Date of Award:

1997

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Psychology

Advisor/Chair:

Lani M. Van Dusen

Abstract

The literature in reading comprehension has demonstrated that both domain-specific knowledge and strategic knowledge are vital to good comprehension. However, few studies have actually compared the effects of the two types of knowledge on reading comprehension. Fewer studies have examined the effects of combining the two strategies even though cognitive theories indicate that true comprehension occurs when certain procedures act upon knowledge constructed from the text being read and "link" that knowledge with knowledge in the long-term memory.

This study compared subjects receiving strategic knowledge and content knowledge to subjects receiving strategic knowledge only, subjects receiving content-knowledge only, and a control group. Subjects were 9- and 10-year-old students in four fourth-grade classrooms. The design was a pretest-posttest quasi-experimental design. Subjects were given the comprehension and verbal subtests of the Stanford Achievement Test. Based on these tests, subjects were identified as high- or low-ability readers. In addition, they were given a comprehension pretest designed by the instructor before intervention began. The intervention took place over a 4-week period and consisted of a different series of lessons presented by an independent instructor. After the intervention, subjects took the posttest. SAT subtest scores and pretest scores were used as covariates in the final analysis.

Results showed a decrease in the posttest means and no differences among the four experimental groups. Lack of findings was attributed to several factors, including lack of interest in the reading material on the comprehension tests and brevity of the intervention.

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Psychology Commons

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