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ERIC Number: EJ848119
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 41
ISSN: ISSN-0034-0553
Using Semantic Ambiguity Instruction to Improve Third Graders' Metalinguistic Awareness and Reading Comprehension: An Experimental Study
Zipke, Marcy; Ehri, Linnea C.; Cairns, Helen Smith
Reading Research Quarterly, v44 n3 p300-321 Jul-Sep 2009
An experiment examined whether metalinguistic awareness involving the detection of semantic ambiguity can be taught, and whether this instruction improves students' reading comprehension. Lower SES third graders from a variety of cultural backgrounds (M = 8 yr. 7 mo., N = 46) were randomly assigned to treatment and control groups. Those receiving metalinguistic ambiguity instruction learned to analyze multiple meanings of words and sentences in isolation, in riddles, and in text taken from the Amelia Bedelia series (Parish, 1979, 1988). The control group received a book reading and discussion treatment to provide special attention and to rule out Hawthorne effects. Results showed that metalinguistic ambiguity instruction was effective in teaching students to identify multiple meanings of homonyms and ambiguous sentences and to detect inconsistencies in text. Moreover, this training enhanced students' reading comprehension on a paragraph completion task (WRMT-R) but not on a multiple-choice passage recall task (GMRT4), possibly because the two tests differ in the array of linguistic or cognitive correlates influencing performance. Comprehension monitoring was not found to mediate the relationship between ambiguity instruction and reading comprehension. Results carry implications for the use of language-based methods to improve reading comprehension in the classroom. (Contains 5 tables and 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Gates MacGinitie Reading Tests; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test; Woodcock Reading Mastery Test