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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation of physical setting in narrative discourse, and its influence on the reading comprehension and reading interest of elementary students Craddock, Sonia


The purpose of this study was to determine the extent to which the variable, physical setting, in narrative prose influenced the silent reading comprehension and expressed interest of sixth grade students when they read such narrative prose. Six stories, each with three treatment levels, were written. The treatment levels were: local physical setting, foreign physical setting, and non-specific physical setting. Each story was designed to control relevant qualitative and quantitative variables and difficulty level. Cloze tests were constructed over all the story versions to measure silent reading comprehension. Semantic Differential Scales were constructed to measure expressed interest in the stories. Three hundred and forty-four grade six students in Vancouver, B.C., from diverse socio-economic areas, read a randomized selection of the stories and completed the matching Cloze tests and a Semantic Differential for each story read. The Gates-MacGinitie Comprehension test was administered to the students and the scores were used to divide the subjects into three reading ability groups. Data were analyzed using a fixed effects 2x3x3 fully crossed factorial design with repeated measures over the six stories. Scheffe tests for multiple comparisons were used to determine differences among groups. Pearson Products-moment correlations were calculated to determine relationships between the two dependent variables. Reading comprehension was found to be significantly influenced by the physical setting in a story. The Cloze scores on the locally-set stories were reliably higher than the Cloze scores on both the foreign set stories, and on the non-specific set stories. Cloze scores on the non-specific set stories were reliably higher than on the foreign set stories. There was however, no significant difference on the comprehension scores between specific set and non-specific set stories. Interest was not significantly influenced by the setting of the stories, but was influenced by story difficulty, easy stories being significantly preferred over the harder stories for all reading groups. Although there was a significant relationship between comprehension and expressed interest, the relationship was not significantly influenced by the setting of the story.

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