Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




The process by which a novice reader becomes a fluent reader is an important area of investigation. Many theoretical models of reading comprehension have been suggested and much research concerning individual differences in reading has been published.

One strategy used by good readers is to spend additional time viewing or reading information which is relevant to their goals or purpose. Additional viewing time of goal-relevant information should lead to superior retention of this information, at the expense of information which is irrelevant to the reader's goals. One way to detect different strategies used by good and poor readers is to measure how much viewing time readers allot to goal-relevant information and how much of this material is recalled. A. second method of detecting different strategies used by good and poor readers is to analyze the errors readers make when they read aloud. Better readers seem to produce fewer errors and to make certain types of errors.

This study was designed to examine the impact of reading ability upon reading for a specific goal. Forty fourth-grade and thirty-nine sixth-grade subjects classified as good or poor readers read a story orally and their production was then analyzed for errors. All subjects also read two stories and answered questions about them. In the treatment condition, questions were known beforehand. In the control condition, no questions were given before reading the story. Inspection times were recorded for all subjects while they read at their own rate.

Results showed that both good and poor readers spent more time viewing information relevant to their goal. All subjects also recalled more goal-relevant than irrelevant information. Good readers additionally produced fewer errors when reading orally and corrected more of them, but did not produce more of a-certain type of error. Finally, oral miscue analysis scores significantly improved the prediction of performance on goal-relevant- recall beyond that predicted by vocabulary scores for fourth-grade subjects, but not for sixth-grade subjects.

The results are discussed as lending support to the concept of the mature reader as an adaptive, flexible processor of information, able to vary strategies as required to obtain the desired reading goal. While both good and poor readers spent more time viewing goal-relevant material and recalled more goal-relevant information, better readers appeared to be more efficient at doing so. Thus, good readers seem to have effective conscious control over their reading processes, a metacognitive skill. Implications of this research and possible future directions of research in this area are also discussed.