Exploring the Interplay Between Fifth-Grade Readers' Knowledge, Interests, and Beliefs and Their Perceptions of the Persuasiveness of Text
Palladino, Jessica Vollmerhausen
O'Flahavan, John F
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This study explored the interplay between fifth-grade readers' knowledge, interests, and beliefs and their perceptions of the persuasiveness of text. This study explored three research questions: (a) In what ways do fifth-grade readers differentially perceive the persuasiveness of argument and explanation structures? (b) What is the relation between fifth-grade readers' perceived knowledge, demonstrated knowledge, interests, and beliefs prior to and after reading persuasive text? (c) In what ways are perceptions about the persuasiveness of text associated with fifth-grade readers' perceived knowledge, demonstrated knowledge, interest, and beliefs? Fifth-grade readers (n =53) read two texts, one written in the argument structure and the other in explanation structure. Readers' perceived knowledge, demonstrated knowledge, interests, and beliefs about the text topic were measured before and after reading the texts. Readers rated the persuasiveness of each text after reading both texts. Four readers were selected to participate in a retrospective verbal report. The data analyses produced several interesting findings related to the interplay of readers' knowledge, interests, beliefs and perceived persuasiveness of text. Text structure did not independently influence elementary-aged readers' perceptions of the persuasiveness of a text. Elementary-aged readers found the argument and explanation text structures to be equally persuasive. Elementary-aged readers' perceived knowledge, demonstrated knowledge, interest and beliefs were positively related before and after reading. Additionally, readers' knowledge was related to their beliefs. The more readers knew the more they tended to agree with the stance of the author. Readers' perceived knowledge was related to their interest level. The less a reader felt they knew about the topic, the less interested they were. Readers' beliefs and interests after reading were related. Finally, elementary-aged readers' learner characteristics and their rating of the persuasiveness of texts were associated. Readers' pre-reading beliefs, demonstrated knowledge, and interest predicted the most variance related to readers' rating of the persuasiveness of text. Readers' pre-reading beliefs, interests, and demonstrated knowledge predicted how persuasive they rated the texts. After reading, their beliefs and interests predicted the most variance in their ratings of the persuasiveness of the texts. Readers' interests and beliefs after reading predicted their ratings of the persuasiveness of texts.