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Title: A beginning understanding of the interplay between offline and online reading comprehension ability when adolescents read on the Internet

A beginning understanding of the interplay
between offline and online reading comprehension
ability when adolescents read on the Internet
  • Julie Coiro, University of Rhode Island
  • International Reading Association Research
  • (May 3, 2008)

Where are we headed?
  • Introduction to the current situation
  • Theoretical Frameworks
  • Summarizing the increasing complexities that
    appear to characterize online reading
  • Quantitative measures, procedures, and findings
  • Qualitative measures, procedures, and findings
  • What do these findings mean for literacy theory,
    research, and classroom practice?
  • Time for discussion (15 minutes)

The current situation
  • We do little to help struggling adolescent
    readers and their teachers (Biancarosa Snow,
    2004 Partnership for Reading, 2003 RAND Reading
    Study Group RRSG, 2002).
  • As a result, there is a large and increasing gap
    in adolescents reading achievement (NCES, 2001
    2002 2003).
  • At the same time, Internet technologies have
    increasingly become a part of our daily lives
    (e.g., Rainee Hilton, 2005 Friedman, 2005),
    introducing additional challenges to reading
    (Coiro, 2003 Coiro Dobler, 2007 NICHD, 2000
    RRSG, 2002).

The current situation
  • Unfortunately, we know little about
  • which skills/strategies/practices contribute the
    most to successful online reading comprehension
  • which students demonstrate these skills and which
    do not
  • how to characterize, measure, teach, and chart
    progress of these skills/strategies/practices in
    the classroom.
  • Unbelievably, we are doing little to learn more.
  • No states include the reading comprehension
    demands of the Internet in their standards or in
    state reading assessments (Leu, Ataya, Coiro,

Whats the big deal?
  • Researchers urged to move beyond group comparison
    studies to focus more closely on the attributes
    of skilled and less-skilled online readers
    (Abrami Bernard, 2006 Dillon Greene, 2003).
  • It is crucial that we learn more about the nature
    of online reading comprehension or risk even
    larger gaps in reading achievement and increasing
    numbers of readers who struggle in the networked
    information contexts that will dominate their
    future (e.g., ETS, 2003 IRA, 2001 Leu, 2007).

Purpose of the study
  • This sequential mixed-methods study sought to
  • Investigate the extent to which new online
    reading proficiencies may be required to
    comprehend information on the Internet
  • Explore the nature of online reading
    comprehension ability among three adolescent
    readers who read online at different levels of

Theoretical Frameworks
  • Reading comprehension is an active, constructive
    process of making meaning (Pearson et al., 1992
    Pressley et al., 1989 RRSG, 2002).
  • New literacies perspective (Coiro et al., in
    press Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, and Cammack, 2004)
  • Adapting diachronic perspectives of literacy
    practices (Gutierrez Stone, 2000)
  • Developmental theory of reading (Alexander, 1997
    2003 2005)

Developmental Perspectives
  • Alexander (2006) argued, profiles of successful
    and struggling readers are reflective of
    developmental forces (p. 413).
  • Stages of acclimation, competency, and
    proficiency may characterize readers over a
  • Might these levels be useful for distinguishing
    strategy use among lower, average, and higher
    performing online readers over the course of a
    reading task as they read for information on the

Increasing Complexities of Text Structure Impacts
Reading Comprehension
Offline Narrative Text Comprehension
Offline Information Text Comprehension
Hypertext Comprehension
Internet Text Comprehension (Online Reading
Offline Text Structures And Reading Comprehension
  • A range of active, strategic processes are
    required to comprehend narrative text
  • (Duke Pearson, 2002 Paris et al., 1991
    Pressley Afflerbach, 1995)
  • Information texts pose additional challenges with
    complex concepts, specialized vocabulary, and
    unfamiliar text structures
  • (Guthrie Mosenthal, 1987 Kintsch, 1990 Meyer,
    Brant, Bluth, 1980)
  • Reader characteristics play a central role in
    reading comprehension (RRSG, 2002 Guthrie

Key Reader Characteristics
  • Reading comprehension ability
  • Skilled readers apply a range of cognitive
    strategies such as determining key ideas,
    critically analyzing information, making
    inferences, etc. (Pearson, Roehler, Dole,
    Duffy, 1992 RRSG, 2002).
  • Strategy use depends on the readers purposes and
    the types of texts they read (Duke Pearson,
    2002 Pressley, 2000)

Key Reader Characteristics
  • Prior knowledge
  • The knowledge a reader brings to any text or
    learning situation (e.g., Anderson Pearson,
  • Skilled readers draw on general, topic-, and
    text-specific knowledge to make predictions,
    reason strategically, and remember main ideas
    (e.g., Alexander, Kulikowich, Schulze, 1991
    Alexander, Shallert, Hare, 1991).

Key Reader Characteristics
  • Dispositions
  • Habits of mind tendencies to approach and/or
    respond to situations in certain ways (see Katz,
    1988 Carr Claxton, 2002)
  • Distinct aspects of reading dispositions
    including beliefs, goals, values, purposes, and
    needs can influence comprehension
  • (e.g., Baker Wigfield, 1999 Guthrie
    Wigfield, 1997 Horner Shewry, 2002 RRSG, 2002)

Added Complexities of Informational Hypertext
  • Hypertexts (closed systems) present multiple,
    non-linear pathways (Landow, 1994)
  • Hypertexts extend the range of possible
    interconnections and pathways between texts
    (often, some paths are better than others)
    (Bolter, 1991 Burbules Callister, 2000
    Reinking, 1997)
  • Content hidden beneath multiple layers and
    connected by links with fewer surrounding context
    cues (requiring high levels of inferencing)
    (Foltz, 1996 Spyrakis, 2000)
  • Authors intertextual connections may be
    different than the readers connections, creating
    more complexity (Caney, 1999)

Reader Characteristics and Hypertext Comprehension
  • Hypertextsrequire skills and abilities beyond
    those required for comprehension of conventional,
    linear print (RRSG, 2002)
  • Prior knowledge influences navigational patterns
    and comprehension recall
  • e.g., Lawless Kulikowich (1998) Lawless,
    Mills, Brown, (2003) Yang (1997)
  • Affective dispositions differ between more and
    less successful hypertext readers
  • e.g., Balcytiene (1999) Yang (1997)

Added Complexities of Internet (Online) Text
  • Online texts are not bound within a closed system
    with only one organizational structure (Lawless
    Schrader, 2007)
  • Online texts change daily in structure, form, and
    content (Zakon, 2005)
  • Online texts often contain hidden social,
    economic, and political agendas not typically
    found in closed hypertext learning systems (Cope
    Kalantzis, 2000 Fabos, 2008)
  • Online texts introduce infinite intertextual
    connections and intercultural negotiations
    (Snyder Bulfin, 2008 Warshauer Ware, 2008)

Online Text Comprehension
  • Hill Hannafin (1997) found metacognitive
    strategies, prior knowledge, and perceived
    self-efficacy influenced how adults learned from
    Internet text
  • Studies suggest many adolescents are ill-equipped
    to deal with new online reading comprehension
  • Querying search engines
  • e.g., Eagleton Guinee (2002) Sutherland-Smith
  • Understanding search results
  • e.g., Coiro Dobler (2004) Henry (2006) Leu et
    al. (2004)
  • Critically evaluating online information
  • e.g., Burbules Callister (2000) Fabos (2004)

Online Text Comprehension
  • Three studies have directly explored Internet use
    as a complex, multifaceted process of reading
  • Coiro Dobler (2007) found skilled readers
    employed both similar and more complex
    applications of (1) prior knowledge (2)
    inferential reasoning strategies and (3)
    self-regulated reading processes.
  • Coiro Dobler (2004) found traditionally skilled
    readers with Internet reading experience were
    aware of and demonstrated strategic reading
    processes to a higher degree than their
    less-skilled peers.

Internet Text Comprehension
  • The New Literacies Research Team (2005) used this
    knowledge to design strategy interventions with
    seventh grade students and measure growth in
    online reading and science learning.
  • Found higher achievement levels in online reading
    comprehension and conceptual science knowledge
  • Developed a preliminary, psychometrically sound
    measure of online reading comprehension
  • Performance in online reading skills (ORCA-Blog)
    did not correlate with traditional reading skills
    (DRP), suggesting that the two instruments
    measured complementary, but orthogonal skill sets.

Initial Evidence of something new
(r0.19, n 89, N.S.)
Offline Reading CT State Reading Test Online
Reading Comprehension ORCA Blog
Leu, D. Castek, J., Hartman, D., Coiro, J.,
Henry, L., Kulikowich, J., Lyver, S. (2005).
Internet Text Comprehension
  • Some research suggests the skills sets are
    similar, but more complex (e.g., Coiro Dobler,
    in press).
  • Other research suggests the skill sets are
    complementary but orthogonal (e.g., NLRT, 2005).
  • The current study builds on these findings to
    investigate the extent to which new (and old)
    comprehension proficiencies may be required on
    the Internet.

Key Research Questions
  • RQ1 In a regression analysis, does performance
    on one measure of online reading comprehension
    ability significantly predict performance on a
    second, parallel measure of online reading
    comprehension ability over and above (a) offline
    reading comprehension ability and (b) prior
  • RQ2 What specific patterns of skill and strategy
    use appear to distinguish three students of
    varying levels of online reading comprehension
    ability as they engaged in a series of online
    information requests about science content?

Quantitative Sample
  • 510 7th graders from a convenience sample sorted
    by strata into two groups (economically
    advantaged and economically challenged)
  • 60 students randomly selected from each strata
  • Final sample included 118 ethnically,
    economically, and academically diverse seventh

Diverse Quantitative Sample
Quantitative Measures of Reader Characteristics
  • Offline reading comprehension ability
  • Prior knowledge
  • Online reading comprehension ability

Measuring offline reading comprehension ability
  • Connecticut Mastery Test (CMT)
  • Standardized reading scores (r .85)
  • 50 percent
  • Forming an initial understanding
  • Developing an interpretation
  • Demonstrating a critical stance
  • 50 percent
  • The Degrees of Reading Power (DRP)

Measuring offline reading comprehension ability
Measuring Prior Knowledge
Conceptual measure with six items scored with a
three point rubric (r .849)
  • What do you know about
  • the lungs
  • the breathing process
  • oxygen
  • carbon monoxide poisoning
  • animation
  • reliable information

Range 3.5 - 34 Mean 14.93 (SD 7.12)
Measuring Online Reading Comprehension Ability
  • Online Reading Comprehension Assessment
    (ORCA-Scenarios I and II)
  • Three integrated tasks in a Treasure Hunt that
    asked students to locate, evaluate, synthesize,
    and communicate information using the Internet
  • Twenty open-ended items each scored using a
    4-point rubric (0-3 points) for a maximum score
    of 60 points
  • ORCA Scenario I (r .918) and Scenario II (r

ORCA-Scenario 1
(No Transcript)
ORCA-Scenario 2
Quantitative Procedures
  • 118 students completed measure of prior knowledge
    and ORCA-Scenario I (recorded with Camtasia)
  • Standardized reading scores were collected from
    each district
  • 16 weeks later, completed same measure of prior
    knowledge and ORCA-Scenario II (recorded with
  • This 2nd PK measure was used in regression model

Findings Predicting Online Reading Comprehension
N 118
Regression Analysis
R2 Offline Reading Comprehension Additional R2 Prior Knowledge Additional R2 Online Reading Comprehension Total R2
.351 35.1 .074 .154 .579
Offline Reading Comprehension CT State Reading
Test Online Reading Comprehension ORCA
Scenario I and II (in Quia interface)
Effect Size .33 - large effect Cohen (1988)
Something different, new, unique?
  • Something predicts online reading comprehension
    over and above offline reading comprehension
    prior knowledge
  • Multiple possibilities (combinations) of offline
    and online reading ability
  • Alternative explanation Process-based strategy
    use vs. product-based skills (but its still
    reading comprehension)

Findings Predicting Online Reading Comprehension
  • Tested for Interaction Effects
  • There was a significant negative interaction
    effect between prior knowledge and online reading
    comprehension (ORCA-Scenario I), t(105) -2.28,
    p lt .05.
  • When entered into the whole regression model as a
    fourth predictor variable, this interaction
    effect explained a small but additional 1.9
    percent of variance in the model, which was
    significant FD(1,104) 4.782, p lt .05

Findings - Main Effects of Prior Knowledge
Among readers with Effect of prior knowledge Result
HIGH online reading comprehension PK had no significant effect on ORCA2 performance t(106).079 p gt .05
AVERAGE online reading comprehension PK had no significant effect on ORCA2 performance t(106)1.965 p gt .05
LOW online reading comprehension PK had a positive significant effect on ORCA2 performance t(106)2.898 p lt .01
(No Transcript)
A changing role for prior knowledge?
  • PK had a positive and significant effect only
    among students with low online reading ability
    for those with average or high online reading
    ability, PK had no significant effect on online
    reading performance
  • This suggestshigher levels of online reading
    ability may help compensate for lower levels of
    topic-specific prior knowledge when adolescents
    complete online reading-for-information tasks.

Part II
  • So what more can we learn from a richer
    qualitative look at the patterns of strategy use
    among three diverse online readers?
  • How might these patterns begin to help us better
    understand the stories behind the numbers?

Qualitative Sample
  • Three focal students selected based on a
    combination of their online and offline reading
    performance (after Time 1)
  • A higher performing online reader and higher
    performing offline reader Nicole
  • A lower performing online reader and lower
    performing offline reader Christian
  • A higher performing online reader but lower
    performing offline reader Mikaela

Qualitative Procedures
  • Directly after ORCA 2, conducted retrospective
    think-aloud interviews with three focal students
  • Internet use at home school
  • Their personal response to the task
  • General reading habits offline and online
  • Elaborate on strategy use while video recording
    played back
  • Semi-structured follow-up interviews with each
    students reading/language arts teacher and
    computer teacher
  • Teachers perceptions and curriculum components

Qualitative Data Analysis
  • Iterative stages of a diachronic, developmental,
    contrastive, case study design
  • Case study of three different readers
  • Diachronic analysis to identify phases of online
    reading behaviors along a chronological timeline
  • Contrastive case analysis of strategy use
  • Pinpoint developmental aspects of online reading
    comprehension along a continuum within six phases
    of online reading

Six phases of online reading (Reading for
Information in ORCA-Scenarios I and II)
  • Phase 1. Understanding the task directions
  • Phase 2. Selecting and revising search terms
  • Phase 3. Reading to evaluate the relevancy of
    hyperlinks in search engines and websites
  • Phase 4. Reading to critically evaluate accuracy,
    reliability, and commercial bias within
    and across websites
  • Phase 5. Synthesizing information across three
    websites to make a best choice
  • Phase 6. Communicating answers to online
    information requests

Analyzing patterns within subphases of online
Qualitative Analysis Developmental Trends???
Lower performing online reader Average performing online reader Higher performing online reader
Task directions
Search terms
Evaluate relevancy
Evaluate accuracy, reliability and stance
Finding 1
  • Qualitative Finding 1
  • A developmental progression of reading
    comprehension skills and strategies distinguished
    the three readers performance within each phase

Phase 1 Understanding the task directions
monitoring understanding
Lower-performing online reader Average-performing online reader Higher-performing online reader
He was not sure what to pay attention to - he was confused so he just kept reading. He acknowledged this difficulty in the interview, but had a limited repertoire of strategies to address his confusion about where to start. She explained she was reading it slowly to make sure it made sense. She was reading all the questions and writing them down to help remember. She was aware of her difficulty, and used a compensatory strategy (write down clues). She was questioning the task and monitoring her understanding of the topic and the vocabulary. She mentioned the 2nd task was more challenging and wasnt quite sure which detail to focus on first.
  • At each phase, developmental differences appeared
    to characterize three students with different
    overall levels of online reading proficiency

Lower Average Higher
Locating .com strategy Whole phrase Uses keywords
Evaluating Reliability Struggled to locate About Author page Judged reliability based on length of coverage Examined authors level of integrity/expertise
Evaluating Commercial Bias Ran out of time and did not have opportunity to demonstrate strategy use Detected related advertising but over-generalized caution (believed all information was fake) Detected related advertising and expressed balanced caution (may be exxagerated/slanted)
Communicating Copied the long address by hand Copy/pasted address with mouse shortcut
Go to COIRO IRA2008 Part 3
Understanding Task Directions(Developmental
High (50 seconds) I was reading the clues and I was like, Oh, United Kingdom! I like the United Kingdom! But then I got to the asthma part and I was like, what does asthmas have to do with carbon monoxide poisoning, and then I saw it. And then the animation part - I love having animation!
Avg. (3 min. 30 sec) I read the clues and I read the questions, and then up here pointing to the link to the MSN homepage, it goes to the link. I read the question and I wrote down (on the paper next to her) what the questions are, so I dont have to click back and forth later on to see if I got the right thing.
Low (3 min 26 sec) Well, my plan is to like, to check it out, what to do, which one to look at, and where to look at itI was thinking that I wouldnt be able to find it - that it was going to be hard.
LOCATING Nicole Task 2 Higher Performing
Online Reader
111. The address is http//www.njpies.org/co
LOCATING Christian Task 2 Lower Performing
Online Reader
1000-1045 In questions 1-4, I just cant find
Critically Evaluating Reliability(Developmental
  • MOST RELIABLE Nicole - higher performing
  • This site is most reliable because it gives a
    lot of information. It is also done by a college
  • MOST RELIABLE Mikaela - average performing
    This site is most reliable because the site is
    all about the facts on carbon monoxide poisoning
    and because you learn more about carbon monoxide
  • MOST RELIABLE Christian - lower
    performingran out of time looking for authors
    name I was all shocked cuz I was like kinda
    lost, cause its kinda hard

Critically Evaluating Reliability (Developmental
  • LEAST RELIABLE Nicole - higher performing
    This site looks like theyre trying to sell me
    stuff - I didnt think it was the least reliable,
    but I didnt think it was the most reliable - it
    was in the middle. Cause if they try to sell you
    something, that doesnt always mean its not
    reliable. It means that it gives you a slight
    thought that it might not be reliable, but it
    might just be trying to help you, like picture
    carbon monoxide detectors now and think the life
    lost may be yours next time.
  • LEAST RELIABLE Mikaela - average performing
    This site is the least reliable because 1) the
    site has the least facts and 2) because the site
    is the least accurate for people to learn
    anything because theres only 2 1/2 paragraphs.
  • LEAST RELIABLE Christian - lower performing
    This site said For Immediate Release - I think
    they just want to put that out really quick - it
    means they really dont want to help, they just
    put information out fast.

Qualitative Finding 2
  • Developmental differences appeared to be affected
    by five key dimensions of offline and online
    reading comprehension ability including
  • (1) fluency
  • (2) self-regulated reading
  • (3) inferential reasoning
  • (4) critical reasoning and
  • (5) metacognitive knowledge about what, how, and
    when to employ particular online reading
  • Remember Strategic knowledge declarative,
    procedural, and conditional

See Figure 1 in Handout for Details
Offline PK Online Total R2
35.1 7.4 15.4 57.9
The Interplay Between Offline and Online Reading
Primarily offline
Primarily online
Primarily offline with new online procedures and
Primarily offline with new online procedures and
Primarily offline with new online procedures and
Combine offline and new online
Offline PK Online Total R2
35.1 7.4 15.4 57.9
Qualitative Finding 3
  • Online reading comprehension might be conceived
    as overlapping and highly integrated dimensions
    of strategic offline and online reading processes
    rather than a linear sequence of isolated reading
  • Thus, online reading comprehension instruction
    should weave offline and online reading strategy
    practice within authentic tasks that integrate
    online locating, evaluating, synthesis, and

Implications for Literacy Theory
  • Preliminary evidence of the psychological reality
    of new literacies required to comprehend
    information on the Internet (Leu et al, 2004).
  • Further informs long-debated theoretical
    questions about reading comprehension by
    providing preliminary evidence that online
    reading comprehension may best be characterized
    as both
  • a highly integrated set of strategic reading
    processes (see Thorndike, 1974)
  • that can be organized into sets of different
    sub-skills (see Davis, 1972) related to six
    phases of online reading

Implications for Literacy Research
  • Findings contribute to emerging work that seeks
    to identify the range of skills and strategies
    that effectively characterize online reading
    comprehension (TICA Project, 2005-2007).
  • Findings help us begin to more precisely
    understand the possible similarities and
    complexities / differences between offline and
    online reading comprehension processes revealed
    in previous work (e.g., Coiro Dobler, 2007 Leu
    et al, 2005).
  • Findings extend work identifying qualitative
    shifts in strategic offline processing that
    distinguish novices from experts (e.g., Alexander
    et al.) to offer preliminary patterns of
    qualitative shifts in online comprehension
    strategy use that appeared to distinguish
    higher-performing online readers from
    lower-performing online readers.

Implications for Classroom Practice
  • Inform diagnosis and remediation within each
    phase of online reading comprehension ability
  • We can no longer assume that one reader will do
    equally well or be equally challenged across all
    dimensions of an online reading task (or that how
    you read offline predicts entirely how you read
  • Preliminary set of criteria for determining
    individual strengths and weaknesses can inform
    realistic next steps for remediation within and
    across the phases of online reading comprehension

Implications for Classroom Practice
  • Inform instruction of online reading
  • Design leveled (Mosenthal, 1996) and explicit
    instruction in
  • Locating communicating skills to enable access
    to online texts
  • Critical evaluation skills for all levels of
    readers to facilitate deeper questioning of texts
    and sources
  • Synthesis strategies that consider the overlaps
    between evaluation, synthesis, and communication

We need to be cautious in our interpretations
  • Tasks did not represent the full extent of online
    literacy experiences or new literacy components
  • Focused on externally assigned questions as
    opposed to self-selected topics of inquiry
  • Narrow view of evaluation, synthesis, and
  • Scoring system reflected the task demands
  • Cant really generalize from three case studies
    that in some ways were more similar than
    different (but findings can inform a replication
    study with larger N)

Significance of the Study
  • Having the skills to comprehend information on
    the Internet will play a central role in academic
    success in an information age.
  • A better understanding of the nature of the new
    skills strategies of online reading
    comprehension can
  • Inform an emerging theory of new literacies
  • Provide rich insights into online reading
  • Inform the development of diagnostic instruments
    and better instructional strategies, particularly
    for those students who struggle the most with
    online reading
  • Pursuing the ideas that emerged may prompt new
    focus for addressing several of the literacy
    challenges we face today.

Thank you. Questions? Concerns? Ideas?Julie
CoiroUniversity of Rhode Islandhttp//www.newlit
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