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Title:An Instructional Strategy for Helping Readers Identify the Gist in Expository Text
Author(s):Samson, Karen Margolis
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Reading
Abstract:The objective of this two-week instructional study was to improve high school students' comprehension of biology text materials through use of an explicit instructional strategy. The Topic/Subtopic Strategy is a two-step procedure designed to enable readers to recognize relationships among key ideas in text by engaging readers in the active process of evaluating and synthesizing text segments. The Strategy emerged in the attempt to create a practical tool for helping readers discriminate between more important and less important ideas represented in text.
The Topic/Subtopic Strategy requires readers in Step One to first analyze sentences in terms of TOPIC (what the sentence is about) and COMMENT (what is being said about the topic). Step Two involves grouping Topic/Comment elements according to relationship types in order to create important subtopics suggested by relevant information. In teaching this Strategy, the experimenter was interested in examining the extent to which Strategy instruction would affect readers' comprehension of gist information. Comprehension of gist was measured by recall and short-answer questions. While the Strategy group received instruction, a second treatment group, the Read-Study group, practiced reading, studying (using any method), and recalling information. Both the Strategy group and the Read-Study group used the same text passages. A Control group received regular classroom instruction.
Hierarchical multiple regression was used to analyze the data. This procedure enabled the experimenter to evaluate the unique effect of treatment both in isolation and as a function of various status variables. Findings suggest that the positive effects of Strategy learning on gist recall were limited to contextually-bound situations. In other words, evidence suggests that the Strategy may be effective for certain students under certain conditions. Overall main effects favoring Strategy effectiveness were found for the biology mid-test Passage 2 (on recall of secondary important propositions and question score). Significant interactions favoring the effectiveness of the Strategy varied across specific contextually-bound situations. In summary, results suggest that instruction in gist identification has a contextually-specific effect.
Issue Date:1982
Description:247 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1982.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8218557
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1982

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