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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The influence of story schema on reading response and writing process Puharich, Katherine C.


The purpose of the study was to investigate the influence of story schema on reading response and the writing process. Although a small number of researchers suggest that cognitive structures (schemata) influence reading and writing, the various schemata that affect both processes have not been characterized. The current study: 1) identified the components of story schema; and 2) described the influence that this schema had on students’ reading responses and their writing processes. Using a case-study approach with five honour-roll, eighth-grade students, subjects participated in five one-hour sessions requiring them to: 1) read William Saroyan's short story "The Great Leapfrog Contest" in 12 segments; 2) write a conclusion to Saroyan's story; 3) discuss the short story genre; 4) write a short story using think-aloud procedures; 5) revise their stories using think-aloud procedures; and 6) agree or disagree with the investigator's proposed changes to their stories. Forty pieces of datum (25 hours of transcription and 15 written products) were analyzed using six traditional elements of story: plot, character, setting, theme, point of view, tone and mood. Three general findings emerged: 1) bright, grade-eight students' overall story schema was comprised of four constituent schemata: concepts of plot, character, setting and theme; point of view, tone and mood were not accounted for; 2) the variables which characterized each schemata were similar for both reading and writing; and 3) these schemata, in addition to helping students construct meaningful representations of print, interfered with students' reading and writing.

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