Effects of topic interest and prior knowledge on reading comprehension

Baldwin, R. Scott; Peleg-Bruckner, Ziva; McClintock, Ann H.
June 1985
Reading Research Quarterly;Summer1985, Vol. 20 Issue 4, p497
Academic Journal
ALTHOUGH RECENT research indicates that children have better comprehension when they read material on topics which are highly interesting to them, the cause of this interest effect is unclear. The issue is whether or not the apparent impact of topic interest on reading comprehension is in reality a result of the fact that people tend to have more prior knowledge about topics in which they are especially interested. The purpose of this study was to separate the effects of prior knowledge and topic interest on reading comprehension. Subjects were 41 high-achieving seventh- and eighth-grade students who completed a 10-item interest inventory and took a 100-item prior knowledge test. Based on these measures, each subject read passages and took multiple-choice comprehension tests for which they had various combinations of high and low prior knowledge and topic interest. There were significant main effects for both prior knowledge and topic interest, p � .001. Results also revealed that boys were more influenced by topic interest than girls.


Related Articles

  • Theoretical and instructional implications of the assessment of two microcomputer word recognition programs. Roth, Steven F.; Beck, Isabel L. // Reading Research Quarterly;Spring1987, Vol. 22 Issue 2, p197 

    THE AUTHORS assessed the effectiveness of two microcomputer programs for improving word recognition/decoding skills, and the extent to which decoding improvements lead to improvements in reading comprehension. The programs were used for 8 months in all three fourth-grade classes of a school with...

  • READING COMPREHENSION.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 3;1/15/2007, Vol. 63 Issue 13, p4 

    A reading comprehension quiz for the January 15, 2007 issue of "Scholastic News" is presented.

  • READING COMPREHENSION.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 3;9/3/2007, Vol. 64 Issue 1, p4 

    A quiz on reading comprehension is presented.

  • Reading Skills Practice Test.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 3;10/13/2008, Vol. 65 Issue 5, p2A 

    A quiz about reading comprehension is presented.

  • WR Test Yourself!  // Weekly Reader News - Senior;3/3/2006, Vol. 84 Issue 20, special section p1 

    Presents several reading comprehension quizzes.

  • EDITION 5/6 READING SKILLS PRACTICE TEST.  // Scholastic News -- Edition 5/6;3/1/2010, Vol. 78 Issue 17, p4A 

    A quiz about reading comprehension is presented.

  • Owen Watts and the Horrible Historian. Tarshis, Lauren // Storyworks;Jan2010, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p21 

    A quiz on reading comprehension is presented.

  • No-Sweat BUBBLE TEST.  // Storyworks;Jan2010, Vol. 17 Issue 4, p31 

    A quiz on reading comprehension is presented.

  • Total Recall.  // Scholastic Scope;3/12/2007, Vol. 55 Issue 13, p20 

    The article presents a reading comprehension exercise related to the information presented within the issue.


Read the Article


Sorry, but this item is not currently available from your library.

Try another library?
Sign out of this library

Other Topics