The Effect of Reading Ability, Mode of Presentation and Passage Familiarity on the General and Precise Comprehension of Expository Text
Date of Award
Dissertation - Restricted
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Taft, Thomas B.
The purpose of this study was threefold: to determine if listening and reading result in different forms of comprehension as measured by both recall and recognition tasks; to ascertain the effect of subject prior knowledge upon both modes; and to investigate whether language and reading comprehension are independent or interdependent entities. The subjects were 64 high school students equally divided into good and poor readers. Each subject read and listened to two familiar expository passages and two unfamiliar ones. They were then asked to recall what they had read or heard. They were also asked to recognize explicit, implicit and identical statements as congruent with text content. Recall was scored in terms of the number of explicit, important and idiosyncratic propositions recalled and the specificity of this recall. Idiosyncratic recall was scored separately as either inferences or errors. The between subjects factors were age and reader ability. The within subjects factors were mode of presentation (listening or reading) and passage familiarity or unfamiliarity. Results indicated no significant differences between listening and reading. However significant differences were noted for passage familiarity. Exposure to familiar text resulted in more recall of explicit, important and inferential propositions and greater recognition of implicit statements. Exposure to unfamiliar text resulted in more recall of erroneous propositions and greater recognition of explicit and identical statements. Results were interpreted within the framework of a schema-theoretic view of comprehension processes. An interdependent model of language and reading comprehension was also supported in that good and poor readers differed quantitatively but not qualitatively on all dependent measures.