The effects on reading comprehension and writing skills of training in identifying the status of information in texts

by O'Gorman, Elizabeth Teresa

Abstract (Summary)
(Uncorrected OCR) Abstract

This study investigated the effects of a focused reading strategy training programme which concentrated on main points and supporting details. Two areas were highlighted to assess the impact of the programme : direct learning and indirect learning. For direct learning the students' ability to identify and write topic sentences and supporting details was examined. For indirect learning the programme's impact on students' general reading comprehension and general writing ability was analysed.

There were two experimental groups and a control group. The experimental groups had a focused learning programme which emphasised the reading strategy of identifying the main points and supporting details of texts. The control group had an unfocused general English language programme which involved some reading, writing, and pronunciation.

In addition to a comparison of English programme content, the effect on results of two contrasting teaching techniques were examined. Using the same materials, one experimental group was taught using a student centered think aloud \ reciprocal teaching approach while the second group was taught using a more teacher centered approach. To augment the test results comparison each experimental group's attitude to the course was elicited and this also compared.

The investigation took the form of a pre-test followed by treatment followed by the post test followed by a questionnaire for the experimental group. Each test comprised of three sections : identifying the main point and supporting details of several passages, a general reading comprehension multiple choice test and a writing sample. The results of the reading and writing pre- and post-tests were analysed under three headings. First the control groups' results were compared with the combined experimental groups using t-tests. Next, experimental group one's results were compared with experimental group two's. Finally, both the experimental groups' results were correlated with their attitude to the course.

The results were mixed. The combined experimental groups improved more than the control group on all the tests. This difference was significant for the direct learning areas but not for all measures on the indirect learning areas. Also, when the results for each individual group were examined the control group performed better, albeit not significantly so, than experimental group two on one measure of writing.

The comparison of teaching method elicited no significant difference between the experimental groups. However, experimental group one, the think aloud \ reciprocal teaching group, performed better in three tests, all in the non direct learning area.

Attitude to the course proved to be of little import. The results of the students bore limited correlation to their attitude. In general students who enjoyed the programme more improved more, and the less proficient students thought the course more enjoyable, new and useful than did the more proficient students.

Bibliographical Information:


School:The University of Hong Kong

School Location:China - Hong Kong SAR

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:reading comprehension china hong kong testing english language study and teaching


Date of Publication:01/01/1995

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