Evaluating Strategies for Focusing on What Is Important: Text Presentation and Comprehension

Sarah Ann Barry, Fordham University


This quantitative study endeavored to compare a new strategy of making irrelevant information less salient with a common reading strategy of highlighting to determine which would best aid students in making connections within and between multiple texts. Participants were 60 high school students, ranging in age from 14–17 years old. The adolescents were placed into one of three conditions: highlight relevant information, fade irrelevant information, or read-only. After reading two informational texts using their assigned strategy, the participants responded to a prompt that required them to use information from both texts. The number of inferences included in the participants’ responses was counted to ascertain whether the type of reading strategy affected the synthesis of information within and between articles. Although this experiment did not yield significant differences in the number of inferences made, participants in all conditions had high levels of integration, suggesting that the controlled variables in the experiment (giving the prompt prior to reading and reading through each text twice) facilitated synthesis. This study has important implications for future research on multiple text comprehension and for application in instructional settings.

Subject Area

Education|Educational psychology|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Barry, Sarah Ann, "Evaluating Strategies for Focusing on What Is Important: Text Presentation and Comprehension" (2023). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI30817206.