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Depressive effects of underlining and adjunct questions on children's recall of text

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Half of a sample of ten-year-old school children (N=69) were given conceptual postquestions after every paragraph of text, while the other half were not given any postquestions. Additionally, these children either generated their own underlining of one sentence per paragraph, received text with topic sentences underlined for them, or were given text without underlining of any kind. The results indicated that the readers preponderantly chose for underlining subordinate, passage details rather than superordinate, conceptual material, even when given conceptual postquestions focusing on the topic sentences of the passage. Recall of passage details was most depressed when children were provided with both underlining and conceptual postquestions. These results suggested a comprehension rather than a metacomprehension deficit, whereby underlining and adjunct questions may hinder rather than help recall performance in young readers.

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Rickards, J.P., Denner, P.R. Depressive effects of underlining and adjunct questions on children's recall of text. Instr Sci 8, 81–90 (1979).

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