First Advisor

Marie T. Rau

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Speech Communication


Speech Communication


Reading comprehension, Oral reading, Silent reading, Nelson reading skills test, Brain damage, Aphasia



Physical Description

1 online resource (2, v, 93 p.)


The purpose of this study was to examine whether or not the method of reading (either aloud or silently) would affect the reading comprehension performance of left hemispheredamaged (LHD) and non-brain-damaged (NBD) subjects across inference levels using the Nelson Reading Skills Test (NRST) (Hanna, Schell, & Schreiner, 1977). The experimental group was comprised of fifteen subjects who had suffered a cerebrovascular accident (CVA) to the left hemisphere of the brain. Subjects were selected after they had demonstrated an adequate level of function on the Short Porch Index of Conununicative Ability (SPICA) (DiSimoni, Keith, & Darley, 1980), to perform the tasks required in this study. Subjects were then randomly assigned to either "left hemispheredamaged aloud reading" or "left hemisphere-damaged silent reading" subgroups. The non-brain-damaged (NBD) control group consisted of fifteen individuals with no known history of neurological impairment. Control group subjects were also randomly assigned to either the "non-brain damaged aloud reading" subgroup or the "non-brain damaged silent reading" subgroup. All subjects were administered the revised version of the Nelson Reading Skills Test (NRST) (1977), Form 4 of Level B. NRST test questions can be grouped into three categories representing literal, translational, and high levels of inference. Subjects were required to read five paragraphs and answer thirty-three questions pertaining to the reading material by pointing to the correct answer from a list of four choices. Subjects were allowed to refer back to the paragraph when attempting to answer test questions. Results revealed total NRST performance to be significantly better for NBD subjects. Within both experimental and control groups, no significant difference was found to exist between the test scores of the oral and silent reading subgroups. The research data did not reflect the expected error pattern of most errors occurring on high inference level questions and fewest errors on literal inferences for either group of subjects.


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