Towards a Model: Investigating Predictors of Online Reading Comprehension

China, Kendra, Education - Curry School of Education, University of Virginia
McKenna, Michael, Curry School of Education, University of Virginia

The complexities associated with new literacies make it difficult to determine the skills required to be literate in the 21st century. New literacies are the consequence of digital technologies (the Internet and other Information and Communication Technologies) that shape and re-shape the definition of literacy (Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004). These literacies, unlike print-based traditional texts of the 20th century, are dynamic, multifaceted, and structurally unpredictable texts that can be introduced in new texts formats, and can provide both new purposes for reading and new ways to interact with information (International Reading Association, 2007). Thus, to comprehend the new literacies, students must develop and employ skills to navigate the Internet and other ICTs that not only change daily, but also change the ways in which students read, write, communicate, and learn new information (see Leu et al., 2007). In consequence, it is difficult to conceptualize what it means to be literate, and to ascertain the skills that reinforce reading and discourse.

The purpose of this study was to: (a) examine the extent to which cognitive factors (decoding, linguistic comprehension, prior knowledge, vocabulary, and nonverbal intelligence) contribute to online reading comprehension outcomes, and (b) investigate the role of skills related to the Internet and ICTs in online reading comprehension outcomes. Results from a series of hierarchical regression models revealed that online reading comprehension (ORC) was best explained by linguistic comprehension and prior knowledge among a group of 269 sixth-grade Dutch students. Vocabulary, nonverbal intelligence, and decoding did not explain any additional variance beyond that which was explained by linguistic comprehension and prior knowledge. Additionally, a moderation analysis revealed that skills related to the Internet and ICTs did not moderate the relationship among linguistic comprehension, prior knowledge, and online reading comprehension.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
new literacies, online reading comprehension, adolescent literacy, new literacies of online reading comprehension, models of reading
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