ERIC Number: ED399511
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1990-Nov-2
Contextual Analysis in Naturally Occurring Prose: Effects of Passage Length, Word Frequency, and Grade.
Graham, Diane M.; Watts, Susan M.
A study was conducted which addressed the following questions: (1) Do elementary school children infer word meanings from context?; (2) Are older students more successful in using context to infer the meanings of new words than younger students?; and (3) Is a longer context more facilitating to word meaning inference than a shorter context?; and (4) Is context more facilitating to the inference of high frequency words than to low frequency words? Eighteen children in grade 3 and 18 children in grade 6 were randomly assigned to 1 of 2 conditions: words-in-isolation and words-in-context. Students in the words-in-context conditions read long passages containing high frequency words, long passages containing low frequency words, short passages containing a high frequency word, and short passages containing a low frequency word. Students in both the words-in-isolation (no passages) and the words-in-context conditions wrote definitions to the target words. An analysis of variance comparing the performance of the words-in-isolation group to the words-in-context group revealed a significant difference between the performances, in favor of the words-in-context group. A repeated measures analysis of variance revealed differences by grade, passage length, and word frequency, as well as interaction effects. Results suggest that older students are better able to use context than younger students and that shorter passages are more facilitating to inferring word meanings from context than longer passages. (Contains 2 tables of data, 2 figures, and 50 references; 2 sample forms are appended.) (Author/CR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A