Date of Completion

January 1980


Education, Reading




Nonvisual information affects the meaning that students derive from print. The present literature reflects theories that attempt to describe the relationship between the reader and the text. Two theories have strongly influenced this investigation into prereading strategies, the transactional theory of literature as described by Louise Rosenblatt (1978) and the model of comprehension as explained by Frank Smith (1978).^ Lesson structure investigations and various methodologies which attempt to guide students through their content area texts provide little empirical support for prereading activities. This investigation, therefore, examines the effect of two prereading strategies involving prediction on student comprehension scores in secondary content area reading tasks. The anticipation guide is a technique that asks probing questions on the subject to be read with the intention of adjusting student schema and activating relevant prior knowledge. The brainstorming guide serves the same purpose but is designed differently. Its implementation places the onerous on the teacher to motivate, involve, and guide students' predictions for the purpose of enhancing comprehension of the content area text.^ This research examines the interrelationships between the treatment groups and the dependent variables; the cloze test and a passage dependent multiple choice test. The research also examines the instructional effects of a prereading cloze passage on student comprehension. The study is guided by these questions: What relationship exists between the use of prediction strategies and student comprehension of content material? Can differences be measured by using a cloze passage comprehension test and a multiple choice passage dependent test?^ The test population includes 72 tenth and eleventh grade students from a multi-ethnic, diversified socioeconomic population at an urban high school in Connecticut.^ Analysis of variance design is used to test the hypotheses: (1) No significant differences exist at the p < .05 level among the means of reading comprehension scores of students on a passage dependent multiple choice test or a cloze test when grouped according to T(,1) (anticipation guide), T(,2) (brainstorming guide) and Control (no treatment). (2) No significant differences exist at the p < .05 level among the means of reading comprehension scores of students grouped according to C(,1) (receiving a cloze test) and C(,2) (not receiving a cloze test). (3) No significant interactions exist at the p < .05 level between T(,1) (anticipation guide), T(,2) (brainstorming guide) and Control (no treatment) and C(,1) (receiving a cloze test) and C(,2) (not receiving a cloze test) with respect to reading comprehension scores on the cloze test or the passage dependent multiple choice test.^ Within the limits of the study it appears that the prereading treatments do the following: (1) Brainstorming guides apparently help students to comprehend their textbooks, to become actively involved in the reading process, and to mobilize prior knowledge and activate relevant schema. (2) Anticipation guides may enhance comprehension when used with appropriate classes. (3) Prereading cloze may be used more effectively as a measure of readability than a prereading instructional device.^ The findings indicate that students may comprehend more when they are adequately prepared for the reading task. Even though the text used in the study was written at a readability level that was too difficult for the classes, the brainstorming strategy had a positive effect on passage dependent comprehension scores. Therefore, it is concluded that instructional practices should contain elements that allow for the mobilization of prior knowledge schema adjustment techniques. These techniques should be designed so that students are obligated to make predictions about the content of the material that they are to find in their text books. ^