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Reading Motivation and Comprehension: Using iSTART-3 to Improve Comprehension in South Africa

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The purposes of the study are to: 1) investigate how students' motivation towards reading is related to their reading comprehension skills, and 2) assess the impact of using an Intelligent Tutoring System to improve comprehension. Interactive Strategy Training for Active

The purposes of the study are to: 1) investigate how students' motivation towards reading is related to their reading comprehension skills, and 2) assess the impact of using an Intelligent Tutoring System to improve comprehension. Interactive Strategy Training for Active Reading and Thinking-3 (iSTART-3) is a game-based tutoring system designed to improve students' reading comprehension skills. The current study was conducted in South Africa with 8th and 9th graders between the ages of 14 and 18. These students are multilingual and they learn English as a First Additional Language (English-FAL). Firstly, we predict that students who are highly motivated to read will have high comprehension scores than those who are slightly or not at all motivated to read. Secondly, we predict that the use of iSTART-3 will improve students' reading comprehension, regardless of their level of reading motivation, with better results for those who are more motivated to read. Counter to our predictions, the results did not reveal a relation between reading motivation and reading comprehension. Furthermore, an effect of iSTART-3 on reading comprehension was not found. These results were likely influenced by the small sample size and the length of the intervention.

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2018-12

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Movement Makes Meaning: The Role of Fine Motor Skills in an Embodied Reading Comprehension Program

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Simulation theory states that text comprehension is achieved by simulating (or imagining) text content using motor, perceptual, and emotional systems. Hence, motor skill should correlate with comprehension skill. In fact, previous research has linked fine motor skills (FMS) with word

Simulation theory states that text comprehension is achieved by simulating (or imagining) text content using motor, perceptual, and emotional systems. Hence, motor skill should correlate with comprehension skill. In fact, previous research has linked fine motor skills (FMS) with word processing and mathematical skills. I predicted a positive relationship between FMS and reading comprehension. Children enrolled in a reading comprehension intervention were assessed on FMS using the Movement ABC-2. There was a significant correlation between FMS and comprehension of narrative texts, but contrary to the prediction, the correlation was negative. Also unexpected, the control condition performed better on comprehension questions than the intervention conditions. To try to understand these results, we examined the time each child took to answer the comprehension questions. Many children answered the questions quickly, and average time to answer the questions was strongly correlated with comprehension scores. Children may have been answering questions quickly (and randomly) in order to advance to the next story. Nonetheless, the data do not support a relationship between FMS and reading comprehension.

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2018-12

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Feelin' Good...And Then Some: A Functional Evolutionary Approach to Positive Emotions in Sport

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Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct

Sport is a widespread phenomenon across human cultures and history. Unfortunately, positive emotions in sport have been long vaguely characterized as happy or pleasant, or ignored altogether. Recent emotion research has taken a differentiated approach, however, suggesting there are distinct positive emotions with diverse implications for behavior. The present study applied this evolutionarily informed approach in the context of sport to examine which positive emotions are associated with play. It was hypothesized that pride, amusement, and enthusiasm, but not contentment or awe, would increase in Ultimate Frisbee players during a practice scrimmage. Further, it was hypothesized that increases in pride and amusement during practice would be differentially associated with sport outcomes, including performance (scores, assists, and defenses), subjective social connectedness, attributions of success, and attitudes toward the importance of practice. It was found that all positive emotions decreased during practice. It was also found that increases in pride were associated with more scores and greater social connectedness, whereas increases in amusement were associated with more assists. The present study was one of the first to examine change in positive emotions during play and to relate them to specific performance outcomes. Future studies should expand to determine which came first: emotion or performance.

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2014-05

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Individual Differences in Simulating Language: Do Good Readers Embody More or Less?

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Do good readers embody more or less? The current investigation examined embodiment effects as a function of individual reading skill in the context of two cognitive theories of reading comprehension. The Construction-Integration model predicts that sensorimotor activity during reading will

Do good readers embody more or less? The current investigation examined embodiment effects as a function of individual reading skill in the context of two cognitive theories of reading comprehension. The Construction-Integration model predicts that sensorimotor activity during reading will correlate negatively with reading skill, because good readers focus on relations among abstract ideas derived from the text. Supposedly those abstract ideas have little or no sensorimotor content, hence any sensorimotor activity while reading is wasted effort. In contrast, the simulation theory predicts that sensorimotor activity will correlate positively with reading skill, because good readers create a simulation of what is happening within the text to comprehend it. The simulation is based in neural and bodily systems of action, perception, and emotion. These opposing predictions were tested using the reading-by-rotation paradigm to measure embodiment effects. Those effects were then correlated with reading skill measured using the Gates-McGinite standardized reading test. Analyses revealed an unexpected interaction between condition and congruency, and a negative relationship between embodiment and reading skill. Several caveats to the results are discussed.

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2013-12

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Testing the Limits of a Reading Comprehension Intervention

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This study investigates whether children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and who have poor reading comprehension will benefit from participating in the EMBRACE intervention. The reading comprehension program is based on the Theory of Embodied Cognition, which focuses on

This study investigates whether children who are Dual Language Learners (DLLs) and who have poor reading comprehension will benefit from participating in the EMBRACE intervention. The reading comprehension program is based on the Theory of Embodied Cognition, which focuses on the embodied nature of language comprehension. Our understanding of language is based on mental representations that we create through experiences and are integrated with according sensorimotor information. Therefore, by engaging the motor and language system through reading stories on an iPad that prompt the children to manipulate images on-screen, we might improve children's reading strategies and comprehension scores. Fifty-six children participated in reading three stories and answering related questions over a period of two weeks. Results showed that the intervention was successful in increasing reading comprehension scores in the physical manipulation condition but not in the imaginary manipulation condition. Although lower motor skill scores positively correlated with lower comprehension skills, the children's motor deficits did not moderate their performance on the intervention.

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2016-12

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Investigations of the role of high-level cognitive skills in the text production process

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Writing is an intricate cognitive and social process that involves the production of texts for the purpose of conveying meaning to others. The importance of lower level cognitive skills and language knowledge during this text production process has been well

Writing is an intricate cognitive and social process that involves the production of texts for the purpose of conveying meaning to others. The importance of lower level cognitive skills and language knowledge during this text production process has been well documented in the literature. However, the role of higher level skills (e.g., metacognition, strategy use, etc.) has been less strongly emphasized. This thesis proposal examines higher level cognitive skills in the context of persuasive essay writing. Specifically, two published manuscripts are presented, which both examine the role of higher level skills in the context of writing. The first manuscript investigates the role of metacognition in the writing process by examining the accuracy and characteristics of students' self-assessments of their essays. The second manuscript takes an individual differences approach and examines whether the higher level cognitive skills commonly associated with reading comprehension are also related to performance on writing tasks. Taken together, these manuscripts point towards a strong role of higher level skills in the writing process and provide a strong foundation on which to develop future research and educational interventions.

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Date Created
2014

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Predictors of performance on an iPad-based reading comprehension intervention among Spanish-speaking dual language learners at risk for reading comprehension delays

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Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the EMBRACE Spanish support intervention for at-risk dual language learners and to determine which verbal and nonverbal characteristics of students were related to benefit from the intervention. The

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of the EMBRACE Spanish support intervention for at-risk dual language learners and to determine which verbal and nonverbal characteristics of students were related to benefit from the intervention. The first study examined oral language and reading characteristics and the second study examined motor characteristics in predicting the children's outcomes on a reading comprehension intervention.

Method: Fifty-six participants in 2nd-5th grade were randomly assigned to one of two groups: 1) Spanish-support intervention, or 2) Spanish-support control. Outcome measures included performance on comprehension questions related to intervention texts, questions on the final narrative and expository text without strategy instruction, and difference scores on alternate forms of the Gates-MacGinitie (GMRT-4, MacGinitie, MacGinitie, Maria, & Dreyer, 2002) reading comprehension subtest administered pre- post-intervention. Multi-level hierarchical linear models were used to account for nesting of question within child within classroom. Regression models were used to examine the power of motor predictors in predicting Spanish and English language performance.

Results: Results from study 1 indicated that the intervention was most effective for narrative (vs. expository) texts and easy (vs. more difficult) texts. Dual language learners (DLLs) with lower initial English reading comprehension abilities benefitted more from the intervention than those with stronger reading skills. Results from Study 2 indicated that oral fine motor abilities predicted Spanish (but not English) oral language abilities in the expected direction (i.e. faster performance associated with higher language scores). The speed of /pata/ productions predicted reading comprehension during the intervention, but not in the expected direction (i.e. slower speeds associated with higher accuracy). Manual fine motor performance on tapping tasks was not related to language or reading.

Conclusions: The EMBRACE intervention has promise for use with at-risk DLLs. Future research should take care to match text difficulty with child skills so as to maximize benefit from the intervention. Oral fine motor abilities were related to language abilities in DLLs, but only for the native language. Slower oral fine motor performance predicted higher accuracy on intervention questions, suggesting that EMBRACE may be particularly effective for children with weak fine motor skills.

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Date Created
2017