College "developmental" reading students' written responses to text

Jean Fay Harp Winter, Fordham University


The purpose of this hypothesis generating study was to analyze the responses that students in one college "developmental" reading course wrote to chapters of an introductory humanities textbook. The analysis involved identifying relevant patterns in responses that would add to educators' understanding of what these students are doing when they read and respond to content-based text.^ A frequency distribution of the 21 class members' responses indicated textbook chapters to which participants responded during the semester, and revealed variation in terms of the number and kind of responses students wrote over the semester, and in terms of the number of students who responded to individual chapters. The researcher used quantitative and qualitative methods to identify patterns within textbook chapters and within student responses that related to these variations. The researcher also conducted in-depth analyses of 5 textbook chapters and the responses produced by 4 participants to those chapters, systematically comparing participants' responses to each other and to the chapters. The researcher identified categories of analysis reflecting descriptive patterns of textbook chapters and student responses.^ The researcher generated the following hypotheses based on her analysis: Among college "developmental" reading students: (a) Beginning to read and respond in the first days of a course may be instrumental to ensure commitment to this process; (b) there may be a tendency to respond more frequently to texts whose topics are familiar; (c) some elements in the responses of those who respond frequently may change over time; (d) more frequent responders may become more purposeful copiers over time, and (e) two approaches to text response may be characteristic: the tendency to compose reformulated overviews of original texts, and the tendency to compose responses that resemble a close mirroring of the original text. ^

Subject Area

Education, Curriculum and Instruction|Education, Higher

Recommended Citation

Winter, Jean Fay Harp, "College "developmental" reading students' written responses to text" (1998). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9839523.