The role of schemata in literacy

Viktória Gergelyová (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia)
Ildikó Vančo (Constantine the Philosopher University in Nitra, Slovakia)
Speakers: Viktória Gergelyová, Ildikó Vančo
Topic: Cognitive Anthropology and Language
COMELA 2022 General Session


The present study aims to assess, based on a functional cognitive approach, the reading comprehension skills of fourth-grade students living in a Hungarian minority situation in Slovakia and attending a minority school. The main question of the study is how existing schemata and background knowledge influence the process of reading comprehension in the native language. The research was conducted on a nationally representative sample with a total of 353 respondents attending primary schools with Hungarian as the language of instruction in Slovakia. The study analyzes the process of comprehension of a narrative text. In our study, we point out how existing schemata influence the process of reading comprehension. At several points, it can be seen that students tend to rely on their background knowledge when answering the questions, without considering the content of the text, and it can also be well observed how the existing schemata change during reading. The results obtained suggest that it is useful to consider the functional cognitive approach in teaching. These results have the potential to have an impact on further linguistic research on the assessment and development of reading comprehension skills.

Keywords: schemata, background knowledge, minority, narrative text, reading comprehension.