Thesis

The effect of cultural schema on secondary English learner reading comprehension

In this study the role of cultural schema in secondary English learners' reading comprehension of a period-specific text was observed and measured through multiplechoice and fill-in testing. Spanish speaking English learners at the high school level, who were either born in the United States or Mexico, with varying levels of English language proficiency, were the focus of this study. Upon conclusion of the study, English learners born in the United States and with higher language proficiency levels had the highest comprehension scores. The group read Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet while the teacher used targeted instruction to construct cultural schema needed to comprehend the text. All groups improved their comprehension with the introduction of targeted instruction of cultural schema. However, the only statistical significance was found in the analysis of language proficiency and reading comprehension. These findings suggested that English learners' reading comprehension is affected by language proficiency, but further research is needed to understand the connection between cultural schema and reading comprehension.

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