The Effects of Question Glossing on Online Reading and Look-up Behavior

Ms Christina Overstreet
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Previous research (Davis and Lyman-Hager 1997; Lomicka 1998) has shown that within an integrated online reading environment, low proficiency readers primarily use dictionary glosses and ignore other available resources. However, instant access to word definitions does not mean the reader gets the gist of the story. The reader who makes sense of a text by drawing on her/his existing knowledge may misread a text written for another discourse community entirely or in part without becoming aware of the problem. This study examines to what extent and how question glosses in the hypermedia environment enable intermediate learners of German as a foreign language to avoid misreading a text. A misreading of a text is defined as an instance when the reader constructs a mental model that contradicts explicitly stated information as well as the 'unseen' in a text. Question glosses are interspersed questions that function to prompt the reader to either activate pre-existing knowledge or to become aware of a cultural difference or knowledge gap.

10 participants read 8 texts over a period of 9 weeks. Data collection took place in a language lab and combined think aloud and immediate recall protocols. Pre- and post-study questionnaires, as well as exit interviews after each reading provide further insight into the individual reader's look-up behavior over time. 2 groups of readers alternated between reading texts with question glosses and without question glosses, while holding all other variables constant: access to external and internal dictionaries, and multimedia hyperlinks (geographical, historical, cultural information).

Research results will include: percentage of recalled propositions and idea units; causal inferences made according to treatment type; patterns of change in look-up behavior over time; stated recognition of lacunae (cultural and linguistic gaps, gaps in background knowledge) during reading and the effect of question glosses.

Keywords: Comprehension Processes, Causal inferencing, Cultural Knowledge Gaps, Question Prompts, Look-up Behavior
Stream: Technology in Education
Presentation Type: 30 minute Paper Presentation in English
Paper: A paper has not yet been submitted.

Ms Christina Overstreet

Lecturer, Department of Germanic and Slavic Studies, University of Florida

Ref: T05P0083