The Interactive Model of Reading recognizes that effective reading instruction requires a focus on overall language skills related to letter and letter-sounding knowledge (surface structure cueing systems) and background knowledge, vocabulary, and sharing and applying meaning (deep structure cueing systems).
Surface Structure Systems (the sensory portion of reading)
- Grapho-phonic (letter-sound knowledge): Students/readers decode texts through surface structure letter-sound connections.
- Lexical (word knowledge): Students/readers build a reservoir of words to use in reading and building a lexicon.
- Syntactic (structure of language): Students/readers use structures at word-, sentence- and full-text levels for meaning.
Deep Structure Systems (the thinking portion of reading)
- Semantic (meaning; vocabulary knowledge): Students/readers engage in reading to develop meaning, concepts, and language.
- Schematic (background knowledge): Students/readers use what they know to support new learning.
- Pragmatic (social construction of knowledge): Students/readers use each other and the classroom environment to remember and extend what is read.
How a reader accesses the systems is dependent upon the reader, the context, and the text. And two of the systems, schematic and pragmatic, allow readers opportunities to bring what they know to reading and then interact with others to build meaning and memory.