Enhancing Learning and Thinking

By Robert F. Mulcahy; Robert H. Short et al. | Go to book overview

Frederiksen et al., 1985a, 1985b). The underlying notion is that "tasks high in a skill hierarchy (e.g., the inference task) depend on the effective, integrated operation of a number of skills that are functionally linked, either through shared data structures or shared processing resources, to the skills explicitly acquired to perform such tasks." ( Frederiksen et al., 1985b, p. 334).

Frederiksen and his colleagues have developed microcomputer training environments focusing on individual components of reading and have carried out training studies to evaluate transfer effects to other functionally linked components. These "enabling" processes in word analysis and parallel, frame-based analysis of text demonstrate the feasibility of the componential approach to instruction and remediation. Our efforts following on the phase 2 study of the second cohort of children were much more modest. Two twin training projects extending over five consecutive weeks on a daily basis and involving poor readers identified in the study and their controls were carried out ( Leong et al., 1990). The emphasis was on verbal efficiency and its interaction with the underlying mental representation systems ( Beck & Carpenter, 1986). Study 1 stressed the development of the word knowledge component in poor readers through multiple exposures and multiple sources of information ( McKeown & Curtis, 1987; Miller & Gildea, 1987). Study 2 aimed at elaboration training in the prose comprehension component (see Palincsar & Brown, 1984; Wong, 1985). Analyses of the quantitative and qualitative data show some measure of success in the modest five-week training program in promoting word knowledge and efficient self-questioning among poor readers. Both study 1 and 2 also suggest that direct, explicit teaching with discussion of learning strategies and feedback could go some way in helping not only less skilled, but also skilled, readers.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

The research summarized in this chapter was assisted by S.S.H.R.C. of Canada through S.S.H.R.C. grant #410-87-0058 and #410-89-00128. I am grateful for their assistance.


REFERENCES

Anderson J. R. ( 1980). Cognitive psychology and its implications. San Francisco: Freeman.

-----. ( 1982). "Acquisition of cognitive skill". Psychological Review, 89, 369-406.

Beck I. L., & Carpenter P. A. ( 1986). "Cognitive approaches to understanding reading: Implications for instructional practice". American Psychologist, 41, 1098-1105.

Carpenter P. A., & Just M. A. ( 1975). "Sentence comprehension: A psycholinguistic processing model of verification". Psychological Review, 82, 45-73.

Clark H. H., & Chase W. G. ( 1972). "On the process of comparing sentences against pictures". Cognitive Psychology, 3, 472-517.

Downing J., & Leong C. K. ( 1982). Psychology of reading. New York: Macmillan.

Frederiksen J. R. ( 1982). "A componential theory of reading skills and their interactions"

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