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Three Kinds of Reading Models

Based on the tehnique of reading process, the development of reading models can be classified into three phases: Bottom-up Model, Top-down Model, and Interactive Model.

1. Bottom-up 

Bottom-up Model came into being in 1960s, which emphasizes that readers, taking reading materials as information input, start from letters and words recognition and then combine information continuously to accomplish reading activity.  This model highlights that reading must be done in a fixed Sequence to get word meaning gradually and readers comprehend the reading materials mainly by language knowledge. In this model, readers’ implicit information, that is, one’s knowledge and life experience, is neglected and one’s active processing of information is not taken into consideration.

2. Top-down Model

During late 1960s and early 1970s, Goodman (1967) and Smith (1971) proposed a reading model based on psycholinguistics, named as “Top-down Model”. The model takes concept theory as basis, and points out that readers predict reading materials according to previous syntax and semantic knowledge and make confirmation and modification during reading process.  The model assumes that reading process is based on readers’ previous knowledge and is a circulating process of predicting, checking and confirming. Under the guidance of this model, students would pay too much attention to their previous knowledge, that is implicit information in the reading process and overlook basic language knowledge.

3. Interactive Model

In 1977, Rumelhart published Towards an Interactive Model of Reading, which holds that in fact reading process is a complicated “interaction” process of many types of language knowledge, including letters, words, syntactic patterns and semantic meaning etc., that is, interaction of direct and implicit information; language processing interacts at different levels . This model theory forms the basic of Schemata that represent strategies in the reading comprehension is beneficial for students.

 
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