Less Skilled Readers, Well Structured Texts? (Netherlands)

The impact of text and reader characteristics on text comprehension and text appreciation by VMBO pupils

by Jentine Land

The Most Important Results

Language proficiency, discourse studies and much education research and research with a language-psychology orientation look at the impact of structure and style characteristics on text comprehension and text appreciation (see, for example, Andringa (1996), Beck et al. (1995), Bos-Aanen et al. (2001), Cozijn, Vonk & Noordman (2003), Degand & Sanders (2002), Garner et al. (1989), Hidi (2001), Hidi & Baird (1988), Kamalski (2007), McNamara et al. (1996), Sadoski et al. (2000), Sanders (2001), Sanders & Noordman (2000), Segal et al. (1997), Schraw & Lehman (2001), Spooren et al. (1998) and Wade & Adams (1990)).

This research often focuses solely on good, experienced readers. In this thesis paper, we show that structure and style characteristics also influence text comprehension and text appreciation by weaker readers. The experiments done reveal that VMBO pupils (pupils involved in pre-vocational education) understand a study text best when a text includes structure-marking elements that explicate text relations and result in an integrated text. It was also found that, although text characteristics that reduce the distance between the reader and the text (the inclusion of characters, for example) make a learning text more enjoyable, it does have a negative impact on text comprehension by pupils in preparatory secondary vocational education (VMBO).

Added to this, this thesis paper also looks at the question of whether there is a link between reading attitude and reading performance. The most important result to emerge from this is that text comprehension by VMBO pupils is not influenced by their reading attitude. This means that reading performance does not depend on how much pupils read in their free time or on how they feel about reading.

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