Date of Award


Document Type

Dissertation - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Center for the Advancement of Education


St. Petersburg Junior College (SPJC) requires large numbers of Incoming students to enroll in College Reading Techniques Classes because of deficient reading skills. These students have a particular lack of the higher level inferential reading/thinking skills. Although the value of using student writing to develop those skills has been indicated, little research has been done to identity the instructional methods most affective in college reading Classes. It was the purpose of this study to develop, implement, and evaluate an instructional model to increase reading/thinking skills through written responses to the macro-structure of the text read. Answers were sought to the following basic research questions: 1) Did writing activities increase the reading comprehension of students? 2) Did the structural-response model increase the reading comprehension most effectively? 3) Did the structural-response model increase the inferential comprehension most effectively? Hypotheses were formulated and tested for significance by analysis of variance and t-test with .05 as the acceptable probability Level. The Structural-Response Instructional Model was developed on the concepts of cognitive psychology and psycho-linguistics. Evaluation of the model was done in an experimental study. The sample for the three group study consisted of three reading classes. Membership in the classes was determined by chance enrollment and students were similar in reading ability as determined by placement test. The classes were assigned to the following groups by random drawing: 1) the reading-only group, 2) the group writing opinion-responses, and 3) the group writing structural-responses. At the end of the fifteen week study, reading comprehension ability levels were assessed by The Stanford Diagnostic Reading Test. The results of the study indicate significant difference between groups in total comprehension and in inferential comprehension. In the subsequent compares of the structural-response group and the opinion--response group, the difference was highly significant. For further comparison of the three groups, the test scores in inferential comprehension were cited but into intervals and it was readily discernable that writing structural-responses enabled more students to reach higher levels of inferential comprehension. Seventy-three percent of these students achieved eighty percent accuracy. It was concluded that the Structural-Response Instructional Model was a pragmatic way to use writing to increase more complete understanding of writing discourse as well as to increase the students’ reasoning skills. This conscious use of text structure led to relevant deduction based on accurate information. However, free writing of opinion response did little to increase reading ability. In addition, this writing method had inherent problems in the students’ lack of writing skills, and the difficulty of connecting opinion-writing to a strategy helpful in order reading situation. Hence, it was concluded that time spent on such writing was not warranted in reading classes. It was recommended that the Structural-Response Model be incorporated into the reading program at SPJC. It was also recommended that a workshop be given to present the model to instructors and teaching assistants, and that the study be replicated. The complete results and recommendations were presented to English department administrators at SPJC and to the Director of Research and Development. A proposal was submitted to the International Reading Association (IRA) for the paper to be road at the 1987 annual convention. An article will be sent to forum for Reading., College Reading Improvement Group, IRA, tor possible publication. This study extended current research in reading in two ways. First, it provided empirical evidence to guide instructional decisions concerning the value of using writing to enhance reading skills. Second, it demonstrated a pragmatic instructional method to incorporate writing strategies into a reading program.

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