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Why do You Read? Toward a More Comprehensive Model of Reading Comprehension: The Role of Standards of Coherence, Reading Goals, and Interest

Calloway, Regina (2019) Why do You Read? Toward a More Comprehensive Model of Reading Comprehension: The Role of Standards of Coherence, Reading Goals, and Interest. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Readers read for different purposes and the texts they read vary in topic and difficulty. These situational factors influence standards of coherence—how much understanding a reader aims to have for a given text. Three studies examined whether individual differences in reader-based standards of coherence influenced off-line and on-line comprehension. Study 1 designed and evaluated a self-report measure of reader-based standards of coherence. For an adult community sample, an exploratory factor analysis found that the reader-based standards of coherence measure had four factors: 1) intrinsic reading goals, 2) extrinsic reading goals and learning strategies, 3) desire to understand and reading regulation strategies, and 4) desired reading difficulty. The measure predicted readers’ reading habits. Study 2 positioned reader-based standards of coherence within a structural equation model of reading comprehension and the findings supported predictions from the Simple View of Reading (Gough & Tunmer, 1986) and the Reading Systems Framework (Perfetti, 1999; Perfetti & Stafura, 2014). College students’ listening comprehension and vocabulary knowledge directly affected reading comprehension and decoding ability and reading experience indirectly affected reading comprehension via vocabulary knowledge. Crucially, the structural equation model showed that students with higher reader-based standards of coherence sought out more reading experiences, indirectly affecting vocabulary knowledge. Study 3 tested effects of reader-based standards of coherence, comprehension goal (answering open-ended questions vs. phrase matching), and interest on on-line reading and listening comprehension. Participants with the goal to answer open-ended questions read more slowly than those who completed a phrase matching task, indicating that comprehension goals influenced reading regulation strategies. Additionally, participants with more reading experience and more interest read passages more quickly. Participants across both comprehension goal conditions showed evidence of activating bridging inferences during reading and listening comprehension tasks; however, only participants with high interest showed evidence of activating predictive inferences during reading. Finally, reader-based standards of coherence predicted participants’ interest in the passages they comprehended only in more difficult comprehension situations. Overall, the studies demonstrate that reader-based standards of coherence, interest in text material, and reading-related skills help explain sources of comprehension failures in adult readers.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Calloway, Reginarcc36@pitt.edurcc36
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairPerfetti,
Committee MemberTokowicz,
Committee MemberCho,
Committee MemberWright,
Date: 20 June 2019
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 29 March 2019
Approval Date: 20 June 2019
Submission Date: 11 April 2019
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 168
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Psychology
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Adults Individual differences Reading comprehension Standards of coherence
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2019 14:41
Last Modified: 20 Jun 2019 14:41

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