This research sought to add to a body of knowledge that is severely underrepresented in the scientific literature, the effects of technological tools on reading comprehension and reading motivation in diverse secondary students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The study implemented an independent silent reading (ISR) program across a 5-month semester in an urban public high school and included 145 participants from nine 10th grade literature classes. The control group took part in no ISR, one treatment group participated in weekly ISR read from a textbook, and another treatment group participated in weekly ISR read from a computer module designed to address essential components of reading. Students were measured on global reading comprehension, text-specific reading assessments, and reading motivation. After controlling for initial skill and disposition levels, the results indicated that students from both ISR groups made greater gains than the control group in global reading comprehension, while the computer reading module group outperformed the textbook group and the control on text-specific assignments and increased their reading motivation to a greater degree than those in the other conditions. This research offers much-needed data on secondary students’ reading achievement and disposition and provides evidence that ISR implemented through the use of instructional technology and cognitive tools has broad potential to address development in these areas.
This is a preview of subscription content,to check access.
Access this article
Similar content being viewed by others
Alfassi, M. (2004). Reading to learn: Effects of combined strategy instruction on high school students. Journal of Educational Research, 97(4), 171–184.
Allbritton, D. (2004). Strategic production of predictive inferences during comprehension. Discourse Processes, 38(3), 309–322.
Bailey, C. T., & Boykin, A. W. (2001). The role of task variability and home contextual factors in the academic performance and task motivation of African American elementary school children. Journal of Negro Education, 70(1), 84–95.
Beck, I. L., Perfetti, C. A., & McKeown, M. G. (1982). Effects of long-term vocabulary instruction on lexical access and reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 74(4), 506–521.
Burke, J. (2000). Reading reminders. Portsmouth, NH: Boyton/Cook.
Connor, C. M., Morrison, F. J., & Petrella, J. N. (2004). Effective reading comprehension instruction: Examining child × instruction interactions. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(4), 682–698.
Cromley, J. G., & Azevedo, R. (2007). Testing and refining the direct and inferential mediation model of reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 99(2), 311–325.
Cuevas, J. A. (2010). Applied cognition in reading: An analysis of reading comprehension in secondary students. Educational Psychology and Special Education Dissertations. Paper 70. Retrieved February 27, 2012 from http://digitalarchive.gsu.edu/epse_diss/70.
Dewitz, P., & Dewitz, P. K. (2003). They can read the words, but they can’t understand: Refining comprehension assessment. The Reading Teacher, 56(5), 422–435.
Dinnel, D., & Glover, J. A. (1985). Advance organizers: Encoding manipulations. Journal of Educational Psychology, 77(5), 514–521.
Dunlosky, J., & Lipko, A. R. (2007). Metacomprehension: A brief history and how to improve its accuracy. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 16(4), 218–232.
Garan, E. M., & DeVoogd, G. (2008). The benefits of sustained silent reading: Scientific research and common sense converge. The Reading Teacher, 62(4), 336–344.
Goodlad, J. (1984). A place called school. New York: McGraw-Hill.
Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., Humenick, N. M., Perencevich, K. C., Taboada, A., & Barbosa, P. (2006). Influences of stimulating tasks on reading motivation and comprehension. Journal of Educational Research, 99(4), 232–245.
Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., Metsala, J. L., & Cox, K. E. (1999). Motivational and cognitive predictors of text comprehension and reading amount. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3(3), 231–256.
Hasselbring, T. S., & Goin, L. I. (2004). Literacy instruction for older struggling readers: What is the role of technology? Reading and Writing Quarterly, 20(2), 123–144.
Hock, M., & Mellard, D. (2005). Reading comprehension strategies for adult literacy outcomes. Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, 49(3ov), 192–200.
Howard, W. G., Ellis, H. H., & Rasmussen, K. (2004). From the arcade to the classroom: Capitalizing on students’ sensory rich media preferences in disciplined-based learning. College Student Journal, 38(3), 431–440.
Ivey, G., & Broaddus, K. (2001). Just plain reading: A survey of what makes students want to read in middle school classrooms. Reading Research Quarterly, 36, 350–377.
Joshi, R. M. (2005). Vocabulary: A critical component of comprehension. Reading and Writing Quarterly, 21(3), 209–219.
Kelley, M., & Clausen-Grace, N. (2006). R5: The sustained silent reading makeover that transformed readers. The Reading Teacher, 60(2), 148–156.
Klin, C. M., Murray, J. D., Levine, W. H., & Guzman, A. E. (1999). Forward inferences: From activation to long-term memory. Discourse Processes, 27(3), 241–260.
Kozminsky, E., & Kozminsky, L. (2001). How do general knowledge and reading strategies ability relate to reading comprehension of high school students at different educational levels? Journal of Research in Reading, 24(2), 187–204.
Krashen, S. D. (2000). Forward. In J. L. Pilgreen (Ed.), The SSR handbook: How to organize and manage a sustained silent reading program (pp.vii–xi). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Lea, R. B., Mulligan, E. J., & Walton, J. L. (2005). Accessing distant premise information: How memory feeds reasoning. Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 31(3), 387–395.
Leone, P. E., Krezmien, M., Mason, L., & Meisel, S. M. (2005). Organizing and delivering empirically based literacy instruction to incarcerated youth. Exceptionality, 13(2), 89–102.
Liu, M., & Bera, S. (2005). An analysis of cognitive tool use patterns in a hypermedia learning environment. Educational Technology Research and Development, 53(1), 5–21.
Magliano, J. P., Todaro, S., Millis, K., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Kim, H. J., & McNamara, D. S. (2005). Changes in reading strategies as a function of reading training: A comparison of live and computerized training. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32(2), 185–208.
Marzano, R. J. (2004). Building background knowledge. Alexandria, VA: ASCD Publications.
Merriam, S., Caffarella, R., & Baumgartner, L. (2007). Learning in adulthood. San Francisco: Wiley.
Moss, B. (2005). Making a case and a place for effective content area literacy instruction in the elementary grades. The Reading Teacher, 59(1), 46–55.
Mucherah, W., & Yoder, A. (2008). Motivation for reading and middle school students’ performance on standardized testing in reading. Reading Psychology, 29(3), 214–235.
National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: An evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction (NIH Publication No. 00-4769). Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.
Nelson, J. R., & Stage, S. A. (2007). Fostering the development of vocabulary knowledge and reading comprehension though contextually-based multiple meaning vocabulary instruction. Education and Treatment of Children, 30(1), 1–22.
Ouellette, G. P. (2006). What’s meaning got to do with it: The role of vocabulary in word reading and reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98(3), 554–566.
Pearson, D., & Gallagher, M. (1983). The instruction of reading comprehension. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8(3), 317–344.
Pilgreen, J. L. (2000). The SSR handbook: How to organize and manage a sustained silent reading program. Portsmouth, NH: Boyton/Cook Publishers.
Prensky, M. (2005). Engage me or enrage me: What today’s learners demand. Educause Review, 40(5), 61–64.
Salmeron, L. C. J. J., Kintsch, W., & Fajardo, I. (2005). Reading strategies and hypertext comprehension. Discourse Processes A Multidisciplinary Journal, 40(3), 171.
Salomon, G., Globerson, T., & Guterman, E. (1989). The computer as a zone of proximal development: Internalizing reading-related metacognitions from a reading partner. Journal of Educational Psychology, 81(4), 620–627.
Schutte, N. S., & Malouff, J. M. (2007). Dimensions of reading motivation: Development of an adult reading motivation scale. Reading Psychology, 28(5), 469–489.
Snapp, J. C., & Glover, J. A. (1990). Advance organizers and study questions. Journal of Educational Research, 83(5), 266–271.
Tennant, M. (2002). Psychology and adult learning. New York: RoutledgeFalmer.
The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement. (2010). Retrieved June 28, 2010 from http://gaosa.org/index.aspx.
Thiede, K. W., Anderson, M. C. M., & Therriault, D. (2003). Accuracy of metacognitive monitoring affects learning of texts. Journal of Educational Psychology, 95(1), 66–73.
Thompson, D. N. (1997). Practice effects of advance organization with older adult subjects. Educational Gerontology, 23(3), 207.
Thompson, D. N. (1998). Using advance organizers to facilitate reading comprehension among older adults. Educational Gerontology, 24(7), 625–638.
Tracey, D., & Morrow, L. M. (2006). Lenses on reading. New York: Guilford Press.
Trudel, H. (2007). Making data-driven decisions: Silent reading. The Reading Teacher, 61(4), 308–315.
Tyler, S. W., Delaney, H., & Kinnucan, M. (1983). Specifying the nature of reading ability differences and advance organizer effects. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75(3), 359–373.
Vygotsky, L. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Wigfield, A., & Guthrie, J.T. (1997). Relations of children’s motivation for reading to the amount and breadth of their reading. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(3), 420–432.
About this article
Cite this article
Cuevas, J.A., Russell, R.L. & Irving, M.A. An examination of the effect of customized reading modules on diverse secondary students’ reading comprehension and motivation. Education Tech Research Dev 60, 445–467 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11423-012-9244-7