Using self-explanation strategy to improve children’s scientific text understanding

Using self-explanation strategy to improve children’s scientific text understanding

First Author: Su-Fen Hsueh -- Affiliated Experimental Elementary School of National Chiayi University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Yuhtsuen Tzeng; Chi-Shun Lien
Keywords: Self-explanation, Reading comprehension, Reading instruction
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose- Many studies have shown that self-explanation facilitates comprehension (Chi, 1994; McNamara, 2004). However, few studies focus on teaching children self-explanation strategy. The purposes of this study were to explore the process of children’s scientific understanding and to examine the effect of self-explanation instruction.

Method – Four intact classes (119 students) from one Taiwanese elementary school participated in this study and were randomly assigned to one of the experimental conditions: (1) Self-explanation with reading comprehension instruction; (2) self-explanation instruction; (3) reading comprehension; (4) traditional literacy instruction. Before and after the instruction, all participants were given to read two different biological texts and to explain target sentences during their reading. All participants’ self-explanation protocols were recorded and analyzed by experimenter-developed category. Four-item posttests were administered to all participants for investigating their understanding of texts.

Results/ Conclusions – The results showed that participants who received self-explanation instruction performed better than the rest of instruction groups on self-explanation protocols. For the scientific text understanding, those who received self-explanation with reading comprehension instruction and reading comprehension instruction only outperformed than self-explanation instruction only and traditional instruction. The transferred effects were also found after self-explanation with comprehension instruction. These findings were discussed in terms of their educational implications.