ERIC Number: ED251787
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983
Reference Count: 0
The Interaction of Knowledge and Text Structure on the Ability to Identify Main Ideas in Texts. Content Knowledge and Reading Comprehension.
Day, Jeanne D.; Engelhardt, Jean
Two studies examined how the factors of content-relevant knowledge and text organization influence students' abilities to study and to remember text information. The first experiment examined the effect of prior content knowledge on students' ability to identify important information in the text. Forty 7th- and forty 11th-grade students, experts and novices in baseball, read two texts, one on baseball and one on a less familiar topic. They then selected those segments of each text that they wished to have available to them as they tried to recall the entire texts. Experts in baseball selected the more important segments from the baseball texts, and they recalled more of the baseball texts than did the nonexperts. In the second experiment, the effect of prior knowledge on students' recall within and outside their domain of expertise and the effects of different text organizations (topic sentence placement and availability) within topic domains were examined. Subjects were 96 students from grades 5, 8, 11, and college. Results showed that students recalled more important information than unimportant, and more information within their domain of expertise than without. Neither topic sentence placement nor topic sentence availability influenced students' recall. The results of these experiments suggest that students who have prior content knowledge about a topic study more strategically and recall more from texts on that topic than students who lack such content knowledge. (Author/HTH)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Council of Teachers of English, Urbana, IL. Research Foundation.
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Text Structure