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The Effect of Reading Purpose on Semantic Inferencing About New Words

Snyder, Marielle Christine (2021) The Effect of Reading Purpose on Semantic Inferencing About New Words. Master's Thesis, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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RATIONALE: Vocabulary is critical to academic and social outcomes. Most vocabulary is learned incidentally, without direct instruction. After children become skilled at reading words (by about grade four), this incidental word learning typically happens while reading. However, readers differ in how easily they can infer new word meanings from context. Reading purpose, or the reader’s goals for comprehension of the text, affects reading comprehension, and is also thought to affect the quality of this semantic inferencing. Reading instruction to improve fluency, which is common in schools, may shift the reader’s focus from text comprehension to speed and accuracy. It is unknown if these instructions to read quickly and accurately have the unintended effect of negatively impacting word learning while reading.
METHODS: This study examines data from a between-subjects study of middle school children who were instructed to read passages with embedded nonwords under one of two conditions: reading for comprehension or reading for speed and accuracy. Eye-tracking data was collected during the task to reflect the readers’ online interactions with the text and, particularly, the nonwords within the text. Post-test behavioral measures were also collected to reflect the quality of semantic inferencing.
RESULTS: A linear mixed effects model found no significant differences between the two conditions in performance on the post-test language outcome measures. Similarly, eye-tracking data did not reveal any significant statistical differences between participant groups in measures of either active, reader-initiated reading processes or passive reading processes.
DISCUSSION: Analyses of the present data do not offer support for the theory that a priority on reading speed and accuracy sacrifices the quality of incidental word learning. Further research should investigate individual differences in response to fluency-related instructions.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Snyder, Marielle Christinemcs153@pitt.edumcs1530000-0003-0648-1506
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Thesis AdvisorDuff, Dawnadduff@pitt.edudduff
Committee MemberDickey, Michael Walshmdickey@pitt.edumdickey
Committee MemberLundblom, Erinlundblom@pitt.edulundblom
Date: 11 June 2021
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 12 March 2021
Approval Date: 11 June 2021
Submission Date: 7 April 2021
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 55
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences > Communication Science and Disorders
Degree: MS - Master of Science
Thesis Type: Master's Thesis
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: reading; fluency; adolescents; pediatric; schools; inferencing
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2021 20:51
Last Modified: 11 Jun 2021 20:51


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