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Revista signos

On-line version ISSN 0718-0934


MCNAMARA, Danielle S. Learning from text: Effects of text structure and reader strategies. Rev. signos [online]. 2004, vol.37, n.55, pp.19-30. ISSN 0718-0934.

Students' ability to comprehend challenging textbooks typically used in classrooms is questionable, particularly those covering scientific material. This research addresses this problem by investigating the effects of manipulating text structure and providing reading strategy interventions, and how those effects depend on individual differences such as prior domain knowledge. The goal of this work is to find real-world solutions to help students better understand difficult text. The first solution is to provide relatively cohesive texts, matching as best we can the reader to the text. To this end, we are creating a tool, called CohMetrix which assess text cohesion and estimates text coherence based on the reader's aptitudes. The second is to provide students with reading strategy training that focuses on reading the text actively, attempting to explain the text (while reading) and making text and knowledge based inferences to support those explanations. To achieve this goal, we are creating an automated reading strategy trainer call the Interactive Strategy Trainer for Active Reading and Thinking (iSTART). These two approaches, combined should lead to optimal comprehension and learning.

Keywords : scientific comprehension; reading strategies; automated tutors; textual cohesion; textual coherence.

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