Training Formal Schemata — Replication Results

  • Patricia L. Carrell


A number of research studies have empirically shown that the rhetorical organization of a text interacts with the reader’s formal schemata — i.e., the reader’s background knowledge of and experience with textual organization — to affect reading comprehension. This effect of text structure on reading comprehension has been shown to be operative for both narrative and expository texts. For example, the work of Thorndyke (1977), Mandler (1978, Mandler and Johnson 1977, Johnson and Mandler 1980), Rumelhart (1975, 1977), and Kintsch (1974, Kintsch and van Dijk 1978) has shown that different patterns of rhetorical organization of English narrative prose affect the way prose is understood and recalled by native speakers of English. The work of Meyer and her colleagues (197 5, 1977a, 1977b, Meyer, Brandt, and Bluth 1980, Meyer and Freedle 1984) has shown similar effects on native-speaker comprehension of English expository prose. Furthermore, these effects on reading have been demonstrated via differing measures of comprehension — written recall protocols, summaries, retellings, and question-answering. Since the latter research on expository prose has provided further evidence that knowledge and use of textual organization — specifically what Meyer calls the “top-level” organization — discriminates good readers from poor readers (Meyer, Brandt, and Bluth 1980), it is reasonable to ask whether instruction which focuses on text structure improves comprehension for poor comprehenders. Several recent studies [Bartlett 1978, Gordon 1980, Short 1982, Singer and Donlan 1982, Geva 1983, Mosenthal 1984, Taylor and Beach 1984, Reutzel 1985] have found that teaching various aspects of text structure can improve comprehension for readers of English as a native language.


Reading Comprehension Training Study Text Structure Expository Text Idea Unit 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia L. Carrell
    • 1
  1. 1.University of AkronAkronUSA

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