Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Professor B. A. Levy
Within the last decade, the study of individual differences in reading skill has become an active area of investigation. Much of this research has been conducted with children, and has focused on selected processes hypothesized to underlie proficient reading skill. Relatively less attention has been directed toward evaluating the effects of experience in contributing to skill differences.
The experiments reported in the thesis were designed to examine multiple dimensions of reading skill, and to evaluate the effects of repeated experience in two groups of readers selected on the basis of their comprehension skill. The results indicated that differences between skilled and less-skilled readers were apparent on all measures of reading. Despite these overall group differences, the less-skilled readers were at least as able to benefit from repeated experience as were their more skilled peers.
The results of the first experiment indicated that the less-skilled readers were poorer at word-level processing, particularly in processing unfamiliar lexical items. The second experiment examined whether this poorer processing reflected an inability to benefit from experience over repeated trials. The results indicated that the performance of both skilled and less-skilled readers improved with repeated experience. Moreover, similar gains were observed after repetition with text in Experiment 3. The results of Experiment 4 further indicated that, although the less-skilled readers appeared less sensitive to higher-order dimensions of text structure when reading for meaning, their performance across specific transfer conditions indicated that they were able to use higher order information to facilitate comprehension.
The results of these experiments suggest that investigation of the role of repeated experience in contributing to individual differences may clarify factors critical to the acquisition of proficient reading skills. The implications of these findings for models of reading and for future research are discussed.
Olds, Janet Margaret, "Reading and Repetition: Individual Differences in Adult Reading Skill" (1987). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2199.