First Advisor

Jeanette DeCarrico

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language




Reading comprehension, Vocabulary -- Study and teaching, English language -- Semantics



Physical Description

1 online resource (3, v, 112 p.)


It is the goal of all reading instructors to use techniques that will enhance reading comprehension. This is certainly no less so in the second language classroom. Studies have shown that readers possess schemata for text structure that is activated during the reading process. It has also been shown that a reader's textual schemata may be culturally influenced and that second language students may possess textual schemata that conflicts or interferes with the structure of the text making comprehension more difficult. For this reason, second language learners may benefit from explicit instruction in text structure and content relationships. Semantic mapping is a text organization strategy which may be used to explicate text structure and content relationships with both expository prose and fiction. The purpose of this study was to use semantic mapping to explicate the structure and content of short fiction and to measure the effect, if any, on comprehension. For the purposes of this study, comprehension was defined two ways: (1) recognition comprehension, which is the ability to retain and recall factual detail from text content, and (2) comprehension as evidenced by the use of certain critical thinking skills, i.e., elaboration and supplementation in forming written responses. Two hypotheses were posed: 1. The use of semantic mapping will result in an increase in recognition comprehension by a treatment group of English as a second language readers using a semantic mapping strategy, as compared to a control group using an advance organizer, based on a combination multiple choice and true/ false quiz. 2. The use of semantic mapping will result in greater use of elaboration and supplementation by a treatment group of English as a second language readers using a semantic mapping strategy, as compared to a control group using an advance organizer, based on an analysis of a quiz requiring written responses. In order to determine the results of this study, .t-tests were used to compare the mean scores between groups. In the case of recognition comprehension, the group receiving the treatment, semantic mapping, did score significantly higher than the control group. In the case of comprehension, as evidenced by the use of elaborations and supplementations in written responses, the group which used semantic mapping showed a higher level of use, but the difference was not statistically significant. A Mann-Whitney U test ranked the subjects' scores individually on an ordinal scale and then compared the means between groups. In the case of elaborations the treatment group showed a significantly higher level of use. However, there was no corresponding significant difference in the case of supplementations.


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