A comparison of silent reading comprehension and listening comprehension in fourth, sixth, and eighth grade students




Verlaan, Wolfram


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This study investigated the relationship between listening and reading comprehension to determine: (a) if there has been a change in the equalization age for these two modalities from what was theorized by Thomas Sticht; and (b) to determine if there are interrelationships between proficient reading and listening comprehension, gender, and/or SES. The study employed a cross-sectional correlational design to test the listening and reading comprehension of 945 participants in two South Texas school districts; 223 fourth-, 354 sixth-, and 368 eighth-grade students participated in the study. Students were administered the Reading Comprehension sub test of the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test Fourth Edition (GMRT-4) Forms S and T to measure both reading and listening comprehension. Mean reading scores significantly exceeded mean listening scores at the fourth-grade, t(222) = 6.13, p < .001, d = 0.41, sixth-grade, t(353) = 11.63, p < .001, d = 0.62, and eighth-grade levels t(367) = 17.19, p < .001, d = 0.90, indicating a possible change in the age at which reading and listening comprehension had previously been theorized to equalize. In addition, results indicated that reading comprehension and listening comprehension were highly correlated at each of these grade levels with correlation values ranging from .62 to .64. This study also found an even higher correlation between listening comprehension and reading comprehension for proficient readers (students reading at or above grade level) with correlation values ranging from .65 to .74. Proficient reading was related to gender at the sixth-grade level and to SES at the eighth-grade level. Because the relationship of proficient reading to either SES or gender did not extend across more than one grade level, no firm conclusions regarding these factors could be reached.


A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction


listening comprehension, media effects on listening, media effects on reading, proficient reading, reading comprehension, reading/listening relationship



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