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Title:The effects of instruction clarifying story characters' internal states on primary students' story comprehension
Author(s):Dunning, David B.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pearson, P. David
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Reading
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This study was designed to explore whether classroom reading instruction which focuses students' attention on story characters' motives and feelings would improve their narrative comprehension. The subjects for this study were 48 third graders from three different classrooms in one school. The treatment for this study consisted of two different types of story instruction: the External Events (control) treatment, which consisted of a series of questions and discussion which highlighted the relative order of the observable, external events of the story; and the Internal States (experimental) treatment, which consisted of a series of questions and discussion which focused on clarifying the story characters' internal states--their thoughts, feelings, and plans--as well as the reasons for them.
Daily measures on each of nine instructed stories, as well as pretest, posttest, and delayed posttests, were administered to all the subjects in both treatment groups. The four main dependent measures included (a) the number of story-pertinent Idea Units in the students' story retellings, (b) a Holistic Quality rating of their retellings, (c) the students' responses to Oral Probe Questions, and (d) their Written Answers to written questions. Post hoc analyses of the probe questions and the retellings were also conducted.
With the exception of Daily Measures, for which t tests were performed, each of the dependent measures was analyzed using an ANCOVA procedure, with either the pretest or a reading comprehension measure functioning as the covariant.
Significant results, favoring the Internal States group, were found in analyses for the following measures: Holistic Quality, Probe Questions, Goal Question, Problem Question, Central Story Elements. Results for Daily Measures revealed a trend for the Internal States group to improve its performance over time on detail questions.
The reason for the success of the Internal States strategy might be that story understanding can best be achieved when stories are viewed not just as a series of sequentially ordered events, but rather as a set of events unified by the story characters' internal states--their plans and feelings.
Issue Date:1990
Rights Information:Copyright 1990 Dunning, David Brown
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9021676
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9021676

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