College students in remedial reading classes interacting with stories written in chronological time order and time-shift

Judith Entes, Fordham University


This study described and analyzed the reading processes of four college freshmen enrolled in Remedial Reading classes when they interacted with three short stories. They were "The Necklace" where time is presented in chronological order, and "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty" and "Eveline" where there is a changed order of the presentation of time, referred to as time-shift. Students participated in three, two-hour sessions where they read each story silently, and discussed what was going on in their mind as they read. Sessions were audio-taped, and written transcripts were created from each student's verbal protocols. During and after the reading, probing questions were asked by the investigator. The analysis of data resulted in the generation of hypotheses about the nature of the processes and the potential variables influencing college readers in Remedial Reading courses as they interacted with the different texts. The two major hypotheses generated from the study are: It is hypothesized that in reading there are two stances a reader takes: engagement or disengagement. It is hypothesized that the text organization, such as time, influences the reader's stance of engagement or disengagement. From the data analysis, major categories were established distinguishing engaged reading from disengaged reading. In engaged reading the reader responds assuming the role of the character, narrator, and/or passionate spectator while in disengaged reading the reader distances himself or herself from the situation, assuming a dispassionate spectator's perspective. At any distinct time, either a reader is engaged or disengaged. Engaged and disengaged reading are distinguished by their physical behaviors and verbal reports of the mental processes. The physical behaviors of engaged reading are often animated; however, disengaged readers also may physically display this behavior. Verbal reports of the mental processes, therefore, are essential in identifying a reader's stance. Engaged reading involves two mental processes, activating prior knowledge and posing and getting questions answered. In disengaged reading, the reader accepts inconsistencies. It is suggested that successful readers develop strategies which enable them to become engaged in reading.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction

Recommended Citation

Entes, Judith, "College students in remedial reading classes interacting with stories written in chronological time order and time-shift" (1989). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8918442.