THE INFLUENCES OF CHUNKING TEXT AND FAMILIARITY OF TEXT ON COMPREHENSION
Two variables were explored as to how they affect comprehension: segmenting text into linguistic phrases and the amount of subject background knowledge. The subjects were 114 seventh- and eighth-grade students equally divided into good, average, and poor readers. Each subject read two familiar expository passages and two unfamiliar ones. Half of each type of reader read the text either in a chunked (segmented into linguistic phrases) or not chunked format. Subjects were asked to recall what they had read. They also responded to explicit and implicit questions about the material. Recall was scored by the number of propositions recalled. Explicit and implicit knowledge was determined by the number of correct answers. The between-subject factors were type of text (chunked or not chunked) and type of reader (good, average, and poor). The within-subject factor was passage familiarity or unfamiliarity. This research considered the following hypotheses: (1) The good readers' comprehension scores will show no significant differences on chunked and not chunked text that is either familiar or unfamiliar. However, when text is chunked, the average and the poor readers' comprehension scores will show no significant differences between familiar and unfamiliar text. (2) When text is not chunked, the average and the poor readers' comprehension scores will show a significant difference between familiar and unfamiliar text. Findings indicated no significant differences with the interaction of familiarity, type of text (chunked, not chunked), and type of reader. Significance occurred with the main effects for type of text (chunked, not chunked) and familiarity of passage. Chunking into linguistic phrases did increase comprehension. Familiarity of passage aided comprehension also. A surprising result of significance for the main effect for type of reader also occurred. Chunking increased comprehension for all types of readers, including the good reader. Even though research has shown that good readers do already chunk the text into phrases, they were still aided in increasing their comprehension.
YVONNE M MURNANE,
"THE INFLUENCES OF CHUNKING TEXT AND FAMILIARITY OF TEXT ON COMPREHENSION"
(January 1, 1987).
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