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Efficient reading skills

Reading involves the use of the eyes and the brain. In order to read fast, you
need to use more of your brain. Reading fast means reading efficiently. This
means not wasting time and using your eyes and brain together well. To do
this, you need to read purposefully and interactively.

Reading is purposeful. The way you read something will depend on your
purpose. You read different texts in different ways. In everyday life, you
usually know why you are reading, you have a question and you read to find
the answer. You usually know your way around your favourite newspaper, so
if you want to know the sports results, you go straight to the correct page, or if
you want to know what is on television tonight, you go straight to the television
page. You do not start on the first page. When you read a novel, it is different.
You start at the beginning and slowly move towards the end. In academic
reading, you need to be flexible when you read - you may need to read quickly
to find relevant sections, then read carefully when you have found what you
want. General efficient reading strategies such as scanning to find the book or
chapter, skimming to get the gist and careful reading of important passages
are necessary as well as learning about how texts are structured in your

Reading is an interactive process - it is a two-way process. As a reader you
are not passive but active. This means you have to work at constructing the
meaning from the marks on the paper, which you use as necessary. You
construct the meaning using your knowledge of the language, your subject
and the world, continually predicting and assessing. MacLachlan & Reid
(1994, pp. 3-4) talk about interpretive framing, which is essential in order to
understand what you are reading. They discuss four types of framing:

• Extratextual framing - using information outside the text, your

background knowledge and experience, to understand texts.
• Intratextual framing - making use of cues from the text, such as
headings and sub-headings and referential words such as "this" and
"that" to understand texts.
• Intertextual framing - making connections with other texts you are
reading to help to understand your text.
• Circumtextual framing - using information from the cover of the book,
title, abstract, references etc. to understand the text.

You need to be active all the time when you are reading and use all the
information that is available. It is useful, therefore, before you start reading to
try to actively remember what you know, and do not know, about the subject
and as you are reading to formulate questions based on the information you
have. All the information given above can be used to help you formulate
question to keep you interacting.

Useful skills are:

• Scanning to locate specifically required information.

• Surveying a text.
• Using the title. Sometimes you have to make quick decisions based on
the title.
• Skimming a text to get an overall impression. Skimming is useful when
you want to survey a text to get a general idea of what it is about.

An Introduction to Reading Comprehension

[Teacher Tools] [Research] [Case Studies] [Online Collaboration]

What is reading comprehension?

Reading comprehension is the process of constructing meaning from text. The goal of all reading
instruction is ultimately targeted at helping a reader comprehend text. Reading comprehension involves at
least two people: the reader and the writer. The process of comprehending involves decoding the writer's
words and then using background knowledge to construct an approximate understanding of the writer's

What factors affect reading comprehension?

While word identification is a process that results in a fairly exact outcome (i.e., a student either reads the
word "automobile" or not) the process of comprehending text is not so exact. Different readers will
interpret an author's message in different ways. Comprehension is affected by the reader's knowledge of
the topic, knowledge of language structures, knowledge of text structures and genres, knowledge of
cognitive and metacognitive strategies, their reasoning abilities, their motivation, and their level of

Reading comprehension is also affected by the quality of the reading material. Some writers are better
writers than others, and some writers produce more complex reading material than others. Text that is
well organized and clear is called "considerate text," and text that is poorly organized and difficult to
understand can be called "inconsiderate text." The more inconsiderate the text, the more work will be
required of a reader to comprehend the text. Readers who do not have the background, abilities, or
motivation to overcome the barriers presented in inconsiderate text will have more difficulty
comprehending these types of texts.
Students who had trouble learning to decode and recognize words often will have difficulty with reading
comprehension. Students who struggle with decoding rarely have a chance to interact with more difficult
text and often learn to dislike reading. As a result, these students do not have sufficient opportunities to
develop the language skills and strategies necessary for becoming proficient readers.

Readers with poorly developed language skills and strategies will not have the tools to take advantage of
the obvious structures and comprehension cues that are part of considerate text nor will they have the
extra tools needed to overcome the barriers of inconsiderate text.

The type of instruction that a student receives will also affect reading comprehension. Strategies for
improving reading comprehension must be taught directly by teachers. Simply providing opportunities or
requiring for children to read will not teach many students the comprehension strategies they need to be
proficient readers. These need to be taught directly as students learn to read simple sentences and this
direct instruction needs to continue in different forms throughout a student's elementary and secondary
school experience.

What are the different components of teaching reading comprehension?

There are many ways to think about reading comprehension and many factors that affect reading
comprehension. Teachers should keep in mind two overriding questions about how to organize how to
teach reading comprehension. These questions are, "What strategies should I teach?" and "How should I
teach strategies?"

What strategies should I teach? The most practical way of thinking about teaching reading
comprehension is to organize instruction according to how you want students to think about strategies.
For this reason, the most straightforward way of organizing comprehension strategies is to think about
strategies that one might use before reading, during reading, and after reading.

Before Reading Strategies consist of those strategies that a student learns to use to get ready to
read a text selection. These strategies help the student get an idea of what the author might be trying to
say, how the information might be useful, and to create a mental set that might be useful for taking in and
storing information. These strategies could include previewing headings, surveying pictures, reading
introductions and summaries, creating a pre-reading outline, creating questions that might need to be
answered, making predictions that need to be confirmed, etc. The primary question for a teacher here is:
"What steps (observable as well as unobservable) should I teach students to do regularly and
automatically that will prepare them in advance to get the most out of a reading selection that needs to be
read more thoroughly?"

When a teacher introduces a reading selection to students, walks students through the text, helps the
students get ready to read through the use of advance organizers, or creates pre-reading outlines, he/she
is ensuring content learning by compensating for the fact that students have not developed good Before-
Reading Strategies. Teachers will need to continue to lead students in these types of before-reading
activities to ensure content area learning occurs until students have been taught to fluently use Before-
Reading Strategies. Teacher use of before-reading prompts and activities does not necessarily lead
students to develop and use Before-Reading Strategies independently without direct and explicit
instruction. This is why it is important to directly teach and provide practice that gradually requires
students to use Before-Reading strategies.

During Reading Strategies consist of those strategies that students learn to use while they are
reading a text selection. These strategies help the student focus on how to determine what the author is
actually trying to say and to match the information with what the student already knows. These strategies
should be influenced by the Before Reading Strategies because students should be using or keeping in
mind the previews, outlines, questions, predictions, etc. that were generated before reading and then
using this information to digest what they are reading. The During Reading Strategies that help a student
understand during reading include questioning, predicting, visualizing, paraphrasing, elaborating (i.e.,
comparing what is read to what is known), changing reading rate, rereading, etc. The primary question for
a teacher is: "What steps (observable and unobservable) should I teach students to do so that they will
regularly and automatically figure out the intended meaning of the text and how it connects to what they
already know?"

When a teacher develops reading guides and outlines that need to be completed during reading,
requires students to ask and answer questions, creates summaries as they read, etc., they are
compensating for the fact that students have not developed good During-Reading Strategies. Teachers
will need to continue to lead students in these types of during-reading activities to ensure content area
learning occurs until students are taught to fluently use Before-Reading Strategies. Teacher use of
during-reading prompts and activities does not necessarily lead students to develop and use During-
Reading Strategies independently without direct and explicit instruction. This is why it is important to
directly teach and provide practice that gradually requires students to use During-Reading strategies.

After-Reading Strategies consist of those strategies that students learn to use when they have
completed reading a text selection. These strategies are used to help the student "look back" and think
about the message of the text and determine the intended or possible meanings that might be important.
These strategies are used to follow up and confirm what was learned (e.g., answer questions or confirm
predictions) from the use of before and during reading strategies. However, After-Reading Strategies also
help the reader to focus on determining what the big, critical, or overall idea of the author's message was
and how it might be used before moving on to performance tasks or other learning tasks. The primary
question for a teacher is: "What steps (observable and unobservable) should I teach students to do so
that they will regularly and automatically stop when they are finished reading a text selection and try to
figure out the intended meaning of the text to determine what is most important and how they will use it?"

When a teacher reviews a reading selection, leads a discussion on what was important about the
author's message, helps students summarize or "look back" at what was read, provides a post-organizer,
or asks students to complete a study guide over what was learned from reading text, the teacher is
compensating for the fact that students have not developed good After-Reading Strategies. Teachers will
need to continue to lead students in these types of before reading-activities to ensure content area
learning occurs until students have been taught to fluently use After-Reading Strategies. Teacher use of
after-reading prompts and activities does not necessarily lead students to develop and use After-Reading
Strategies independently without direct and explicit instruction. This is why it is important to directly teach
and provide practice that gradually requires students to use After-Reading strategies.

What are some examples of specific strategies?Some examples of strategies are listed below. Some
of these strategies could be used in all three categories. For example, questioning could be listed in the
before, during, and after reading categories. Summarization could be listed as both during and after
reading strategies. These are grouped based on where the greatest amount of instruction needs to take

Before-Reading Strategies
Before Reading Self-questioning
During-Reading Strategies
During Reading Self-questioning
Paragraph Summarization
Section Summarization
After-Reading Strategies
After Reading Self-questioning
After Reading Summarization

How do you teach comprehension strategies?

A majority of the research indicates that the most successful way to teach comprehension strategies to
students with limited reading proficiency is to use very direct and explicit instruction. The stages of
instruction that are most often cited as being effective in helping a student learn a strategy are: (1) orient
students to key concepts, assess, and ask students to make a commitment to learn, (2) describe the
purpose of the strategy, the potential benefits, and the steps of the strategy, (3) model (thinking aloud) the
behavioral and cognitive steps/actions involved in using the strategy, (4) lead verbal practice and
elaboration of the key information and steps related to the strategy, (5) provide for guided and controlled
practice of the strategy with detailed feedback from the teacher and/or knowledgeable peers, (6) gradually
move to more independent and advanced practice of the strategy with feedback from the teacher and/or
knowledgeable peers, and (7) posttest application of the strategy, and help students make commitments
to generalize its use. Once the strategy is learned, the teacher must then ensure that students begin to
transfer or generalize the strategy to new and different situations. The eighth stage, generalization,
includes four distinct phases: (1) orientation and awareness of situations in which the strategy can be
used, (2) activation by preparing for and practicing strategies in content-area classes, (3) adaptation of
the strategy steps for use in other tasks, and (4) maintenance of the strategy for continued application in a
variety of real-life learning and work place settings.

What are the key principles of reading instruction?

• Teach reading comprehension skills and strategies at all levels of reading development.
Teachers at every grade level and every subject area should always be planning how reading
assignments will help students develop and practice skills and strategies. Students need teachers
to teach and draw attention to appropriate strategy use in textbooks, especially in content areas
where there are many reading demands (e.g., language, social studies, and often science). A
reading comprehension skill is a developed ability to construct meaning effectively, immediately,
and effortlessly with little conscious attention. A reading comprehension strategy is defined as an
overt process consciously selected and used by a reader to aid the process of constructing
meaning more effectively and efficiently. Once a student uses a strategy effectively, immediately
and effortlessly with little conscious attention to construct meaning, it becomes a reading skill.
Most planning for comprehension instruction is targeted at teaching comprehension strategies
and then developing practice activities that help the student become skilled in the use of the
strategy so that it is unconsciously selected and used in a variety of situations.

• Reading comprehension instruction must be responsive. Continually assess progress in

learning, make specific instructional accommodations to meet individual student's needs, and
provided individualized and elaborated feedback.

• Reading comprehension instruction must be systematic. Systematic reading instruction is

structured, connected, scaffolded, and informative. Structured instruction is characterized by
lessons that organize and group new knowledge and skills into segments that can be sequentially
presented in a clear manner. Connected instruction is characterized by lessons that show the
learner connections between the segments and what is already known. Scaffolded lessons are
characterized by instruction in which the teacher provides to students, early in the learning
process, a significant amount of support in the form of modeling, prompts, direct explanations,
and targeted questions. Then as students begin to acquire the targeted objective, direct teacher
supports are reduced, and the major responsibilities for learning is transferred to the student.
Informative instruction is characterized by lessons in which the teacher explains the purposes and
expected outcomes and requirements for learning and when and how that newly learned
information will be useful.
• Reading comprehension instruction must be intensive. Intensive reading instruction means
that sufficient time, used wisely and with high student engagement, is provided direct instruction
for students to master the reading skills and strategies they need.

• Reading comprehension instruction should involve authentic reading at all stages.

Authentic reading involves incorporating a variety of "real" reading materials, such as books,
magazines, and newspapers into the instructional process.

• Reading comprehension instruction involves providing opportunities to read for pleasure.

Struggling readers don't read as often or as much as their peers. Reading for enjoyment should
be modeled and encouraged at all grade levels. This requires providing ample materials to read
at their independent reading level.

• Reading comprehension instruction requires collaboration with other professionals and

shared responsibility for student success. All teachers play either a primary or secondary role
in teaching students to read. All classroom teachers who expect students to learn the content of
specific subjects need to be teaching reading. Studies have shown that one of the most
damaging practices affecting struggling readers is the lack of coordination among educators that
are responsible for literacy development. Building staff must work together to plan and implement
effective instruction in reading comprehension.
• Teaching Before Reading Self-Questioning Strategies
Self-Questioning is the ongoing process of asking questions based on clues that are found in the
text in order to spark curiosity and focus the reader's attention on investigating, understanding,
and connecting to the text. The Before Reading Self-Questioning Strategy focuses on teaching
students to use the self-questioning process as a way of previewing text before reading begins
and creating a set of guiding questions to check comprehension during reading.
• Teaching During Reading Self-Questioning Strategies
Self-Questioning is the ongoing process of asking questions based on clues that are found in the
text in order to spark curiosity and focus the reader's attention on investigating, understanding,
and connecting to the text. This strategy focuses on teaching the students to use a self-
questioning process as they read paragraphs and sections of text.
• Teaching After Reading Self-Questioning Strategies
Self-Questioning is the ongoing process of asking questions based on clues that are found in the
text in order to spark curiosity and focus the reader's attention on investigating, understanding,
and connecting to the text. This strategy focuses on teaching students to generate questions and
answer questions after they have read the text. This strategy is usually used for studying and self-
testing information that should have been gained from the text.
• Teaching Paragraph Summarization Strategies
A summary is a brief statement or set of statements used to show how a reader has condensed
information to get to the central message of a larger chunk of information. This strategy focuses
on students reading a multi-paragraph section that covers a topic. The emphasis is on the
integration of multiple main ideas to identify the significance of the set of ideas as a whole.
• Teaching Section Summarization Strategies
Instruction should be provided through a continuum of literacy services that place content area
learning front and center, enlisting the help of all teachers. This is called the Content Literacy
Continuum. The Content Literacy Continuum has five levels of literacy services: content mastery,
embedded strategy instruction, intensive strategy instruction, intensive skill instruction, and
language intervention.
• Teaching Multi-Section Summarization Strategies
A summary is a brief statement or set of statements used to show how a reader has condensed
information to get to the central message of a larger chunk of information. In the Paragraph
Summarization Strategy, students read one paragraph at a time, stopping at the end of each
paragraph to find the main idea and supporting details.
• How should comprehension strategies be implemented in a school?
A summary is a brief statement or set of statements used to show how a reader has condensed
information to get to the central message of a larger chunk of information. This strategy focuses
on the type of summarization that is required for report writing. The students create a summary of
the entire reading. The summarization includes a topic sentence, at least three supporting
sentences, and a closing sentence.
First Initial: B., T., & J.
Last Name: Armbruster, Anderson, & Ostertag
Year of Publication: 1989
Article Title: Teaching Text Structure To Improve Reading And Writing
Journal Name: The Reading Teacher
Journal Volume:
Journal Number:
Page Numbers: 130-137
Study Purpose: The purpose of this article is to explain a method of teaching
text structure that is successful in improving both reading comprehension and
summary writing and to study the effects of this method in a fifth grade social
studies classroom.
Operation Definition:
Age/Grade: fifth grade
Identified Exceptionality:
Content: Many children in the middle grades have difficulty with reading the
expository prose in their textbooks and with writing the expository prose that
is required for essay questions and reports. One of the main reasons that
students have difficulties in this area is because they are not familiar with the
way the text is organized or structured. If students become familiar with text
structures, in many cases they can improve the way they learn from reading
texts. Research has also shown a relationship between reading and writing,
suggesting that instruction in text structure can also improve writing. In this
study, the students were training in: (1) recognizing a problem-solution text
structure, (2) taking notes on the problem-solution structure in frames, and (3)
summarizing the information from the frame. Figures 1-5 give examples of
different frames to be used in problem-solution text structures as well as
compare/contrast, sequencing, and cause/effect structures.
Definition (if stated): Problem-solution text conveys information about a
problem that an individual or group encounters, how they attempt to solve the
problem, and the results of the attempt to solve the problem.
Assessed By (tasks - tests): The students had to read expository texts, fill out
the frames, and summarize the passages they have read.
Treatments: In preparation for this study, the researchers prepared
workbooks with a definition and description of problem-solution text
structure, explicit rules of how to write a summary of problem-solution
passages, 13 problem-solution passages from fourth and fifth grade social
studies textbooks, and multiple copies of the problem-solution frames for the
students to write their summaries. The instruction took place in 45-minute
sessions over 11 days. The teacher used explicit and direct instruction
including modeling, plenty of guided practice, corrective feedback, and
independent practice. The authors give a detailed day-by-day account of this
method. After the students summarized all the passages, the teacher returned
to the regular textbook used in class.
Type of data collected/reported (e.g., Mean/SD, frequency, latency,
etc.): The researchers assessed the students ability to fill out the frame and
summarize the text passages.
Dependent Measures: Students'' ability to comprehend problem-solution
Independent Measures: The students were given fourth and fifth grade
reading passages along with blank frames and summary sheets.
Outcomes: The research showed that students in the fifth grade could be
taught simple text structures. This approach increased their ability to read and
write expository texts. Since the problem-solution text structure is probably
one of the more difficult text structures, it is believed that students could
readily learn other text structures as well.
Follow-up Activities: None
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First Initial: J., M., & T.

Last Name: Bakken, Mastropieri, & Scruggs
Year of Publication: 1997
Article Title: Reading Comprehension Of Expository Science Material And
Students With Learning Disabilities: A Comparison Of Strategies
Journal Name: The Journal Of Special Education
Journal Volume: 31
Journal Number: 3
Page Numbers: 300-324
Study Purpose: This study was designed to assess the feasibility of teaching
adolescents with LD to identify three types of text structure and to apply
structure-specific strategies for facilitating expository prose comprehension
within a manageable time frame.
Operation Definition:
N: 54
Age/Grade: 8th grade
Ethnicity: 38 Caucasian, 13 African American, 3 Hispanic
Gender: 34 males, 20 Females
Achievement: IQs of greater than 85
Identified Exceptionality: classified as LD according to federal, state and the
local district criteria, currently enrolled in special education services
Content: Students were stratified by gender and randomly placed into one of
three conditions: the text-structure based strategy (TSB), the paragraph
restatement strategy (PR), or traditional instruction (TI). Implementation
scripts were used to ensure that each group received the same sequence of
instruction. All students received 94 minutes of instruction over three sessions.
Thirty-six expository prose passages were developed and adapted from high-
school-level science textbooks. Passages fell into three types: main idea, list or
order passages. Student booklets containing condition specific strategy
instruction were used in each condition and students were given immediate
tests on the fourth day of instruction. On the fifth day, a surprise delayed
science recall test and a transfer test using the social studies test booklets were
Definition (if stated): Central idea units: described as the most important
ideas of the passage?the main things to be remembered, important information
for a test
Assessed By (tasks - tests): Students were given immediate, delayed and
transfer tests consisting of free recall questions asking the students to
remember as much as they could from the assigned passage.
Treatments: The three experimental conditions were text-structure-based
training, paragraph restatement training, and traditional instruction training.
Type of data collected/reported (e.g., Mean/SD, frequency, latency,
etc.): The immediate, delayed, and transfer tests were scored for the total
number of correct central and incidental idea units. The means and standard
deviations for all conditions are recorded
Dependent Measures: The scores on the immediate test and transfer test as
well as the responses on the pre- and postinstruction surveys served as the
dependent measures
Independent Measures: Independent measure for this study was the type of
reading strategy implemented.
Outcomes: The text-structure-based reading strategies had a significant effect
on a) recall of central and incidental information over traditional instruction
on immediate, delayed , and transfer tests; and b) recall of central, but not
incidental information over the paragraph restatement strategy on all
measures. The paragraph restatement condition statistically outperformed the
traditional instruction condition on all measures. Findings indicate that eighth
grade students with learning disabilities can learn, apply, and transfer
complex, test-structure-based strategies.
Follow-up Activities: none
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First Initial: I
Last Name: Beck
Year of Publication: 1991
Article Title: Research Directions: Social Studies Texts Are Hard To
Understand: Mediating Some Of The Difficulties
Journal Name: Language Arts
Journal Volume: 68
Journal Number:
Page Numbers: 482-489
Article Purpose: The purpose of this article is to explore the characteristics of
expository texts that make them difficult for students to read by describing
some of the recent research on social studies materials.
Operation Definition: Text coherence refers to the extent to which the
sequencing of ideas in a text makes sense and the extent to which the language
used to present those ideas makes the nature of the ideas and their
relationships apparent.
Summary: Young students are used to reading narrative texts which have a
predictable structure (goal/problem, attempts to resolve that problem, and
resolution). However, when it comes to expository texts, many students have
difficulties because they are unfamiliar with the content and because
expository texts have no inherent and predictable structural elements. The
research has shown that expository texts use a mixture of elements including
cause/effect, comparison/contrast, problem/solution, and description (Meyer,
1975). Because students do not have predictable structures to rely on,
expectations about the text can only be based on knowledge of the content.
However, the purpose of expository text is to introduce new information so
the topics are likely to be unfamiliar. Therefore, there are two main influences
on comprehension, familiarity with the content and the extent to which the
content in a text is organized in a logical way. In examining fifth grade social
studies texts, the authors found that texts assumed unrealistic levels of
knowledge and often lacked coherence. The authors then experimented by
both increasing background knowledge of the material being taught and
revising the texts in order to make them more coherent. The revisions included
clarifying, elaborating, and explaining important information by making
relationships explicit. The results of this study revealed that having
background knowledge did contribute to a more successful outcome, but it did
not completely compensate for the problems of the text presentation. Greater
text coherence resulted in further comprehension enhancement. The two
recommendations that the authors suggest to help students understand
expository texts are to Go for Depth and Make Connections. They recommend
using tradebooks to set the scene for different periods in history, building
understanding of events, and considering multiple perspectives.
Conclusions: If students are to think critically about the knowledge they
acquire, they must be provided sufficient quantity and quality of information
to allow for critical consideration. The authors conclude that the students will
not get this type of understanding unless social studies curricula is based on
richer and more varied material. In the article, the authors demonstrate that
such material is readily available.
First Initial: I., M., G., & J.
Last Name: Beck, Mckeown, Sinatra, & Loxterman
Year of Publication: 1991
Article Title: Revising Social Studies Text From A Text-Processing
Perspective: Evidence Of Improved Comprehensibility
Journal Name: Reading Research Quarterly
Journal Volume: 26
Journal Number: 3
Page Numbers: 251-275
Study Purpose: The purpose of this study was to use a cognitive processing
perspective to revise a fifth grade social studies text, describe the revisions,
and demonstrate the effects of the revisions empirically.
Operation Definition:
N: 85 students (40 5th graders and 45 4th graders)
Age/Grade: 4th and 5th grade students
Ethnicity: n/a
Gender: n/a
Ability: The mean comprehension scores for fifth graders were 63.3
(SD=21.9) and for fourth graders it was 60.1 (SD=22.7) on the reading
comprehension section of the Metropolitan Achievement Test.
Achievement: n/a
Identified Exceptionality: n/a
Location: Two elementary schools in a small, middle-class public school
district in the northern United States
Content: The quality of textbooks used in schools has been a major concern
for teachers and educational researchers. It has been noted that there needs to
be in-depth descriptions of the process of text revision from the identification
of problematic aspects of original texts through the potential solutions to these
problems along with explanations for why the solutions might work.
Therefore, the authors? goals for the study were to revise a text, explain the
revisions, and demonstrate the effects on students? comprehension. When
reading texts, a reader encodes the text information and combines it with his
or her existing knowledge of the word meanings, language conventions,
knowledge about the form of the text, and general knowledge of the content. If
the reader fails to connect the text to background knowledge or the features of
the text inhibit the reader?s ability to make connections, comprehension may
be impeded. The authors made revisions to a fifth grade history text (Silver
Burdett, 1984) passages that dealt with events central to the American
Revolution by attempting to simulate the interactions between the readers (10
year old students) and the text.
Definition (if stated): None
Assessed By (tasks - tests): To assess comprehension, the authors used both
free recall and open-ended questions. The recalls and answers were
audiotaped and transcribed for later interpretation.
Treatments: In reviewing each piece of information from the original text,
the authors considered how each new piece of text information might be
handled, the kind of knowledge the reader would already need to know, and
how the developing text representation would be influenced. The students
were divided into two groups, one who read the original texts and one who
read the revised texts. The text materials were presented to students
individually. The examiner followed a written script. The student read the text
silently in four sessions, one at a time. After reading, the student was asked to
tell what the section was about in his or her own words and answer a series of
open-ended questions about the text.
Type of data collected/reported (e.g., Mean/SD, frequency, latency,
etc.): Means and standard deviations were calculated for content units recalled
by the students who read the original text and students who read the revised
text. Percentage of questions answered correctly as well as mean and standard
deviation were also calculated for both groups of students.
Dependent Measures: The dependent measures were the free recalls and
open-ended questions that the students answered.
Independent Measures: The independent measures were the written script
and the passage materials presented to the students.
Outcomes: The students who read the revised texts recalled more material
and answered more questions correctly than students who read the original
text. The effects of the revisions demonstrate that a text-processing approach
to creating comprehensible texts is practical. Furthermore, the descriptions of
the revisions expose the underlying reasons for the problems and the resulting
changes to the texts.
Follow-up Activities: None
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