Deb Smith (who has shared a number of the resources at ReadingLady.com) describes it as follows, quoting from Harvey and Goudvis' Strategies That Work, which is a great comprehension text.
“Synthesizing is the most complex of the comprehension strategies. Synthesizing lies on a continuum of evolving thinking. Synthesizing runs the gamut from taking stock of meaning while reading to achieving new insight. Introducing the strategy of synthesizing in reading, then primarily involves teaching the reader to stop every so often and think about what she has read. Each piece of additional information enhances the reader’s understanding and allows her to better construct meaning .” (page 144)
“We need to explicitly teach our students to take stock of meaning while they read and use
it to help their thinking evolve, perhaps leading to new insight, perhaps not, but enhancing
understanding in the process. To nudge readers toward synthesis, we encourage them to
interact personally with the text. Personal response gives readers an opportunity to
explore their evolving thinking. Synthesizing information integrates the words and ideas in the text with the reader’s personal thoughts and questions and gives the reader the best
shot at achieving new insight.” (page 144-145)
Synthesizing modes of instruction and the Conditions of Learning.
Looking at the Conditions for Learning against the backdrop of the Teaching-Learning Cycle.
Really trying to put together teacher and learner roles, with conditions, learning theories, instructional modes ... and a flower.
Boy, they were a good class. I'm going to miss them!