The effect of genre-specific story grammar instruction on recall, comprehension, and writing of tenth-grade English students

Mary-Lynn Thomas, Marquette University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of four instructional strategies on the recall patterns, comprehension scores, and written productions of tenth-grade survey English literature students. The four instructional strategies were (1) genre-specific story grammar, (2) generic story grammar, (3) teacher-posed questions and answer instruction, and (4) theme instruction. The genre used for instruction of all groups was Science Fiction literature. A Science Fiction genre-specific story grammar was developed, devised, and employed as an instructional tool for this study. Prior research had not investigated different instructional methodologies using a genre-specific story grammar. Research using the Mandler and Johnson generic story grammar had been limited to studies conducted in elementary classrooms, with the exception of one secondary study. This secondary study did not examine the recall patterns nor written story productions of the subjects, but it did examine the comprehension of complex short stories using a generic story grammar as a means of instruction. The research recommended that genre-specific story grammars be developed for complex stories read in secondary content domains. In addition, previous research recommended that more investigations which explore experimental instructional methodologies needed to be conducted at the secondary level of education. Recall was measured by an isolated recall task, comprehension was measured by multiple choice tests based on the content of three Science Fiction stories, and application knowledge was tested by means of a written story production. The criteria used to assess the recall, comprehension, and written story production was the Science Fiction genre-specific story grammar. Statistical analysis using a Pearson r, chi square, the Wilcoxon Matched-Pairs Signed-Ranks Test, a MANOVA, an ANOVA, and paired t-tests showed a statistical significance for treatment group over time. The recall patterns and written story production scores were significantly higher for the group who received instruction using the genre-specific story grammar. Initially, there was a statistical significance for the genre-specific group on the comprehension tests, but this significance was not maintained over time.

Recommended Citation

Thomas, Mary-Lynn, "The effect of genre-specific story grammar instruction on recall, comprehension, and writing of tenth-grade English students" (1995). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9626945.