How Text Difficulty and Reader Skill Interact to Produce Differential Reliance on Word and Content Overlap in Reading Transfer
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Four experiments examined the factors that influence across-text transfer for children. Transfer was indicated by increases in the reading speed and accuracy of a second text following reading of different first texts. The first texts were related to the second by overlap in words only, in content only, in words and content, or in neither words nor content. Results indicated that the extent to which readers benefited from word or content overlap depended on the interaction of reader skill with text difficulty. Children who read texts that were easy for them showed transfer only when a pair of stories shared content. However, when children read stories that were difficult for them, they also showed transfer when words alone were shared by a pair of stories. The results are discussed in terms of how easy and difficult texts are represented in memory and retrieved to produce transfer.
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