Visualise a strategy: The effect of explicit reading strategy instruction on Dutch secondary school pupils’ reading comprehension
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Reading comprehension is a difficult, cognitive process that requires the correct utilization of reading strategies. High school education often operates on the notion that frequent exposure to texts is sufficient preparation for the central exam. However, studies have shown that many high school students struggle with reading comprehension. In the 21st century teenagers are frequently exposed to visual media and many spend more time interacting with visual stimuli than written information. Therefore, it could be unwise to assume that simply exposing children to literature in school will provide them with sufficient reading skills to be successful in the future. The purpose of the present study was to examine whether secondary school students benefited from short-term, explicit reading strategy instruction and secondly, the extent to which the visual orientation of the students had an effect on their reading comprehension results after receiving explicit reading strategy instruction. In total, 72 participants (4 HAVO pupils) were given a questionnaire to test for visual orientation in their reading behaviours. In the experiment, 48 participants received explicit reading strategy instruction and 24 participants were the control. All participants completed a reading comprehension test before and after the experiment. The results showed that the experimental group showed improvement in the test phase Notably, students who struggled more with reading comprehension in the pre-test showed the more growth after the training. The control group did not improve in the test-phase and scored lower in the post-test. Secondly, the sample size was not sufficient to determine whether visual orientation significantly affected the effect of explicit reading strategy instruction.