What Cognitive Benefits Does an Activity-Based Reading Strategy Afford Young Native American Readers?

This study describes two experiments that are conducted with children from a reservation community. In Experiment 1, 45 third-grade children are randomly assigned to the following reading strategies: (a) “reread,” in which participants read each sentence of a story and then reread it; (b) “observe,” in which participants read sentences and then observed an experimenter move manipulatives as directed by the story; and (c) “activity,” in which participants read sentences and then move manipulatives as directed by the story. In Experiment 2, 40 second-grade children are randomly assigned to the reread or the activity strategy. In both experiments, activity participants remember more story content than do reread participants. In Experiment 1, the authors identify no memory differences between observe and activity strategies. When imagery instructions replace the original strategies, the participants in Experiment 1, third-grade activity (observe), recall more story content than do reread participants, but participants in Experiment 2, second-grade activity, do not. The authors discuss the instructional benefits of activity-based reading strategies and the developmental implications.

Content Comments 

The substantive content of this experimental study may be relevant to a non-technical audience. The methods used to conduct an experimental study include randomly assigning students to treatments, thus substantially increasing the accuracy and plausibility of the study’s findings. Communications quality is limited due to the technical nature of experimental studies. The utility of this article is potentially above average, due to the authors’ sound methodology and broad research questions, suggesting that the use of objects and manipulatives, as opposed to the reread process, may increase recall for American Indian students. Evidence of effectiveness, while not addressed directly, may be relatively high because of the sound methods of the study. The authors cautiously draw their conclusions, recognizing, for example, that the sample population is drawn from a single American Indian tribe.