Then, what are the structures of knowledge (and
the structures of text, the genres, which reflect them)?
And to what depth need the NN reader know these
structures (or know of them)?
A wide variety of knowledge frameworks (typologies of
knowledge structures) have been proposed in recent
research. A few provocative examples are described
briefly below; each is suitable for some combination of
reader background, reader maturity and the kinds of text
the reader is learning to read. The balance of manageable
simplicity and sufficient detail of typology varies
greatly among these frameworks.
Meyer (1985) proposes a set of five 'top-level'
rhetorical structures in order to systematize the
structure of the major expository text genres:
collection or list, description,
causal, comparative, problem/solution
In his extended discussion of the use of "key
graphics" to support reading comprehension, Mohan (1986)
proposed a knowledge structure (reflecting a parallel
structure necessarily found in language) composed of
three theoretical structures paired with three practical
Description - Classification;
Sequence - Principles; Choice - Evaluation
Jonassen (1996), in his chapter on semantic networking
(also known as concept mapping), uses a more open, visual
approach to knowledge structuring.
Systemic functional linguistics, for example Butt
(1995), identifies "text types" by function:
narrative, recount, information
report, discussion, explanation, exposition,
Each text type has certain obligatory or common
language structure and knowledge structure elements, and
as such constitutes a genre. The systemic functional
linguistics approach has been widely implemented into
language education in Australia.
A number of such structure systems have been proposed,
but the important points are that there are such
rhetorical structures, and that knowledge structure and
language structure recognition are fundamental to text
comprehension. How structures/genres are named and
categorized is not as important as the reader's awareness
of ability to recognize various genre and anticipate the
knowledge structure represented by each.