Ellyn Dowd

Author Credentials

Sister Ellyn Dowd, C.S.J.

Date of Award


Document Type


Superseded Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education (Reading Specialist)

Colleges & School

Cardinal Stritch College

Degree Granted By

Cardinal Stritch College

First Advisor

Sister Julitta Fisch, O.S.F.

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Reading comprehension--Study and teaching; Reading programs


The goal of reading instruction is to form the independent reader who skillfully relates the concepts presented by an author and understands his message. Thus, the reader recognizes the clues to meaning which are used within the total setting. Many educators have emphasized that the reader should use the context to help him extract the meaning, but few definite programs have been developed to strengthen this functional skill. Since the contextual setting offers many clues to meaning, and use of the context as a tool will probably not be acquired naturally without instruction, a study was planned to attempt an objective evaluation of the comparative effectiveness of improving vocabulary meanings through context clues and through direct study. A definite training program in recognition of context clues was used by the experimental group. The second group, the control group, relied more on teacher explanation, class discussion and dictionary use according to a traditional method usually employed before reading a selection. After a six-month study, the two groups were compared on a statistical basis using the t-test as a measure. Specific objectives of this study were: 1. How would an intensified program of arriving at meanings through context clues compare with the direct method in vocabulary growth? 2. How do emphasis on context clues and the direct method of vocabulary development compare as to effectiveness in improving comprehension? 3. Does either method of word meaning development benefit the group of lower achievers more than the good readers?


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