Investigating the difference between reading texts with and without topic in students studying in Iran’s School in Tajikestan

Ardeshir, Jahani and Hossein, Akbarzadeh Mohammadabadi

According to Fisher and Frey (2009) a student’s prior knowledge about a subject is probably the best predictor of reading comprehension. The present study aimed at investigating the difference between reading texts with and without topic in high school students studying in Iran’s school in Tajikestan. Forty eleventh grade students (20 males and 20 females) participated in this study. The data was collected through two pre-intermediate English passages with the same content but only one of them was printed with topic. The result of t-value computation revealed that there was a significant difference between reading a passage with and without text topic. The result showed that there was statistically significant difference in reading comprehension scores of the two groups. That is the students with text topic performed better in reading comprehension. The result of this study is in line with the principles of schema-theory suggesting that people understand texts and experiences by comparing them with stereotypical mental representation of similar cases. The researcher recommends that teachers activate students’ prior knowledge to be able to make connections to the new information they will be learning. Text book writers are also recommended to include texts with interesting topicsin foreign language text books to help the activation of students’ prior knowledge concerning the contents of the texts.

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