Megan Brown, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Abstract: Our previous research has demonstrated that young readers who manipulate objects to correspond to the characters and actions in a text greatly enhance their comprehension as measured by both recall and inference tests. As a step toward classroom implementation, children used a physical manipulation strategy in small (three-child) reading groups. For successive critical sentences, one child would read the sentence aloud and then manipulate the objects, then the next child would read and manipulate, and so on. Children in a reread control condition alternated reading and rereading the text in a similar manner. Children in the manipulation groups were substantially more accurate in answering questions about the texts than were children in the reread groups, regardless of whether they read and acted out the sentence or watched another child read and manipulate. Physical manipulation of story events significantly improved recall of action sentences and temporal order of events. Thus, the manipulation strategy is effective when applied in small groups.