The Influence of Reading upon the Attainment of Thinking Skills






A proposal

Submit to

Dr. Sid T. Womack

By I-chen, Shen






EDFD 6003




The Influence of Reading upon the Attainment of Thinking Skills

Thinking is something we do every day, often without being consciously aware of what we’re doing. Yet something will happen to make us stop and become alert to the fact that we are thinking or that we need to think. We read an editorial and wonder if the writer is giving us all facts; we decide to write a paper (or a book) and realize that we must organize and evaluate a body of information and concepts and must reach some conclusions (French, J. & Rhoder, C. 1992). In every day usage, thinking refers to reflection or meditation, to belief, opinion, judgment, or fancy; it signifies “something that goes on in the mind.” Psychological definition of thinking more technically, thinking is “the organization and reorganization of past learning in present situation” (Vinacke, 1968, p.822) One implication is that thinking refers to intrinsic activities rather than to overt responses themselves.

Most also see reading as a decoding process with the reader processing each letter in turn, producing the appropriate sounds, and forming words. Most remember letter-sound instruction as the primary component of the reading instruction (Allington, R.,Sirange M.,1980). In other definition, reading is the process of construction meaning from written texts (Rumeihart, 1985), therefore, reading is a comprehension process, and comprehension is the ability to construct the author’s message through experiential background, knowledge, language, and thinking skills.

The thinking process requires prior knowledge, the memory of it, and the use of that prior knowledge.  Thinking can, in fact, be limited by lack of experience and knowledge.  The thinking process also requires language to formulate and express thoughts as well as the ability to develop representations of knowledge and concepts (French, J. & Rhoder, C.1992).

Over the past few years there has been an increasing interest in incorporating thinking instruction into elementary curriculum, largely for three reasons. There is a growing awareness, first, that we have many students who are not thinking effectively; second, there is a widespread conviction that effective thinking is a non-negotiable item in today’s world; and, third, we are accumulating a growing body of knowledge and research in this area which can be put to use in our schools.

From the above discussing, we consider that thinking requires experience, knowledge and language to express thoughts and reading is the process of constructing meaning and comprehension. The thinking ability is very important for middle school students to get more independent. More reading wifi gain more knowledge and language, therefore, this paper I am going to examine the influence of reading upon the attainment of thinking skills in the middle school.

Null Hypothesis: There wifi no (p<O.05) difference in performance on test of thinking skills between students not reading one book a week for 12 weeks and those reading one book a week for 12 weeks.






Review of the Literature

Reading is a perceptual process. It utilizes perceptual clues: size, shape, combinations of letters and sounds, figure-ground relationships, relationships of the part to the whole, sequencing, ordering. Reading is a linguistic process. It requires mastery of phoneme-grapheme relationships, understanding of intonation, stress, pauses, and tone sequence (Zintz, M. V. & Maggart, Z. R., 1966). Reading is the act of constructing meaning while transacting with text. The reader makes meaning through the combination of prior knowledge and previous experience, information available in text, the stance he or she takes in relationship to the text, and immediate, remembered or anticipated social interaction and communication (Ruddell, M. R. 1993).

Learning to thinking about what you read is a central and most important part of the entire reading, comprehension, and learning process because in every human communication, someone is trying to transmit his or her thinking. For students to understand other people’s communication, either through reading or listening, students be able to analyze and identify the thinking the communicators used to transmit their ideas. That is how they can evaluate them effectively (Darkwah, B. A., 1996). Good readers are good thinkers because reading is a thinking act. Students who have difficulty working at different levels of cognition will have difficulty comprehending what they are reading; consequently, they would have difficulty reading their content-area textbooks. Research on the brain and cognitive processes has implications for learning and instruction. If we look at the brain as an active consumer of information, able ot interpret information and draw inferences from it, as well as ignore some information and selectively attnd to other information.  Readers as active consumers of information relate what they are reading to

their past experiences, they interpret information, draw inferences from it, ignore some information, and attend to other information. Good readers are good thinkers (Rubin, D.


Most people would agree that comprehending is the very essence of reading. Reading comprehension is a complex intellectual process involving a number of abilities. The two major abilities have to do with reasoning with verbal concepts and word meanings. Obviously, comprehension involves thinking (Rubin, D. 1982). Reading comprehension is the heart of the reading process. Students who understand written text are successful readers, but those who fail to understand, fail to read. Smith (1975) asserts that comprehension and learning are the same process; this process is one in which new experiences are as previous experiences and knowledge. In order to understand, readers need to “make sense” of written language. Reading is one aspect of language, just as listening, speaking and writing are language skills. But when children read orally, they usually concentrate on reading accurately, and do not pay as much attention to comprehension of the content. Oral reading accuracy does give insights into decoding skills and strategies, but that is separate. eadmg comprehension is most accurate if the child is not reading for an audience. For most young children learning to read, their ability to read and understand text is limited by their decoding skills, so when the children they need to know certain vocabulary.

Language is a basic tool for thinking, problem-solving, and other more complex symbolic activities. Reading is one of four language arts (Stoodt. B. D.,1989) From Stoodt we understand reading is a basic to for thinking, next I will use a global definition of reading to dicuss it impact of thinking skill, reading is the brining to and the getting of meaning form the printed page, we are looking upon reading as a total integrative process

that includes the affective, the perceptual and the cognitive. The cognitive domain includes the areas involving thinking. Basically, reading is a thinking process. It requires some kind of response on the part of the reader. If people utilize the reading they do, they can make different generalizations, draw new inferences, and plan new next steps on the basis of it. Reading can provide excellent vicarious experiences and knowledge (Zintz, M. V. & Maggart Z. R. 1966).

Gray identified four different in the reading act: word perception, comprehension, reaction, and integration. The first step is word recognition, including both the ability to pronounce the word and to attach meaning to it as a concept. The second step is the ability to make individual words construct useful ideas as they are read in context. The third step requires judgmental action- a feeling about what the author has said. The final step is the crucial one: the ability to assimilate this idea, concept, new reading, into the background of experience so that it becomes a part of the total experience of the individual.

I’d like to say thinking is asking. if students have used the strategy of discovering what organizational format students reading has used they are in a good place to start. if students have been practicing asking questions about the material they are reading, especially questions which analyze, hypothesize, or evaluate, then they are also in a very good position to think critically. And, if students have discovered some of the central ideas in the readings they have done, they can begin thinking critically. The key here is to remember that they are already doing some critical reading and that perhaps the most powerful thing they can do in furthering their abilities in this area is to become conscious in their application of a variety of questions you develop, they are beginning to think in a way which gets beyond there being just right and wrong answers, which gets beyond they

memorizing answers to the questions somebody else makes up. In fact, they are engaging in the practice which is often one of the primary goals of a university education: they are practicing thinking. So, if one of the best things students can do to develop your ability to think critically is to become conscious of applying a series of questions to whatever you read (King & Thorpe, 1992).

“There is more to be learned from the unexpected questions of children than the discourses of meri!”(John Locke)

Another way to improve thinking skill is paired reading. The extension of Paired Reading into higher order comprehension and thinking skills was also part of the Read On project. ‘Paired Reading and Thinking’ usually involves starting with regular Paired Reading, then in a second training session moving the participants on into ‘reading and thinking’, which involves training and prompting tutors and tutees to ask ‘increasingly intelligent questions’ about what they have read together.

The topic of students to think while reading-- critical reading--should be central to any discussion of thinking skills, in part because the reading of textbooks plays such a prominent role in the content fields. Critical reading has been defmed as learning to evaluate, draw inferences and an-ive at conclusions based on the evidence (Zintz and Maggart, 1984). One method that promotes critical reading involves the use of news media in the class. Newspapers, magazines, television, and radio can motivate students to develop critical listening and reading skills. Differing accounts and editorials can be compared as a way of helping students read with a questioning attitude.  Students can construct their own arguments for discussion or publication in student newspapers.  In the process, they become more discriminating consumers of news media, advertising, and entertainment. Children’s literature is another powerful tool for teaching thinking. Somers and Worthington (1979) noted that “...literature offers children more opportunities than any other area of the curriculum to consider ideas, values, and ethical questions.” Furthermore, literature that inspires and challenges helps students learn how to engage and interact with a book. Lastly, I wifi discuss the DR-TA further to support the topic, DR-TA (Directed reading-thinking activity) is a technique developed by Russell Stauffer (1969). DR-TA encourages students to make predictions while they are reading. After reading segments of a text, students stop, confirm or revise previous predictions, and make new predictions about what they wifi read next. DR-TA serves several purposes: Elicits students’ prior knowledge of the topic of the text and encourages students to monitor their comprehension while they are reading.









Procedures and Instrumentation

The terms will be used in this way in this specific study:


Influence: a power to gain an effect on the mind of or get results from, without asking or doing anything.

Reading: reading is the process of construction meaning from written texts (Rumeihart, 1985), therefore, reading is a comprehension process, and comprehension is the ability to construct the author’s message through experiential background, knowledge, language, and thinking skills. In this paper the reading will not focus on only textbooks, it include any kind of book, for instance, story books, science books, comic books, encyclopedia, newspapers, magazines, journals and so on will all be included in reading.

Thinking skills: A good definition for thinking should strengthen narrower definitions of thinking (i.e. critical, creative, and constructive thinking). I believe de Bono’s definition does the job. As for critical thinking, we could say that critical thinking is the deliberate exploration of experience for the purpose of self-regulatory judgment. “Creative thinking is the deliberate exploration of experience for the purpose of changing perceptions, concepts, and ideas. Constructive thinking is the deliberate exploration of experience for the purpose of designing practical concepts and ideas that deliver value.

Population and Sample

Population: all the students in Pintung city in Taiwan at Grade fifth and sixth

(middle school).

Sample: select the sample using the random sampling, drawn three classes from different middle school in Pintung city Taiwan.  One of these three classes choose to be a

control group, other two classes choose to be the treatment groups.


The Ross Test of Higher Cognitive Processes will be used in this study. The test is designed to measure ability in the levels of higher cognitive thinking referred to in Bloom’s Tazonomy of Educational Objectives, Handbook I as “ Analysis” (level 4), “Synthesis” (level 5), and “Evaluation” (level 6). The 105 items which comprise the Ross Test have been designed to access higher-level thinking skills of both gifted and non-gifted students in grades four through six.

Reliability procedures were performed for the Ross Test utilizing test-restest and split-half procedures. The reliability coefficients obtained were statistically significant beyond the 0.001 level of confidence.

Construct validity for the Ross Test was determined by correlation of total score with students’ chronological ages, age differentiation, group differentiation, and correlation with an intelligence test.

The Ross Test wifi be given to both the treatment and control groups as a pretest to check the equivalence of the groups. At the end of the 12-week study period, the test will also be administered as a posttest. The same set of test items will be used for both administrations.




This study will utilize quasi-experimental methods of research to examine the influence of reading in the attainment of thinking skills.  The design of the study will be a pretest/posttest control group design. The reading one book a week will be implemented in the classrooms for 12 weeks. Teachers in the treatment group will be trained to guide students how to read books. Teachers in the control group will not ask the students to read the books.

Analysis of the Data

Pretest differences between the groups will be tested for statistical significance at the .05 level using an analysis of variance. If the pretest indicates that there are no pre-existing differences between the groups, then posttest differences between the groups will be tested for statistical significance at the .05 level using an analysis of variance.

If there are pre-existing differences between the groups, then posttest differences between the groups will be tested for statistical significance at the .05 level using an analysis of covariance (ANCOVA). The pretest score will be used as a covariate.









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