The effect of reading ‘List’ and ‘overview’ summaries on the recall of two narrative texts
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This paper reports an investigation of the mnemonic value of reading a summary before a text. Subjects (194 sixth-form students) read one of two folk-tales, either in isolation or preceded by a ‘List’ or an ‘Overview’ type of summary. Free recall of the story was then tested. Overall, both types of summary produced a significant increase in recall, although further analyses showed that their effects were located primarily in the recall of the latter parts of the stories. It is suggested that future work could usefully extend the analysis to a consideration of longer, and less well structured texts.
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