Reading, readability, and textual functions of comprehension questions
Questions used in reading comprehension tests have been discussed in terms of the forms they take, the kind of overt response required, and the level of comprehension they evoke. But very little has been said about the kinds of textual functions such questions involve. This paper explores the kinds of textual relations that must be understood in order to respond to various questions.
An understanding of what textual relations must be comprehended has ramifications for both the measurement of reading ability and of readability. The study of readability is concerned with the question: What makes one text more difficult to read (comprehend) than another? Traditionally the assessment of readability level has been based on formal linguistic factors. However, much of the information required for comprehending a written text is not encoded explicitly but is left implicit. It is suggested that implicitness may be a source of reading ease or difficulty.