The Impact of Schema Activation on Reading Comprehension of Cultural Texts among Iranian EFL Learners

Najmeh Maghsoudi

Abstract


It is believed that the readers’ background knowledge (schema) interacts with the content of the passage they are reading. So decoding a message more accurately needs the activation of vocabulary and structure knowledge as well as background knowledge. The aim of the present study was to determine whether schema activation has any effect on reading comprehension of culturally-loaded texts. The subjects were 76 sophomore students divided into control and experimental groups. The students’ schema in experimental group was activated through prereading activities while the participants in control group received no treatment. The results of the t-test showed a significant difference between the mean scores of pre-test and post-test of the experimental group before and after schema activation. Correlation analysis also revealed that as participants received more background knowledge, their comprehension of cultural texts was improved. The study finally explored some pedagogical implications.

Key words: Schema activation; Reading comprehension; Cultural texts; Pre-reading activities


Keywords


Schema activation, Reading comprehension, Cultural texts, Pre-reading activities

References


Anderson, R.C.& Pearson, P.D. (1984). “A Schema-Theoric View of Basic Process in Reading Comprehension”, In P.L Carrell, J. Devine and D. E. Eskey. (Eds.), Interactive Approaches to Second Language Reading: Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Aron, H. (1986).  The Influence of Background Knowledge on Memory for Passages by Native and  Non Native Readers.  TESOL Quarterly, 20(1), 136-140.

Bensoussan, M. (1998). Schema Effects in EFL Reading  Comprehension. Journal of Research in Reading, 21, 213-227.

Blau, E.K. (1982).  The Effect of Syntax on Readability for ESL Students in Puerto Rico.  TESOL Quarterly, 16, 517-528.

Carrell, P.L. (1981).  Effects of Reading Comprehension of Language Complexity and Cultural Background of a Text.  TESOL Quarterly, 15, 169-181.

Carrell, P.L. (1984).  Schema Theory and ESL Reading: Classroom Implications and Applications.  Modern Language Journal, 68, 332-343.

Carrell, P.L. (1987).  Content and Formal Schemata in ESL Reading.  TESOL Quarterly, 21(3), 461-481.

Carrell, P.L. & Eisterhold, J.C. (1983).  Schema Theory and ESL Reading Pedagogy.  TESOL Quarterly, 17, 553-573.

Carter, R. & Nunan, D. (2002).  The Cambridge Guide to Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Chen, H.C. & Graves, M.F. (1995).  Effects of Previewing and Providing Background Knowledge on Taiwanese College Students’ Comprehension of American Short Stories.  TESOL Quarterly, 29(4), 663-589.

Chia, H.L. (2001).  Reading Activities for Effective Top-Down Processing. Forum, 39(1), 22-36.

Cook, G. (1997). Key Concepts in ELT: Schemas. ELT Journal, 51(1), 86.

Dole, J.A., Valencia, S.W., Greer, E.A., & Wardrop, J.L. (1991).  Effects of Two Types of Pre-Reading Instruction on the Comprehension of Narrative Expository Text. Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 142-159.

Floyd, P. & Carrell, P.L. (1987).  Effects on ESL Reading of Teaching Cultural Content Schemata.  Language Learning, 37, 89-109.

Gatbonton, E.C. & Tucker, G.R. (1971).  Cultural Orientation and the Study of Foreign Language Literature.  TESOL Quarterly, 5, 137-143.

Graves, M.F., Cook, C.L., & La Berg, M.J. (1983).  Effects of Previewing Difficult on Low Ability Junior High School Students’ Comprehension, Recall, and Attitudes.  Reading Research Quarterly, 18, 262-276.

Harmer, J. (2001).  The Practice of English Language Teaching (3rd ed.). England: Pearson Education.

Hoijer, H. (1963).  Language in Culture: The Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis.  Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Hudson, T. (1982).  The Effects of Induced Schemata on the “Short-Circuit” In Second Language Reading: Non-Decoding Factors in Second Language Reading Performance. Language Learning, 32, 1-31.

Johnson, P. (1981). Effects on Reading Comprehension of Language Complexity and Cultural Background of a Text. TESOL Quarterly, 15, 169-181.

Johnson, P. (1982). Effects on Reading Comprehension of Building Background Knowledge. TESOL Quarterly, 16, 503-516.

Kameenui, E.J., Carnine, D.W. & Freschi, R. (1982).  Effects of Text Construction and Instructional Procedures for Teaching Word Meanings on Comprehension and Recall.  Reading Research Quarterly, 17, 367-388.

Keshavarz, M.H., Atai, M.R. & Ahmadi, H. (2007).  Content Schemata, Linguistic Simplification and EFL Readers’ Comprehension and Recall. Reading in a Foreign Language, 19(1), 19-33.

Omaggio, A.C. (1979).  Pictures and Second Language Comprehension: Do They Help? Foreign Language Annals, 12, 107-116.

Pritchard, R. (1990).  The Effects of Cultural Schemata on Reading Processing Strategies. Reading Research Quarterly, 25, 273-295.

Rivers, W.M. (1981). Teaching Foreign Language Skills (2nd ed.). Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.

Roller, C. (1990). The Interaction Between Knowledge and Structure Variables in the Processing of Expository Prose.  Reading Research Quarterly, 25, 79-89.

Rowe, D.W. & Rayford, L. (1987). Activating Background Knowledge in Reading Comprehension Assessment.  Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 160-176.

Stahl, S.A. (1983). Differential Word Knowledge and Reading Comprehension. Journal of Reading Behavior, 15, 33-56.

Steffensen, M.S., Joag-dev, C., & Anderson, R.C. (1979).  A Cross-Cultural Perspective on Reading Comprehension. Reading Research Quarterly, 15, 10-29.

Stevens, K. (1982).  Can We Improve Reading by Teaching Background Information? Journal of Reading, 25, 326-329.

Taglieber, L.K., Johnson, L.L. & Yarbrough, D.B. (1988).  Effects of Preceding Activities on EFL Reading by Brazilian College Students. TESOL Quarterly, 22(3), 455-472.

Yin, K.M. (1985).  The Role of Prior Knowledge in Reading Comprehension. Reading in a Foreign Language,11, 375-380.

Yule, G. (2000). Pragmatics. Oxford: Oxford University Press.




DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3968%2Fj.css.1923669720120805.3131

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.


Reminder

If you have already registered in Journal A and plan to submit article(s) to Journal B, please click the CATEGORIES, or JOURNALS A-Z on the right side of the "HOME".


We only use three mailboxes as follows to deal with issues about paper acceptance, payment and submission of electronic versions of our journals to databases: caooc@hotmail.com; css@cscanada.net; css@cscanada.org

Copyright © Canadian Academy of Oriental and Occidental Culture

Address: 758, 77e AV, Laval, Quebec, H7V 4A8, Canada

Telephone: 1-514-558 6138

Http://www.cscanada.net Http://www.cscanada.org

E-mail:css@cscanada.net, css@cscanada.org