Cand.philol. Wenke Mork Rogne
Title of dissertation:
Tracing meaning: How young readers work multiple, partly contradictory texts. An empirical mixed methods study of 7th graders' strategic activities.
This mixed methods study investigated how 7th grade students (12 to 13-year-olds) work with partly contradictory, multiple texts, and to what extent it is related to what type of information they include in their representations. Thirty students from four different schools were thinking aloud while reading partly contradictory texts. Before reading, the students’ leisure reading habits, word recognition skills and their Norwegian National Curriculum Test scores were measured. In addition, the students’ reading comprehension strategies and reading time were assessed during reading. After reading the students gave an oral summary of the texts and carried out interview-questions. In order to study the relationship between strategic processing and the comprehension of the texts, quantitative, correlational analyses and qualitative case-studies were conducted.
The results indicated that elaboration strategies based on prior knowledge were most frequently represented in the student’s verbal protocols, but they included less inter- and intra-textual elaborations and evaluations. Moreover, the results pointed towards a relationship between high scores on the National Curriculum Reading Test and the ability to construct an integrated understanding from the four texts. In addition, the results suggested that when students integrate information between partly conflicting texts, the overlapping information occur more frequently than conflicting information. Further, the results indicated a negative relationship between the use of shallow comprehension strategies and the ability to register conflicting information. On the contrary, the results point to a positive relationship between deeper strategies on one hand, and the ability to register conflicting information, reading time on important and conflicting information on the other. The contrastive case-analyses showed that skilled readers read more in their leisure time, they used deep strategies more frequently, registered more contradictory information, they used more reading time on important and conflicting information units during reading, they used deeper strategies more frequently, and included more important information in their summary than the less-skilled readers. In sum, these results indicate that reading multiple partly contradictory texts might lead to a deeper, more integrated understanding for skilled readers, but this is probably more difficult for less-skilled readers.