Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction


Gambrell, Linda B

Committee Member

Eckhoff , Angela

Committee Member

Fisk , William R

Committee Member

Thompson , Martha


It is estimated that nearly 70% of high school students in the United States need
some form of reading remediation, with the most common need being the ability to
comprehend the content and significance of the text (Biancarosa & Snow, 2004).
Research findings support the use of visual imagery and keyword cues as effective
comprehension strategies (Denner, McGinfly, & Brown, 1989; Gambrell & Jawitz, 1993;
Sadoski, 1985). This study extends the current body of research on these two strategies
by (a) exploring and comparing the combined effects and interactions of training students
in the coordinated use of visual imagery and keyword cues, and (b) examining the effects
of training students in the use of keyword cues as a post reading comprehension strategy.
For the purposes of this study, 98 third-grade students were randomly assigned to one of
the following treatment conditions: (a) visual imagery (during reading), (b) keyword cues
(after reading), (c) visual imagery (during reading) + keyword cues (after reading), or (d)
general memory instructions (before reading). Strategy instruction for all treatment
conditions took place across four instructional lessons, following Pearson and
Gallagher's (1983) 'gradual release of responsibility' model. In order to examine main
effects of treatment condition on narrative and expository dependent measures of
memory (free recall), explicit and implicit comprehension (cued recall), and contextually
relevant vocabulary knowledge, participants were administered immediate-post
assessments one week after their final instructional lesson, and delayed-post assessments
six weeks after their final instructional lesson. A series of parallel MANOVAs were
conducted to analyze student performance on the immediate/delayed-post assessment
narrative and expository dependent measures. Follow-up post hoc analyses of significant
univariates revealed that participants in the two treatment conditions where they were
trained to utilize keyword cues, significantly outscored their peers in one or both of the
other two treatment conditions on (a) immediate-post assessment measures of memory,
and explicit and implicit comprehension, and (b) delayed-post assessment measures of
implicit comprehension. In addition, qualitative analyses revealed higher accounts of
perceived value as a function of future strategy use, for participants who were trained in
the use of keyword cues.

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