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Online reading comprehension strategies among general and special education elementary and middle school students

, Michigan State University, United States

Michigan State University . Awarded


According to government reports, new Internet technologies present readers with new reading opportunities and challenges (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, 2000; RAND Reading Study Group [RRSG], 2002). However, we are just beginning to understand the specific complexities that Internet text imposes on the reading comprehension process (Coiro, 2003; Leu, Kinzer, Coiro & Cammack, 2004), and we know even less about what these complexities mean for particular student populations who are reading texts in a variety of online environments. The present study purposefully targeted the online reading strategies of upper-elementary and middle school students with and without learning disabilities (LD), in the U.S. and in Taiwan, as they read expository text. Several aspects of the comprehension process were studied, including: (1) Internet navigation strategies and behaviors, (2) students' sensitivity to the organizational structure of hypertexts, (3) online search strategies, and (4) online reading strategies. Data collection involved surveys, structured metacognitive interviews, observations, reading comprehension activities, and online search tasks that were administered to 119 American and Taiwanese students in the fifth and sixth grades.

The results suggested that the fifth- and sixth-grade students in this study (1) had opportunities to use computers and use the Internet, but they were not taught sufficient online reading and search strategies; (2) were easily disorientated by the non-linear nature and unfamiliar structure of online texts, especially when Websites or Web pages lacked appropriate tabs or organizational cues for informational passages; (3) did not employ recommended online search strategies; and (4) had weak before-reading strategies, and had difficulty distinguishing before- and during-reading strategies, although their after-reading strategies were often advanced. The study findings suggested that: (1) students needed to be taught necessary online reading and search strategies, and (2) educators and instructional Website designers needed to be mindful of the characteristics of non-linear and unclearly structured text when designing Websites and hypermedia for upper-elementary and middle school students.


Chen, H.Y. Online reading comprehension strategies among general and special education elementary and middle school students. Ph.D. thesis, Michigan State University. Retrieved October 20, 2019 from .

This record was imported from ProQuest on October 23, 2013. [Original Record]

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