Abstract—Readers construct meaning from clues found in a text which is related to the use of background knowledge in understanding the content of the passage. Reading is an interactive process in which readers construct a meaningful representation of text using their schemata. Schema theory describes the process by which readers combine their own background knowledge with the information in a text to comprehend that text. All readers carry different schemata (background information). This is an important concept in EFL teaching and reading tasks are designed to activate the learners’ schemata. While it has been known for some time that both content and formal schemata are necessary for a complete understanding of written texts in a reader’s first language (L1), and has been suspected to be true in a reader’s second language (L2), it is still an area that has been ignored by both researchers and classroom teachers. The first goal of this paper is to define the terms reading, reading comprehension, schema, schema theory. The second goal is to review the nature of second language reading. The third goal is to discuss reading activities. The fourth goal is to review research on text familiarity and reading comprehension. The fifth goal is to give a brief overview of some of the literature that deals with schema theory as part of a reader centered psycholinguistic processing model for both native and nonnative readers. The sixth goal is related to the analysis of content schema and its role in L1 L2 reading comprehension. The seventh goal is pertinent to the activation of content schema. The last goal is to discuss the situation of schema theory in EFL reading comprehension, and implications of schema theory in L2 classrooms.
Index Terms—Reading comprehension, familiarity, schema theory, content schema
Pourhosein Gilakjani is the Faculty Member of the Islamic Azad
University of Lahijan, Iran.
Ahmadi is studying M.A. in Computer Engineering at the USM, Malaysia.
Cite: Abbas Pourhosein Gilakjani, and Seyedeh Masoumeh Ahmadi, "The Relationship between L2 Reading Comprehension and Schema Theory: A Matter of Text Familiarity," International Journal of Information and Education Technology vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 142-149, 2011.