Predictions depend on actively transforming knowledge.

We can say that without schemata that already exist in the mind of the reader/thinker, reading would not be possible.  Nevertheless, readers cannot rely solely on their own existing concepts and experiences when attempting to comprehend a text.  Communication would be severely restricted if they did so (Dechant, 1991).  Rather, readers must build on what they know and transform it as they read or engage in other ways with the world around them. As readers, we know how to make sense of difficult sentence structures, determine how the author organizes the text or story, or look for clues that might foreshadow future events in a narrative.  It’s just that we don’t necessarily think consciously about doing it, but we are able to do so indirectly. In this way, just as you did by examining words that contain the Latin “ver” you were able to construct an increasingly veridical understanding of that term.  As you increasingly bring appropriate schemata to bear and gather new information from reading, you reduce uncertainty by making predictions about the word.

The key, then, becomes teaching our students to be more precise in how they predict by making more efficient use of their knowledge or memory.  Predicting is a cognitive procedure that is built on both declarative and procedural knowledge, and while it is common for people to predict the uncertain nature of their world, doing so with precision can be taught—precision that will allow students to become expert at predicting.

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