Date of Award

8-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Dr. Linda B. Gambrell

Committee Member

Dr. Pamela J. Dunston

Committee Member

Dr. David E. Barrett

Committee Member

Dr. Sandra Linder

Committee Member

Dr. Susan King Fullerton

Committee Member

Dr. Barbara J. Speziale

Abstract

The purpose of this mixed-methods research study was to investigate the comprehension and motivation of 36, sixth-grade students reading moderately challenging text under two conditions: Nook or book. Using a Sequential Explanatory Design model, quantitative data were collected prior to qualitative data collection (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011). A Matched Pairs Design model (Hinkle, Wiersma, & Jurs, 2003) was employed for the quantitative portion of the study with 18 participants randomly assigned to the Nook group and 18 participants randomly assigned to the book group. Nook group participants were instructed to use the following electronic features during reading: highlighting, note taking, and dictionary usage. The book group participants received instruction for using actual highlighters, sticky notes, and dictionaries during reading. Participants read and responded to Sounder (Armstrong, 1969) in either a traditional or digital (Nook) format. Quantitative data included scores on a reading motivation survey and summative comprehension test. Qualitative data included students’ journal entries, researcher’s field notes, and participants’ verbal responses to interview questions. Results indicate the Nook group achieved higher overall comprehension scores with statistically significant higher inferential comprehension scores than the book group. Nook group participants also read approximately 3 minutes longer per day, chose a free-write response option (as opposed to responding to researcher-constructed writing prompts), and cited text more frequently in journal responses than book group participants. Findings suggest that engaging students in reading digital text and teaching them to use the technology’s facilitative features has the potential to improve student’s reading comprehension of moderately challenging text.

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