kong: bilingualism and biliteracy
2. Reading and text difficulty
3. cultural differences in rhetorical preferences
4. Is there a Chinese learning style?
5. Studying reading behavior
6. Methodology: the preparation of texts and tests
7. Results of the reading tests in three Hong Kong schools
8. Discussion of experimental results: factors which influence rhetorical structure as a feature of comprehension
9. Conclusion
Appendices; References; Index