Increasing explicit, implicit, and temporal comprehension of central content of televised thematic presentations with the use of introductory organizers

Agnes Alecia Sprouse, Fordham University


Young children tend to have a very limited and highly fragmented understanding of thematically structured material. This overall poor story comprehension has been attributed to their inability to recognize central story information (explicit or factual content, implicit or inferred content concerning causal relationships among characters and situations, and temporal understanding of the sequence of events). Introductory organizers are materials presented prior to new information that identify and reinforce key elements to be learned in this targeted information. This advanced knowledge would facilitate the acquisition of this targeted information and therefore increase the likelihood that the new information would be learned. Theoretically, young children would benefit from the use of introductory organizers with thematic content because they would now have a method of recognizing pertinent story content. In order to investigate the potential use of introductory organizers with televised thematic presentations, 60 young children from urban communities between the ages of 5 and 7 years were randomly selected and divided equally into three treatment conditions: (a) experimental group (introductory organizer--story presentation), (b) control group A (story--introductory organizer presentation), and (c) control group B (story only presentation). They were shown individually two 10-minute films of a fairytale or folktale genre. After each film they were asked comprehension questions, and to arrange picture illustrations of the film's events in sequential order, and give an explanation of their picture arrangement. Responses were analyzed in terms of correct answers to explicit and implicit comprehension questions, the picture sorting task, and the verbal explanation of the picture sorting task. Results indicated that introductory organizers presented prior to a televised story appeared to have (a) increased the comprehension of implicit content material significantly and (b) facilitated the comprehension of temporal sequencing of story events in one of the stories. However, these introductory organizers did not have a facilitating effect upon the acquisition of explicit story content or the ability to explain story events correctly. The effective use of introductory organizers with thematic presentations was thought to depend on the skills required to respond to explicit, implicit, or temporal comprehension and the type of thematic material involved.

Subject Area

Elementary education

Recommended Citation

Sprouse, Agnes Alecia, "Increasing explicit, implicit, and temporal comprehension of central content of televised thematic presentations with the use of introductory organizers" (1988). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8813586.