ERIC Number: ED212987
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1981-Nov
Reference Count: N/A
Effects of Vocabulary Difficulty, Text Cohesion, and Schema Availability on Reading Comprehension. Technical Report No. 225.
Freebody, Peter; Anderson, Richard C.
Two experiments assessed the effects of text cohesion and schema availability on sixth grade children's comprehension of social studies passages that varied in vocabulary difficulty. The purpose of the experiments was to test the compensation hypothesis within the interactive theory of reading, which assumes that reading involves many complementary levels of analysis and states that when one source of knowledge about the meaning of a text element is inoperative, other sources of knowledge may provide alternative ways of determining meaning. In the first experiment, 75 sixth grade students read texts that varied in cohesion (the linguistic features contributing to the unity of a text). The analyses of free recall, summarization, and sentence verification (recognition) measures revealed no interactions between cohesion and vocabulary difficulty, although difficulty of vocabulary significantly affected students' performances on the recall tasks. In the second experiment, 82 sixth grade students read passages in which topic familiarity was varied to manipulate the availability of appropriate schemata. Familiarity with the topic and vocabulary difficulty significantly affected performance on the recall tasks, but the two factors did not interact. Thus, the results from these experiments did not support the compensation hypothesis. (RL)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Inst. of Education (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Illinois Univ., Urbana. Center for the Study of Reading.; Bolt, Beranek and Newman, Inc., Cambridge, MA.