To determine the influence background knowledge has on the reading comprehension of primary school-aged children, a critical review was conducted. Twenty-one studies were identified according to pre-determined criteria that focused on the link between background knowledge and reading comprehension of children in the mid to late primary years. The review highlighted that higher levels of background knowledge have a range of effects that are influenced by the nature of the text, the quality of the situation model required, and the presence of reader misconceptions about the text. The review also indicates that background knowledge impacts differentially on stronger and weaker readers. Findings suggest that readers with lower background knowledge benefit more from text with high cohesion, while weaker readers with a high degree of background knowledge were able to compensate for their weak reading skills. Implications of the findings for early years classroom practice are outlined, together with suggested future research directions.
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... That people rely on their prior knowledge during literacy experiences is integral to many psycholinguistic accounts of discourse comprehension (McCarthy & McNamara, 2021;Smith, Snow, Serry, & Hammond, 2021;Zwaan & Rapp, 2006). One account focuses on three kinds of mental representations that a reader can encode from what is read (Kintsch, 1998). ...
... The first level contains explicit textual information, requires local inferences to connect contiguous sentences, and is elaborated more or less automatically. The second level allows the generation of implicit information by means of more complex inferences that integrate information that appears in different parts of the texts or that relate explicit information to the reader's previous knowledge (McNamara, 2021;Smith, Snow, Serry, & Hammond, 2021). Reading comprehension complexity stems from this second level, from the cognitive processes to be carried out to achieve a deeper representation of the text, which are often non-automatic and requiere comprehension strategies that are reflective, intentional, and purposeful by nature. ...
Managing text information to answer questions is one of the most frequent reading activities. These reading situations, called task-oriented reading, are challenging for students since they require specific skills that extend beyond basic reading comprehension skills. This is especiallypronounced when deep comprehension is required. Although many computer-based interventions have focused on teaching strategies to foster text comprehension, the role of strategy instruction in task-oriented reading has not been examined. In this study, we aim to ascertain the efficacy of an intervention based on task-oriented reading strategy instruction (TuinLECweb), in both textbase and situation model levels of comprehension, comparing it with training based on question-answering practice (AutoLEC). Moreover, we analyzed students’ use of the instructional components and resources of the programs and the relationship to their efficacy. One hundred and thirty pupils attending sixth grade participated in this experimental pre-post study. The intervention comprised eight sessions in which students followed the training on their computers in the classroom. Results show that participants in both conditions raised their reading scores; however, while students in AutoLEC training obtained higher textbase scores, students in the TuinLECweb condition improved their situation model performance. Besides, gain in reading comprehension was not related to either instructional components or resources. These findings highlight the key role of strategy instruction in fostering deep comprehension when employing computer-based interventions in task-oriented reading. Moreover, these results point out the needto analyze how students manage the instructional aids offered to them.
... Literacy exercises are not only about reading and writing, and they are not just about Indonesian language classes. Reading is not restricted to one subject (Smith et al., 2021); converting a series or a story sentence into a number requires a reading text comprehension skill (Engel & Ehri, 2021). The advancement of the age also aids the advancement of science. ...
... The importance of background knowledge is also highlighted in a critical review of its role in reading comprehension by Smith, Snow, Serry, and Hammond (2021), who point to research indicating that weaker readers -in the case of this project, English language learners -rely on background knowledge to compensate for their weaker reading ability. Guided review and discussion were therefore conducted during supplemental online meetings between the Japanese students and their instructor to further develop a background knowledge base for the Japanese students. ...
While it is appealing to consider the potential benefits of incorporating virtual exchange and other technology-based tools when designing a learning experience, it is irresponsible to assume that technology in-and-of itself has the power to improve learning outcomes. Research-supported pedagogy and theory must form the basis of any attempt to incorporate virtual exchange into a learning activity. This paper presents a detailed examination of an undergraduate liberal arts course built on research-supported theories and practices to support learning outcomes, including collaborative cognitive load theory, the cognitive theory of multimedia learning, and instruction based on self-explanation and self-reflection. Initial assessment of the course suggests success in achieving learning outcomes related to critical thinking and intercultural discourse but highlights the need for objective data to support these claims. As virtual exchange gains momentum, it is necessary to continually assess and improve its utilization to guarantee its educational value.
... The difference is they have wider background knowledge of basic English than others. According to Smith (2021), background knowledge impacts differentially stronger and weaker readers. Some of their friends will think that they are experts in English, although the fact is just, that they learned it first. ...
Teaching English to students with no prior knowledge, a different first language, and varied characters is challenging. This research is a case study design that focused on the teachers' perceptions of teaching English to young learners situated in one of the Islamic schools in Malang, Indonesia. The participants involved were six English teachers at the chosen school. A qualitative approach was employed in this study. Data were generated through interviews. Findings suggest that the participating teachers encountered multiple challenges in their teaching enactment, such as (1) non-English prior knowledge, (2) lack of motivation, (3) negative perceptions of the English language, (4) time constraints for studying English, (5) insufficient teaching and learning devices, (6) messy classroom conditions, and (7) speaking anxiety. With some help from others, teachers' creativity, and some collaborations with other teachers, the teaching and learning process can run conditionally.
... Prior knowledge impacts the rate in which students read and assists readers in making rapid connections between what was already known and new information, thus facilitating and speeding comprehension (Hirsch Jr., 2003). Many contemporary reading researchers have emphasized the limited effectiveness of skills-only comprehension instruction, especially for America's most underprivileged learners, and have acknowledged the need for reading instruction that included the teaching of knowledge and acquiring knowledge (Cervetti et al., 2016;Cer-vetti & Hiebert, 2015;Davidson, 2019;Hirsch Jr., 2003, 2016Hirsch Jr. & Hansel, 2013;Kaefer et al., 2015;McKeown et al., 2009;Smith et al., 2021;Wexler, 2019Wexler, , 2020Willingham, 2006/7). ...
This study examined the validity of data collected from a novel online story retell task. The task was specifically designed for use by junior school teachers with the support of speech–language therapists or literacy specialists. The assessment task was developed to monitor children's oral language progress in their first year at school as part of the Better Start Literacy Approach for early literacy teaching. Teachers administered the task to 303 5-year-olds in New Zealand at school entry and after 20 weeks and 12 months of schooling. The children listened to a story with pictures via iPad presentation and were then prompted to retell the story. The children's spontaneous language used in their story retell was captured and uploaded digitally via iPad audio recording and analyzed using semi-automated speech recognition and computer software. Their responses to factual and inferential story comprehension questions were also analyzed. The data suggested that the task has good criterion validity. Significant correlations between story retell measures and a standardized measure of children's oral language were found. The Better Start Literacy Approach story retell task, which took approximately 6 min for teachers to administer, accurately identified children with low oral language ability 81% of the time. Growth curve analysis revealed that the task was useful for monitoring oral language development, including for English as second language learners. Boys showed a slower story comprehension growth trajectory than girls. The Better Start Literacy Approach story retell task shows promise in providing valid data to support teacher judgement of children's oral language development.
This chapter examines specific Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles, guidelines, and checkpoints that support the removal of barriers to reading to learn efforts. The chapter will also offer practical examples of relevant curricular moves to support student learning from texts.
Rubric-based observations of pre- and inservice teachers are common practice in schools. Popular observation tools often result in minimal variation in ratings between teachers, require extensive training and time demands for raters, and provide minimal feedback for professional development. Alternatively, direct observation methods are evidenced to effectively measure instructional behaviors. Applying direct observation to audio recordings would produce quantitative scores and provide valuable feedback to teachers about their instruction. As such, the purpose of the present pilot study was to examine the reliability and efficiency of using audio recordings to measure practices related to explicit instruction. Fleiss’s kappa was modeled to determine the reliability of multiple raters. Regression and correlation examined the strength and direction of the relationship between the full length of a teacher’s lesson and the first 20 min of the lesson. Results indicate that using audio recordings is reliable with kappas ranging from .45 to .80. Based on regression analyses, the first 20 min of a teacher’s lesson is predictive of the rates of behaviors observed in a full lesson. Correlations suggest large, positive relationships between rates of behaviors in the first 20 min and the full lesson. Recommendations for future studies of audio-recorded observations and progress monitoring teacher behavior are discussed.
This research aimed to develop and validate a new self-report instrument, the ESL/EFL Reading Strategies Inventory (EERSI), for investigating ESL/EFL learners' use of reading strategies when reading English informational texts. A total of 354 EFL students from a university in Bangkok, Thailand, participated in this study. An exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to determine the underlying factor structure of the instrument. A confirmatory factor analysis (CFA) was subsequently carried out to verify the results obtained from the EFA. The EFA yielded a 27-item 10-factor model, comprising various processes in three categories of reading strategies (i.e. cognitive, metacognitive, and metalinguistic approaches). The CFA indicated that the hypothesized 10-factor model exhibited a relatively good fit to the data. The EERSI has acceptable validity and reliability, and can serve as a tool for exploring ESL/EFL learners' perception regarding their use of reading strategies. Applications of the inventory are discussed.
Cognitive load theory was introduced in the 1980s as an instructional design theory based on several uncontroversial aspects of human cognitive architecture. Our knowledge of many of the characteristics of working memory, long-term memory and the relations between them had been well-established for many decades prior to the introduction of the theory. Curiously, this knowledge had had a limited impact on the field of instructional design with most instructional design recommendations proceeding as though working memory and long-term memory did not exist. In contrast, cognitive load theory emphasised that all novel information first is processed by a capacity and duration limited working memory and then stored in an unlimited long-term memory for later use. Once information is stored in long-term memory, the capacity and duration limits of working memory disappear transforming our ability to function. By the late 1990s, sufficient data had been collected using the theory to warrant an extended analysis resulting in the publication of Sweller et al. (Educational Psychology Review, 10, 251–296, 1998). Extensive further theoretical and empirical work have been carried out since that time and this paper is an attempt to summarise the last 20 years of cognitive load theory and to sketch directions for future research.
This study investigated the effectiveness of the Model of Reading Engagement (MORE), a content literacy intervention, on first graders’ science domain knowledge, reading engagement, and reading comprehension. The MORE intervention emphasizes the role of domain knowledge and reading engagement in supporting reading comprehension. MORE lessons included a 10-day thematic unit that provided a framework for students to connect new learning to a meaningful schema (i.e., Arctic animal survival) and to pursue mastery goals for acquiring domain knowledge. A total of 38 first-grade classrooms (N = 674 students) within 10 elementary schools were randomly assigned to (a) MORE at school (MS), (b) MORE at home, (MS-H), in which the MS condition included at-home reading, or (c) typical instruction. Since there were minimal differences in procedures between the MS and MS-H conditions, the main analyses combined the two treatment groups. Findings from hierarchical linear models revealed that the MORE intervention had a positive and significant effect on science domain knowledge, as measured by vocabulary knowledge depth (ES = .30), listening comprehension (ES = .40), and argumentative writing (ES = .24). The MORE intervention effects on reading engagement as measured by situational interest, reading motivation, and task orientations were not statistically significant. However, the intervention had a significant, positive effect on a distal measure of reading comprehension (ES = .11), and there was no evidence of treatment-by-aptitude interaction effects. Content literacy can facilitate first graders’ acquisition of science domain knowledge and reading comprehension without contributing to Matthew effects.
Keywords: content literacy intervention, science domain knowledge, reading comprehension, reading engagement, randomized controlled trial
There is intense public interest in questions surrounding how children learn to read and how they can best be taught. Research in psychological science has provided answers to many of these questions but, somewhat surprisingly, this research has been slow to make inroads into educational policy and practice. Instead, the field has been plagued by decades of “reading wars.” Even now, there remains a wide gap between the state of research knowledge about learning to read and the state of public understanding. The aim of this article is to fill this gap. We present a comprehensive tutorial review of the science of learning to read, spanning from children’s earliest alphabetic skills through to the fluent word recognition and skilled text comprehension characteristic of expert readers. We explain why phonics instruction is so central to learning in a writing system such as English. But we also move beyond phonics, reviewing research on what else children need to learn to become expert readers and considering how this might be translated into effective classroom practice. We call for an end to the reading wars and recommend an agenda for instruction and research in reading acquisition that is balanced, developmentally informed, and based on a deep understanding of how language and writing systems work.
The present study investigated comprehension processes and strategy use of second-grade low- and high-comprehending readers when reading expository and narrative texts for comprehension. Results from think-aloud protocols indicated that text genre affected the way the readers processed the texts. When reading narrative texts they made more text-based and knowledge-based inferences, and when reading expository texts they made more comments and asked more questions, but also made a higher number of invalid knowledge-based inferences. Furthermore, low- and high-comprehending readers did not differ in the patterns of text-processing strategies used: all readers used a variety of comprehension strategies, ranging from literal repetitions to elaborate knowledge-based inferences. There was one exception: for expository texts, low-comprehending readers generated a higher number of inaccurate elaborative and predictive inferences. Finally, the results confirmed and extended prior research by showing that low-comprehending readers can be classified either as readers who construct a limited mental representation that mainly reflects the literal meaning of the text (struggling paraphrasers), or as readers who attempt to enrich their mental representation by generating elaborative and predictive inferences (struggling elaborators). A similar dichotomy was observed for high-comprehending readers.
This systematic review examines the effects of summarizing and main idea interventions on the reading comprehension outcomes of struggling readers in Grades 3 through 12. A comprehensive search identified 30 studies published in peer-reviewed journals between 1978 and 2016. Studies included struggling reader participants in Grades 3 through 12; targeted summarizing or main idea instruction; used an experimental, quasi-experimental, or single-case design; and included a reading comprehension outcome. A meta-analysis of 23 group design studies resulted in a statistically significant mean effect of 0.97. Group size, number of sessions, grade level, and publication year did not moderate treatment effect. Visual analysis of six single-case designs yielded strong evidence for retell measures and a range of evidence for short-answer comprehension measures. Findings suggest that main idea and summarizing instruction may improve struggling readers’ main idea identification and reading comprehension. Limitations include the lack of standardized measures and the unreported, changing description of the counterfactual.
Previous studies have shown that instruction of reading strategies is an effective method for enhancing reading comprehension. However, many of the interventions in these studies focused on small groups of (poor) comprehenders and were provided by research assistants, making it time-consuming and relatively expensive. The authors implemented a strategy intervention to intact classrooms, consisting of reciprocal teaching and delivered by teachers. Participants were 510 typically developing fourth-grade students. A clustered randomized controlled trial was conducted with pretest, posttest, and follow-up measures to assess knowledge of reading strategies and reading comprehension. The results revealed that the intervention had an effect on knowledge of reading strategies at posttest and follow-up. However, the intervention did not affect reading comprehension performance. Together with the results of earlier studies, the present study raises the question whether strategy interventions are the most efficient to improve fourth-grade students' reading comprehension.
The purpose of this review was to (a) overview prior knowledge research and its role in student performance, and (b) examine the effects of prior knowledge in relation to the method of assessment. We selected 183 articles, books, papers, and research reports related to prior knowledge. While prior knowledge generally had positive effects on students' performance, the effects varied by assessment method. More specifically, prior knowledge was more likely to have negative or no effects on performance when flawed assessment measures were used. However, in some studies, flawed methods yielded informative results. Thus, in educational research the implications of assessment measures must be considered when examining the effects of prior knowledge.
This research provided a first-generation standardization of automated language environment estimates, validated these estimates against standard language assessments, and extended on previous research reporting language behavior differences across socioeconomic groups.
Typically developing children between 2 to 48 months of age completed monthly, daylong recordings in their natural language environments over a span of approximately 6-38 months. The resulting data set contained 3,213 12-hr recordings automatically analyzed by using the Language Environment Analysis (LENA) System to generate estimates of (a) the number of adult words in the child's environment, (b) the amount of caregiver-child interaction, and (c) the frequency of child vocal output.
Child vocalization frequency and turn-taking increased with age, whereas adult word counts were age independent after early infancy. Child vocalization and conversational turn estimates predicted 7%-16% of the variance observed in child language assessment scores. Lower socioeconomic status (SES) children produced fewer vocalizations, engaged in fewer adult-child interactions, and were exposed to fewer daily adult words compared with their higher socioeconomic status peers, but within-group variability was high.
The results offer new insight into the landscape of the early language environment, with clinical implications for identification of children at-risk for impoverished language environments.