A study of inferencing activities in selected basal series at the primary level in Canadian schools

Major, Maureen Mary. (1986) A study of inferencing activities in selected basal series at the primary level in Canadian schools. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the three most commonly used basal reading series for the primary in Canadian schools to identify: (i) whether inference is prescribed for teaching? (ii) if so, to what extent? and (iii) what methodologies are utilized. -- A survey of the Department of Education for each province and territory revealed the most widely used programs were Expressways by Gage (1977); Starting Points in Language Arts by Ginn (1977); and Language Development Reading by Nelson (1977). -- Teachers' manuals, student reader texts and student workbooks for each series were examined to determine the frequency of reference to the process of inference, to the use of pre and post-reading questions, and to the nature of the inference-making activities. Inferential questions required children to integrate background knowledge and text information to derive plausible inferences, whereas non-inferential questions required children to locate explicit information from the text. Analyses revealed that inference is prescribed for instruction mainly through the use of pre and post-reading questions and inference-making activities. -- An overview of the results are as follows. The Gage series presented 10 pre-reading questions, 2516 post-reading questions of which 1105 (43.9%) were inferential. It provided 19 inference-making activities. The Ginn series presented pre-reading questions and encouraged children to formulate pre-reading questions for each basal selection. Post-reading questions totalled 3191 of which 914 (28.6%) were inferential. It provided 54 inference-making activities. The Nelson series presented pre-reading questions for approximately fifty percent of the basal selections. Post-reading questions totalled 1492 of which 354 (23.7%) were inferential. It also included 57 inference-making activities. There were many examples throughout the three basal series where teacher guidelines designed to develop children's inferencing abilities were unclear. -- These findings justify the following conclusions. First, the amount of pre and post-reading questions as well as the number of inferencing activities provided in these three series is consistent with what has been reported for American basal series. This means that the Canadian basal series also appears to be weak in the important reading process of inference. Second, non-inferential questions take precedence over inferential questions in terms of the total questions asked in the teaching manuals. Third, guidelines to teachers, if and when provided, are often vague, sketchy and misleading.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7915
Item ID: 7915
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 105-113.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1986
Date Type: Submission
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Basal reading instruction; Inference; Readers (Primary); Reading comprehension

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