Understanding strategy utilization during reading comprehension : relations between text type and reading levels using verbal protocols

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Israel, Susan E.
Kragler, Sherry
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Thesis (Ph.D.)
Department of Elementary Education
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The purpose of this study was to understand the differences of conscious constructive responses and shifting strategies with the goal of understanding reading comprehension while reading nonfiction, fiction, and poetry texts. This naturalistic diagnostic study uses a think-aloud methodology. The study examines verbal, retrospective, and recall reports from fifteen seventh-graders of varying reading abilities; good, average, and weaker from one private school in the Midwest. After collecting a total of ninety verbal reports in three sessions, verbal reports were scored according to level of conscious constructive responses. Retrospective reports were scored for shifting utilization. Recall reports were scored to identify a reading comprehension score that was correlated with strategies. Based on these results, it was evident that conscious constructive responses existed with seventh-grade readers regardless of ability and text type. There were differences between utilization with text type, but little differences with ability level. Shifting strategies were evident with seventh graders, but there were no significant differences when text type and ability level were taken into consideration. Two conscious constructive responses, relating text to text and relating text to prior knowledge, correlated with recall scores demonstrating an increase in reading comprehension. Two shifting strategies, making liberal interpretations and looking for useful information significantly improved reading comprehension. Findings support the model of constructively responsive reading (Pressley & Afflerbach, 1995).