Reading generates a mental representation, or gist, of the text, which serves as an evolving framework for understanding subsequent parts of the text. As we read further, we test this evolving meaning and monitor our understanding, paying attention to inconsistencies that arise as they interact with the text. We come to texts with purposes that guide our reading, taking a stance toward the text and responding to the ideas that take shape in the conversation between the text and the self.
Reading does not simply understand facts; rather it’s a complex process of problem solving in which the reader works to make sense of a text not just from the words and sentences on the page but also from the ideas, memories, and knowledge evoked by those words and sentences.
Reading is influenced by situational factors, among them the experiences readers have had with particular kinds of texts and reading for particular purposes. And just as so-called good or proficient readers do not necessarily read all texts with equal ease.