An experimental study of the effects of pictures on the literal comprehension of second grade readers

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Mackenzie, Jane Irons
Cooper, J. David (James David), 1942-
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Thesis (D. Ed.)
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The purpose of the study was to investigate the effect of pictures on the literal reading comprehension of average second graders. The study attempted to discover whether or not there were differences in comprehension when second graders read in three alternate reading conditions: text without pictures (T), text with pictures (TP), and a page of text alternating with a picture page (TAP). The study also attempted to discover whether possible differences in comprehension were more significant for either average or above-average readers.In order to measure differences in amount of comprehension in the three reading conditions, the researcher constructed an instrument consisting of three comparable passages, pictures corresponding to the passages, and ten questions covering the content of each passage. Each subject was asked to read three different passages in three different reading conditions. The ten questions were asked after each of the passages was read. The scores from the comprehension questions became the raw data of the study.The data were analyzed in a 3X3X2 Factorial Analysis of Variance. The factors were reading condition with three levels (T. TP, and TAP), three orders of presentation of the passages, and reading ability with two levels (average and above-average readers).Results indicated that all subjects comprehended equal amounts of content in the three reading conditions (F=.34 at .71 probability). Further, both average and above-average readers were equally unaffected by the presence of pictures in their reading materials (F=.17 at .84 probability).An implication of the study is that teachers should clarify their reason for using pictures in beginning reading instruction. Although pictures may prove to be helpful in fulfilling various affective instructional purposes such as building interest in reading, the pictures do not seem to be a valid method of increasing literal reading comprehension.