Reading Comprehension as a Function of Text Genre and Presentation Environment: Comprehension of Narrative and Informational Texts in a Computer-Assisted Environment vs. Print


The current study attempts to investigate the differences in reading comprehension as a function of the text’s genre in a computer-assisted environment vs. print. For this purpose, data were collected from 34 fifth-grade narrative computerized unit, narrative printed unit, informational computerized unit and informational printed unit. The results pointed to an interaction effect between the text genre and presentation environment. For the informational units, better per-formance was noted on the computerized environment when compared to the printed. Marginal effect was encountered for the narrative units, pointing to higher reading comprehension on the printed environment. In addition, we examined whether one environment will be more beneficial than the other, when comparing poor and good comprehenders. No interaction effect was en-countered between comprehension level and presentation environment. However, post-hoc analysis indicates that among the good comprehenders, better performance was achieved on the printed units. The data is discussed in terms of its implications on utilizing computerized-assisted environments as an aid in reading comprehension instruction.

Share and Cite:

Makhoul, B. and Copti-Mshael, T. (2015) Reading Comprehension as a Function of Text Genre and Presentation Environment: Comprehension of Narrative and Informational Texts in a Computer-Assisted Environment vs. Print. Psychology, 6, 1001-1012. doi: 10.4236/psych.2015.68097.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Abdelhadi, S., Ibrahim, R., & Eviatar, Z. (2011). Perceptual Load in the Reading of Arabic: Effects of Orthographic Visual Complexity on Detection. Writing Systems Research, 3, 117-127.
[2] Adams, B. C., Bell, L. C., & Perfetti, C. A. (1995). A Trading Relationship between Reading Skill and Domain Knowledge in Children’s Text Comprehension. Discourse Processes, 20, 307-323.
[3] Alexander, P. A., Kulikowich, J. M., & Schulze, S. K. (1994). The Influence of Topic Knowledge, Domain Knowledge, and Interest on the Comprehension of Scientific Exposition. Learning and Individual Differences, 6, 379-397.
[4] Anderson-Inman L., & Homey M. A. (2007). Supported eText: Assistive Technology through Text Transformations. Reading Research Quarterly, 42, 153-160.
[5] Askwall, S. (1985). Computer Supported Reading vs Reading Text on Paper: A Comparison of Two Reading Situations. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 22, 425-439.
[6] Ayari, S. (1996). Diglossia and Illiteracy in the Arab World. Language, Culture and Curriculum, 9, 243-253.
[7] Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., Sinatra, G. M., & Loxterman, J. A. (1991). Revising Social Studies Text from a Text- Processing Perspective: Evidence of Improved Comprehensibility. Reading Research Quarterly, 26, 251-276.
[8] Berman, R. A., & Katzenberger, I. (2004). Form and Function in Introducing Narrative and Expository Texts: A Developmental Perspective. Discourse Processes, 38, 57-94.
[9] Blok, H., Oostdam, R., Otter, M. E., & Overmaat, M. (2002). Computer-Assisted Instruction in Support of Beginning Reading Instruction: A Review. Review of Educational Research, 72, 101-130.
[10] Cammack, D. W. (2002). Literacy, Technology, and a Room of Her Own: Analyzing Adolescent Girls’ Online Conversations from Historical and Technological Literacy Perspectives. In D. Schallert, C. Fairbanks, J. Worthy, B. Maloch, & J. Hoffman (Eds.), Fifty-First Yearbook of the National Reading Conference (pp. 129-141). Chicago: National Reading Conference.
[11] Cobb, J. B. (2001). The Effects of an Early Intervention Program with Preservice Teachers as Tutors on the Reading Achievement of Primary Grade at Risk Children. Reading Horizons, 41, 155-173.
[12] Coiro, J., & Dobler, E. (2007). Reading Comprehension on the Internet: Exploring the Online Comprehension Strategies Used by Sixth-Grade Skilled Readers to Search for and Locate Information on the Internet. Reading Research Quarterly, 42, 214-257.
[13] DeStefano, D., & LeFevre, J. A. (2007). Cognitive Load in Hypertext Reading: A Review. Computers in Human Behavior, 23, 1616-1641.
[14] Dillon, A. (1992). Reading from Paper versus Screens: A Critical Review of the Empirical Literature. Ergonomics, 35, 1297- 1326.
[15] Elbro, C., Rasmussen, I., & Spelling, B. (1996). Teaching Reading to Disabled Readers with Language Disorders: A Controlled Evaluation of Synthetic Speech Feedback. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 37, 140-155.
[16] Ellis, E. S., & Worthington, L. A. (1994). Executive Summary of Research Synthesis on Effective Teaching Principles and the Design of Quality Tools for Educators. Eugene, OR: National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators, College of Education, University of Oregon.
[17] Eviatar, Z., Ibrahim, R., & Ganayim, D. (2004). Orthography and the Hemispheres: Visual and Linguistic Aspects of Letter Processing. Neuropsychology, 18, 174-184.
[18] Forgrave, K. (2002). Assistive Technology: Empowering Students with Learning Disabilities. The Clearing House, 75, 122- 126.
[19] Foster, K. C., Erickson, G. C., Foster, D. F., Brinkman, D., & Torgeson, J. K. (1994). Computer Administered Instruction in Phonological Awareness: Evaluation of the Daisy Quest Program. The Journal of Research and Development in Education, 27, 126-137.
[20] Gambrell, L. B. (2001). What We Know about Motivation to Read. In R. F. Flippo (Ed.), Reading Researchers in Search of Common Ground (pp. 129-143). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
[21] Gould, J. D., & Grischkowsky, N. (1984). Doing the Same Work with Hard Copy and with Cathode-Ray Tube (CRT) Computer Terminals. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 26, 323-337.
[22] Graesser, A. C., León, J. A., & Otero, J. (2002). Introduction to the Psychology of Science Text Comprehension. In J. Otero, J. A. Leon, & A. C. Graesser (Eds.), The Psychology of Science Text Comprehension (pp. 1-15). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
[23] Greenlee-Moore, M. E., & Smith, L. L. (1996). Interactive Computer Software: The Effects on Young Children’s Reading Achievement. Reading Psychology: An International Quarterly, 17, 43-64.
[24] Grimshaw, S., Dungworth, N., McKnight, C., & Morris, A. (2007). Electronic Books: Children’s Reading and Comprehension. British Journal of Educational Technology, 38, 583-599.
[25] Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., Metsala, J. L., & Cox, K. E. (1999). Motivational and Cognitive Predictors of Text Comprehension and Reading Amount. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 231-256.
[26] Hartas, C., & Moseley, D. (1993). “Say That Again, Please”: A Scheme to Boost Reading Skills Using a Computer with Digitised Speech. Support for Learning, 8, 16-21.
[27] Hay, I., & Fielding-Barnsley, R. (2009). Competencies That Underpin Children’s Transition into Early Literacy. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy, 32, 148-162.
[28] Ibrahim, R. (2009). The Cognitive Basis of Diglossia in Arabic: Evidence from a Repetition Priming Study within and between Languages. Psychology Research and Behavior Management, 2, 93-105.
[29] Kamil, M. L., Intrator, S. M., & Kim, H. S. (2000). The Effects of Other Technologies on Literacy and Literacy Learning. In M. L. Kamil, P. B. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of Reading Research (Vol. III, pp. 771-788). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
[30] Khamis-Dakwar, R., & Froud, K. (2007). Lexical Processing in Two Language Varieties: An Event-Related Brain Potential Study of Arabic Native Speakers. In M. Mughazy (Ed.), Perspectives on Arabic Linguistics (Vol. XX, pp. 153-168). Amsterdam & Philadelphia, PA: John Benjamins.
[31] Kim, M. (2002). The Use of the Computer in Developing L2 Reading Comprehension: Literature Review and Its Implications. ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. 472 671.
[32] King, J., & O’Brien, D. (2002). Adolescents’ Multiliteracies and Their Teachers’ Needs to Know: Toward a Digital Detente. In D. E. Alvermann (Ed.), Adolescents and Literacies in a Digital World (pp. 40-50). New York: Peter Lang.
[33] Kucan, L., & Beck, I. L. (1997). Thinking Aloud and Reading Comprehension Research: Inquiry, Instruction, and Social Interaction. Review of Educational Research, 67, 271-299.
[34] Leu, D. J., Kinzer, C. K., Coiro, J. L., & Cammack, D. W. (2004). Toward a Theory of New Literacies Emerging from the Internet and Other Information and Communication Technologies. Theoretical Models and Processes of Reading, 5, 1570- 1613.
[35] Lewin, C. (2000). Exploring the Effects of Talking Book Software in UK Primary Classrooms. Journal of Research in Reading, 23, 149-157.
[36] Lonigan, C. J., Driscoll, K., Phillips, B. M., Cantor, B. G., Anthony, J. L., & Goldstein, H. (2003). A Computer-Assisted Instruction Phonological Sensitivity Program for Preschool Children At-Risk for Reading Problems. Journal of Early Intervention, 25, 248-262.
[37] MacArthur, C. A., Ferretti, R. P., Okolo, C. M., & Cavalier, A. R. (2001). Technology Applications for Students with Literacy Problems: A Critical Review. The Elementary School Journal, 101, 273-301.
[38] Makhoul, B., & Ibrahim, R. (2014). Could an Interactive-Balanced Environment for Reading Acquisition Overcome the Triad Risk Factors: Low Socioeconomic Status, Low Literacy Skills and Language Properties? Psychology, 5, 2200-2217.
[39] Makhoul, B., Olshtain, E., & Ibrahim, R. (2014). Let’s Read Together: A Balanced Computer Assisted Intervention Program and Its Effect on Comprehension amongst at Linguistic Risk Arab First Graders. Journal of Advances in Linguistics, 5, 626-645.
[40] Matthew, K. (1997). A Comparison of the Influence of Interactive CD-ROM Storybooks and Traditional Print Storybooks on Reading Comprehension. Journal of Research on computing in Education, 29, 263-275.
[41] Mayer, R. E., & Moreno, R. (2000). A Learner-Centered Approach to Multimedia Explanations: Deriving Instructional Design Principles from Cognitive Theory. Interactive Multimedia Electronic Journal of Computer-Enhanced Learning.
[42] Means, M. L., & Voss, J. F. (1985). Star Wars: A Developmental Study of Expert and Novice Knowledge Structures. Journal of Memory and Language, 24, 746-757.
[43] Meyer, B. J. (2003). Text Coherence and Readability. Topics in Language Disorders, 23, 204-224.
[44] Meyer, A., & Rose, D. H. (2005). The Future Is in the Margins: The Role of Technology and Disability in Educational Reform. In D. H. Rose, A. Meyer, & C. Hitchcock (Eds.), The Universally Designed Classroom: Accessible Curriculum and Digital Technologies (pp. 13-35). Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education Press
[45] Miller, L., Blackstock, J., & Miller, R. (1994). An Exploratory Study into the Use of CD-ROM Storybooks. Computers & Education, 22, 187-204.
[46] Mitchell, M. J., & Fox, B. J. (2001). The Effects of Computer Software for Developing Phonological Awareness in Low-Progress Readers. Literacy Research and Instruction, 40, 315-332.
[47] Moats, L. C. (2000). Speech to Print: Language Essentials for Teachers. Baltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes Publishing Co.
[48] Montali, J., & Lewandowski, L. (1996). Bimodal Reading: Benefits of a Talking Computer for Average and Less Skilled Readers. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 29, 271-279.
[49] Muter, P., & Maurutto, P. (1991). Reading and Skimming from Computer Screens and Books: The Paperless Office Revisited? Behaviour & Information Technology, 10, 257-266.
[50] Noyes, J. M., & Garland, K. J. (2008). Computer- vs. Paper-Based Tasks: Are They Equivalent? Ergonomics, 51, 1352-1375.
[51] Noyes, J., Garland, K., & Robbins, L. (2004). Paper-Based versus Computer-Based Assessment: Is Workload Another Test Mode Effect? British Journal of Educational Technology, 35, 111-113.
[52] Oborne, D. J., & Holton, D. (1988). Reading from Screen versus Paper: There Is No Difference. International Journal of Man-Machine Studies, 28, 1-9.
[53] Olson, R. K., & Wise, B. W. (1992). Reading on the Computer with Orthographic and Speech Feedback. Reading and Writing, 4, 107-144.
[54] Parmar, R. S., Deluca, C. B., & Janczak, T. M. (1994). Investigations into the Relationship between Science and Language Abilities of Students with Mild Disabilities. Remedial and Special Education, 15, 117-126.
[55] Perfetti, C. A., Landi, N., & Oakhill, J. (2005). The Acquisition of Reading Comprehension Skill. In M. J. Snowling, & C. Hulme (Eds.), The Science of Reading: A Handbook (pp. 227-247). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
[56] RAND Reading Study Group (Snow, C., Chair) (2002). Reading for Understanding, Toward an R&D Program in Reading Comprehension. Santa Monica: RAND.
[57] Reinking, D., & Schreiner, R. (1985). The Effects of Computer-Mediated Text on Measures of Reading Comprehension and Reading Behavior. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 536-552.
[58] Ross, C. S. (2002). Reading in a Digital Age. In G. E. Gorman (Ed.), The Digital Factor in Library and Information Services (pp. 91-111). International Yearbook of Library and Information Management 2002/2003, London: Facet Publishing.
[59] Roth, S. F., & Beck, I. L. (1997). Theoretical and Instructional Implications of the Assessment of Two Microcomputer Word Recognition Programs. Reading Research Quarterly, 22, 197-218.
[60] Sáenz, L. M., & Fuchs, L. (2002). Examining the Reading Difficulty of Secondary Students with Learning Disabilities: Expository versus Narrative Text. Remedial and Special Education, 23, 31-41.
[61] Snow, C. (2002). Reading for Understanding: Toward an R&D Program in Reading Comprehension. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.
[62] Sorrell, C. A., Bell, S. M., & McCallum, R. S. (2007). Reading Rate and Comprehension as a Function of Computerized versus Traditional Presentation Mode: A Preliminary Study. Journal of Special Education Technology, 22, 1-12.
[63] Twyman, T., & Tindal, G. (2006). Using a Computer-Adapted Conceptually Based History Text to Increase Comprehension and Problem-Solving Skills of Students with Disabilities. Journal of Special Education Technology, 21, 5-16.
[64] Wise, B. W., Olson, R. K., Ring, J., & Johnson, M. (1998). Interactive Computer Support for Improving Phonological Skills. In J. L. Metsala, & L. C. Ehri (Eds.), Word Recognition in Beginning Literacy (pp. 189-208). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
[65] Wise, B. W., Ring, J., & Olson, R. K. (2000). Individual Differences in Gains from Computer-Assisted Remedial Reading. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 77, 197-235.
[66] Wright, P., & Lickorish, A. (1983). Proof-Reading Texts on Screen and Paper. Behavior & Information Technology, 2, 227- 235.?
[67] Yopp, H. K., & Yopp, R. H. (2002). Ten Important Words: Identifying the Big Ideas in Informational Text. Journal of Content Area Reading, 2, 7-13.
[68] Ziefle, M. (1998). Effects of Display Resolution on Visual Performance. Human Factors: The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society, 40, 554-568.

Copyright © 2022 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.