ERIC Number: ED226200
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Feb
Reference Count: 0
Effect of Background Information on A.B.E. Readers' Comprehension. Final Report.
Gillis, M. K.
A study was conducted to evaluate the effect of background knowledge on overall comprehension and comprehension of new information in adult beginning readers. In the study, 40 Adult Basic Education (ABE) students, enrolled in six classes in two instructional sites (one urban and one rural), were presented with two selections about unfamiliar topics, both written on the fourth-grade level. Subjects were assigned to one of four groups. Each group read and answered questions about both selections, one with background and one without background. In the no-background condition, subjects were taught to pronounce vocabulary words and told to read a selection and answer questions about it. In the background condition, subjects were presented with each of the new vocabulary words, taught to pronounce the words, encouraged to discuss what they knew about each word, given additional information about the words, and shown an overhead map that depicted where the action of the selection would take place. After a review of the words, the subjects read the selection and answered questions about it. Overall scores were significantly higher for the background condition than for the no-background condition, but there were no differences in the overall scores between the two selections. Therefore, it was found that the ABE learners had better comprehension of and gained more new information from selections for which they had been helped to build a background. Implications for ABE teachers are that preparing adult learners before starting reading tasks can increase reading performance. (KC)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Texas Education Agency, Austin. Div. of Adult Programs.
Authoring Institution: N/A