Multiple Text Comprehension for College-Level Readers: Instructions to Enhance Performance

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The purpose of this study was to determine the optimal method for instructing college-level readers how to use a self-explanation strategy when comprehending multiple texts, which is a difficult task even for advanced readers. Self-explanation has been well documented to enhance single text comprehension. Three experimental conditions tested the degree of explicitness necessary for pre-reading instructions to make an impact: a control condition where readers were instructed to comprehend texts well; a definition only condition where readers were given a definition of a self-explanation strategy and urged to use it during reading; and a definition plus modeling condition where readers were given the self-explanation definition and then a researcher modeled how to use it during reading. The results showed that college-level readers performed better on reading comprehension and written essay tasks when in the definition only condition compared to the control condition. It is concluded that college-level readers need instructions to self-explain to enhance multiple text comprehension but instructions do not need to be overly explicit in terms of how to implement the strategy during reading.


Society for the Scientific Studies of Reading Conference (SSSR)


Santa Fe, NM