The effects of two types of reading material on the reading attentiveness, attitudes, and comprehension of Black junior high low achievers



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The purpose of this study was to assess the difference between the changes in reading attentiveness, attitudes, and comprehension of two groups of black junior high low-achievers who read two different types of instructional material. One group read traditional workbook stories and then branched stories; branched stories are fictional narratives containing a series of episodes, each of which ends with a choice of three possible plot developments. The other group read traditional workbook stories throughout the experiment. The contribution of sex, age, reading level, and grade level to the change-differences were also assessed. In this experimental study, the two groups of black low- achievers (180 pupils in grades 6, 7, and 8) were observed two times. At Time-One, both groups read traditional stories. A week later at Time-Two, the experimental group read branched stories while again the control group read traditional stories. At each time, with both groups, attentiveness was assessed through on-task observation using the Jackson-Hudgins Observation Schedule; attitudes were measured by using the revised Estes Attitude Scale; and comprehension was assessed by having the students answer questions at the end of each story. The samples were described on the basis of the study variables with percentages for each category. The data were analyzed, using appropriate measures of central tendency and measures of dispersion. Analysis of variance designs were used with the "F" test and appropriate t-tests, and the .05 statistical significance level was used as criteria for acceptance or rejection of the hypotheses. There was a more highly significant difference between the changes in attentiveness, in attitudes, and in comprehension of the group reading the branched stories, than in the group reading the traditional stories. The branched group became significantly more attentive, their attitudes became significantly more positive, and their comprehension scores were significantly higher. The difference between the changes in attentiveness was greater among females, the twelve and thirteen year olders, and the third and fourth grade reading levels. The difference between the changes in attitudes was approximately the same for sex, age, and grade level. The difference between the changes in comprehension was greater among the males, the older students, and the third-grade reading level. [...]