Learning History by composing synthesis texts : effects of an instructional programme on learning, reading and writing processes, and text quality
Faculty of Applied Economics
Journal of writing research
, p. 275-302
University of Antwerp
The aim of the present study was to improve learning from texts via strategies that train students how to process synthesis texts. Processing such texts requires goal-oriented interaction between reading and writing activities. The participants were 62 sixth-grade students, 33 in the experimental and 29 in the control group. In a pretest-posttest design with a control group- the effects of an experimental programme were tested on (a) the level of learning achieved, (b) the quality of the written texts produced, and (c) the synthesis text-processing activities (in a sub-sample of 32 participants). The experimental group was trained in the processes involved in writing a synthesis using two expository texts about history via a strategy-oriented programme, while the control group worked on the same content using the more conventional tasks in their regular text book. Findings show that the experimental group outperformed the control group on a deep-learning content measure, wrote better texts, and exhibited more sophisticated text-processing activities.