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Title:The role of collaboration in children's understanding of informational texts
Author(s):Goudvis, Anne Kathleen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pearson, P. David
Department / Program:College of Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Reading
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This study investigated how children collaborated with their peers to read informational texts and complete a variety of reading-related tasks. The kinds of comprehension and monitoring strategies children employed in their reading were of particular interest, especially since they had little prior knowledge about the content of the curriculum--marine animals. Children worked in pairs on three different kinds of tasks: question-answering, error detection and math problem solving. Because they discussed the tasks with each other, their comprehension strategies were made more explicit than is often the case in studies based on individual responses to questions or group discussions.
The study was conducted in two classrooms, one a combined third-fourth grade in a public school and the other a first through third grade classroom in a private, Montessori school. All of the tasks were part of the on-going curriculum and observations continued for approximately six months in each classroom. From the beginning, the classroom context was viewed as an important influence on children's task behaviors. Therefore, a careful description of the context--including classroom observations and teacher interviews--guided the analysis of children's behaviors.
Extensive videotaped observations of children completing the three kinds of tasks were scored for a variety of cognitive and social interactions. Individual and pair progress in comprehension (accuracy and elaboration), monitoring and collaborative behaviors was determined by examining children's scores over time and with different partners. Children's discussions with their partners were also examined to determine what kinds of interactions facilitated acquisition of information from the texts.
While the study was descriptive in nature, the quality of children's partnership interactions was found to influence children's learning and comprehension behaviors more than their reading or math ability. The findings also suggest that children in their early years of elementary school can acquire considerable information from expository texts and illustrate sophisticated comprehension and monitoring behaviors when given the opportunity to collaborate with their peers.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Goudvis, Anne Kathleen
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136602
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136602

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