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Title:Instruction in the Interpretation of a Writer's Argument: A Training Study (Reading Comprehension)
Author(s):Mosenthal, James Hastings
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Reading
Abstract:The purpose of this study was to improve students' ability to comprehend expository text by training them in the use and control of a set of strategies defining purposive reading. The study derives its significance from its attempt to base instruction in reading comprehension on reading comprehension theory.
In this study, the act of comprehending text was described as purposive, with the goal the interpretation of the writer's argument. Direct comprehension instruction responsible to the concept of purposive reading was implemented in a sixth grade Social Studies classroom and an eighth grade Physical Science classroom over a six week period. In general, students in the experimental classes were asked, in the reading and discussion of text, to interpret portions of content in terms of what had gone before and in terms of a statement of the author's goal.
Data from a question set task and a summary task were collected approximately once a week over the six weeks of training. Three distinct measures were taken from the summaries written: (a) A grade assigned to each summary, (b) a measure of the number of statements in a summary containing superordinate information, and (c) a measure of a summary's structuredness. Delayed measures were taken approximately two weeks after training ended. Text selections were taken approximately two weeks after training ended. Text selections were taken from the textbooks used in the classrooms.
Results show that in comparison with control classes, the experimental students outperformed control students in three ways: (a) Both Social Studies and Physical Science experimental students wrote more structured summaries as a result of training; (b) in both the Social Studies and Physical Science classes, only experimental students wrote summaries of the most highly structured type, and these students performed better on all comprehension measures; (c) the majority of students wrote summaries ranked as of an intermediate structure, but of these summaries, the Social Studies experimental students significantly outperformed control students on the summary grade measure.
These results indicate that theory-based instruction in purposive reading is feasible and legitimate when considering students' ability to deal with the concept of a writer's argument.
Issue Date:1984
Description:307 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8502253
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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