Defining Deep Reading Comprehension for Diverse Readers

Laura K. Allen, Danielle S. McNamara

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

5 Scopus citations


This chapter focuses on the notion of the deep comprehension of text and discourse, and what it means across a broad range of diverse readers. We discuss theoretical models of comprehension and levels of comprehension, focusing in particular on the distinction between surface and deep comprehension. This distinction is discussed with respect to four groups of readers: Adolescent and adult readers, younger developing readers, second language (L2) learners, and adult literacy learners. Most theories of comprehension assume that comprehension occurs at all levels of comprehension, and deeper comprehension is associated with a more coherent mental representation. Such a model leads to the conclusion that readers should be encouraged to use metacognitive reading strategies even at early stages of learning to read. However, there are implementation and translation gaps between theories of comprehension and educational practice. As a consequence, educational practice often emphasizes a linear sequence of skill development, focusing on word decoding first, and then focusing on higher order strategies only after word and sentence decoding are fully developed. Potential solutions for bridging gaps between reading researchers and to practice are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Reading Research, Volume V
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781317384779
ISBN (Print)9781138937369
StatePublished - Jun 2 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


Dive into the research topics of 'Defining Deep Reading Comprehension for Diverse Readers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this