The effects of inserted questions and story retelling on comprehension of narrative text by fourth graders

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


Teaching and Learning

First Committee Member

Marjorie Montague - Committee Chair


This study investigated the effects of inserted questions and story retelling on fourth graders' comprehension of narrative text. Inserted questions and story retelling were studied to determine if the combination of strategies had a greater effect on comprehension of narrative text by students than either comprehension strategy alone or no strategy at all. Additionally, this study investigated whether students who retold a fourth-grade level story with inserted questions performed better on a retelling task than students who retold the story without inserted questions, and whether there were significant differences in time-on-task between conditions. The subjects for this study were 60 fourth-grade average readers from five classrooms in two elementary schools. The two passages used were at third- and fourth-grade readability levels. There were four treatment conditions: (a) read/inserted questions/retell, (b) read/retell, (c) read/inserted questions, and (d) read only. Dependent measures were (a) a total comprehension score, (b) a literal comprehension score, (c) an inferential comprehension score, (d) a retell score, and (e) number of minutes for task completion. Data were collected to compare the mean scores of the groups on these measures. Simple one-way ANOVAS were used to test the effects of comprehension strategies on total comprehension of the third- and fourth-grade narrative passages, to test the effects of inserted questions on the retell scores for the fourth-grade passage, and to test between-group differences in time-on-task for each passage. A one-way MANOVA was used to test the effects of comprehension strategies on comprehension of two types of questions, literal and inferential. No statistically significant differences between the conditions were found on the comprehension measures. There also was no significant difference on the retelling measure between the two retelling conditions. Finally, no significant difference was found in time-on-task between conditions. The findings suggest that students may not have appropriately applied the comprehension strategies they were directed to use and may need explicit instruction in strategy application. Further research that examines children's use of these strategies and the effects of strategy instruction on reading comprehension is recommended.


Education, Elementary; Education, Reading

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