Conceptual coherence, comprehension, and vocabulary acquisition: A knowledge effect?
- 1k Downloads
Previous research has documented the role of readers’ existing topic knowledge in supporting students’ comprehension of text; yet, we know less about how to build students’ knowledge in order to support comprehension and vocabulary learning. In the current study, we test the hypothesis that knowledge can be built and leveraged simultaneously in the interest of students’ literacy development through the use of conceptually coherent text sets. Fourth grade students (N = 59) were randomly assigned to read either a set of six informational texts that cohered around a set of concepts related to the topic birds (CC texts) or a set of texts that addressed a range of topics (NCC group texts). After reading, we assessed students’: (1) knowledge of the concepts in the conceptually coherent text set, (2) knowledge of target concept-related words that appeared in their respective text sets, (3) knowledge of general academic words that appeared in both texts sets, (4) comprehension of a novel text on a related topic, and (5) interest in the topic of the conceptually coherent texts. Results revealed that students who read the conceptually coherent texts demonstrated more knowledge of the concepts in their texts, more knowledge of the target words in their texts, and had better recall of the novel text compared to students who read unrelated texts. Findings suggest that there is potential for knowledge and vocabulary to be built during English language arts through a focus on conceptual coherence in the design of reading experiences for students.
KeywordsKnowledge Vocabulary Comprehension Elementary
- Anderson, R. C., & Freebody, P. (1981). Vocabulary knowledge. In J. Guthrie (Ed.), Comprehension and teaching: Research reviews (pp. 77–117). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.Google Scholar
- Camp, D. (2000). It takes two: Teaching with twin texts of fact and fiction. The Reading Teacher, 53, 400–408.Google Scholar
- Cervetti, G. N., Jaynes, C. A., & Hiebert, E. H. (2009). Increasing opportunities to acquire knowledge through reading. In E. H. Hiebert (Ed.), Reading more, reading better (pp. 79–100). New York: Guilford.Google Scholar
- De Bot, K., Paribakht, T., & Wesche, M. (1997). Toward a lexical processing model for the study of second language vocabulary acquisition. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 19, 309–329.Google Scholar
- Gilles, C., & Pierce, K. M. (2001). Pairing fact and fiction for deep understanding. Language Arts, 78, 579–588.Google Scholar
- Giorgis, C., & Johnson, N. T. (2002). Children’s books: Text sets. The Reading Teacher, 56, 200–208.Google Scholar
- McMurrer, J. (2008). Instructional time in elementary schools: A closer look at changes for specific subjects. Washington, DC: Center for Education Policy. Retrieved December 26, 2015. http://www.cep-dc.org/displayDocument.cfm?documentid=309.
- Neuman, S. B., & Wright, T. S. (2013). All about words: Increasing vocabulary in the Common Core classroom, PreK-2. New York: Teachers College Press.Google Scholar
- Nordstokke, D. W., Zumbo, B. D., Cairns, S. L., & Saklofske, D. H. (2011). The operating characteristics of the nonparametric Levene test for equal variances with assessment and evaluation data. Practical Assessment, Research, & Evaluation, 16(5), 1–8.Google Scholar
- Nunnally, J. C. (1978). Psychometric theory (2nd ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar
- Pearson, P. D., Hansen, J., & Gordon, C. (1979). The effect of background knowledge on young children’s comprehension of explicit and implicit information. Journal of Reading Behavior, 11, 201–209.Google Scholar
- Rentner, D. S., Scott, C., Kober, N., Chudowsky, N., Chudowsky, V., Joftus, S., & Zabala, D. (2006). From the capital to the classroom: Year 4 of the No Child Left Behind Act. Washington, DC: Center on Education Policy.Google Scholar
- Shefelbine, J. L. (1990). Student factors related to variability in learning word meanings from context. Journal of Reading Behavior, 22, 71–97.Google Scholar
- Stahl, S. A., & Jacobson, M. G. (1986). Vocabulary difficulty, prior knowledge, and text comprehension. Journal of Reading Behavior, 18(4), 309–323.Google Scholar
- Taft, M. L., & Leslie, L. (1985). The effects of prior knowledge and oral reading accuracy on miscues and comprehension. Journal of Reading Behavior, 17, 163–179.Google Scholar
- West, S. G., Finch, J. F., & Curran, P. J. (1995). Structural equation models with nonnormal variables: problems and remedies. In R. H. Hoyle (Ed.), Structural equation modeling: Concepts, issues and applications (pp. 56–75). Newbery Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
- Zeno, S., Ivens, S., Millard, R., & Duvvuri, R. (1995). The educator’s word frequency guide. Brewster, NY: Touchstone Applied Science Associates.Google Scholar