Adjunct Questions in Text and Reading Comprehension among Good and Poor Readers in Standard 6 in Nairobi
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The aim of this study was to find out if reading comprehension among good and poor readers could improve when questions were interspersed in text. The insertion of questions in prose material has been shown to facilitate learning from the material (Rothkopf, 1982). The adjunct question technique involves placing questions either before, or immediately after prose passages and asking learners to answer such questions while studying the passage. The sample was composed of 120 Standard 6 pupils attending City Council primary schools in Makadara division of Nairobi province. The experimental design was used where learners were divided into good and poor readers using the results of a Cloze procedure test that they took. The classroom English teachers were also to confirm that the subjects chosen were the actual good and poor readers. Each group was further divided into 3 sub-groups. The subjects then read different forms of the same text, that is, either text only, text with factual adjunct questions, or text with meaningful learning questions. Each subject read two passages that were very similar. After reading the passages, two written free-recall tests were administered. Two tests were given to increase the reliability of the scores obtained. After the scoring of the posttests, a mean score per subject was obtained and a 2 (reading ability) x 3 (type of text) Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) done to test the hypotheses formulated. A Scheffe test was also done to compare various pairs of means that were of interest in the study. Generally, adjunct questions were found to help in improving reading comprehension and recall of material read. Meaningful learning questions were better than factual questions because they led to more recall of material read among the poor readers. However, for the good readers reading comprehension did not depend on the type of text read. All the good readers performed well regardless of the adjunct questions. The poor readers who read text with meaningful learning adjunct questions performed as well as the good readers. The results of this study shows that the adjunct question technique can be used by the classroom teacher as a reading comprehension skill and it can be quite effective for the poor readers. The classroom teachers need to use meaningful learning questions more than factual questions. Curriculum developers can also include the use of adjunct questions in the curricula to help the poor learners. Publishers can intersperse questions in text to help the poor readers to read with meaning.