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  • A‘DESCRIPTION OF READING IN THE COMPOSING PROCESS:

    SKILLED AND UNSKILLED COLLEGE WRITERS'

    by

    Gail Ellen Biery“Kettlewel1„

    Dissertation submitted to the Faculty of the

    Virginia Polytechnic and State University

    in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

    DOCTOR OF EDUCATION

    in

    Community College Education

    APPROVED:

    D. A. Clowes, Chairman

    g I

    J. A. Niles . P. Hall

    —”P. P. Kell K. HOSkiSSOn

    October, 1985

    Blacksburg, Virginia

  • A DESCRIPTION OF READING IN THE COMPOSING PROCESS:

    SKILLED AND UNSKILLED COLLEGE WRITERS

    by

    Gail Ellen Biery Kettlewell

    Committee Chairman: Darrel A. Clowes Community College Education

    (ABSTRACT)

    A theoretical construct for examining the use of

    reading in composing, developed from the literature review

    and pilot study, was tested using audio-videotaped protocols

    of students composing two drafts of an essay, followed by

    retrospective interviews.

    Fifteen skilled and fifteen unskilled college writers,

    so designated by tests and a writing sample given by the '

    English department, participated in the study at a rural,

    two-year technical college in a Sunbelt state during the

    1984-85 school year.

    The construct for examining reading in composing

    included the focus of reading: word, multi-word, sentence,

    multi-sentence, paragraph, mu1ti—paragraph, and draft

    levels; the purpose of reading: to verify, clarify, provide

    direction, edit, or refresh memory; the effect (or outcome)

  • of reading: no/change or change, using Faigley and Witte's

    revision classification scheme to describe changes; and the

    amount of reading, which was a count of all occurrences of

    reading. The construct was useful in identifying the

    aspects of reading in composing. Thus, a major benefit of

    the study is empirical data on reading-in—composing for both

    skilled and unskilled writers.

    A profile of each group's use of reading was developed.

    Then a comparison of reading by the two groups was made

    using chi-square and percents.

    The findings revealed that (l) 29 of the 30 students

    were readers of their texts; (2) the skilled writers wrote

    and read twice as much as the unskilled writers did, but the

    proportion in both drafts was the same; (3) reading occurred

    within and between drafts for both groups; (4) both groups

    read most often at the multi-word level; (5) both groups

    read for all five purposes and when ranked by frequency, the

    order was the same for both groups; (6) the effect of

    reading differed significantly in the no—change/change

    categories with the skilled writers making more changes.

    Findings which were statistically significant included:

  • the size of the corpus; the focus of reading; the difference

    in no—change/change decisions; and the categories of change

    at surface, meaning-preserving and meaning-changing levels.

    The study confirmed that writing is a recursive process

    with reading as a major component and that both skilled and

    unskilled writers are readers of their texts.

    The study revealed that protocol analysis and the

    Faigley and Witte classification scheme for revision can

    work well together. Second, the amount, focus, purpose, and

    effect of reading can be examined through thinking-aloud

    composing protocols. Third, reading is a more appropriate

    term than re-reading to describe the reading which occurs

    l during the composing process.

  • v

  • TABLE OF CONTENTS

    Chagter Page

    I. INTRODUCTION.................. 1

    Background of the Study.......... 1

    Statement of Purpose ........... 5

    Research Questions ............ 6

    Design of the Study............ 6

    Definitions of Terms ........... 7

    Limitations of the Study ......... 8

    Significance of the Study......... 9

    Presentation of the Study.........10

    II. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE............12

    Introduction ...............12

    The Composing Process...........12

    Models of the Composing Process......

    which Address Reading..........21

    Studies Addressing the Role of Reading . .32

    The Role of Reading in Composing .....43

    Amount of Reading............43

    Focus of Reading ............45

    Purpose of Reading ...........46

    Effect of Reading............50

    Summary ................55

    Writing/Reading Process of Skilled and

    vi

  • Unskilled Writers............56

    Methods of Studying Composing.......62

    Conclusion ................67

    III. METHODOLOGY ..................68

    Introduction ...............68

    Research Design..............69

    Subjects .................69

    Collection of Data ............71

    Analysis of Data .............73

    IV. ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF DATA ......82

    Introduction ...............82

    Findings .................82

    Profile of Skilled Writers ........83

    Profile of Unskilled Writers .......93

    Comparison of Skilled and Unskilled

    Writers........ ........ 101

    The Amount of Reading ........ 103

    The Focus of Reading......... 110

    The Purpose for Reading ....... 112

    The Effect of Reading ........ 117

    The Model................ 130

    Summary ................ 132

    V. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS......... 135

    The Findings .............. 135

    vii

  • Confirmation with the Literature .... 136

    Differences from the Literature..... 138

    Findings that Add to the Literature. . . 140

    Research Considerations......... 142

    Pedagogical Considerations ....... 144

    REFERENCES .................... 148

    APPENDIX ..................... 156

    A ..... Model of Research Construct

    B ..... Sample Individual Analysis Sheet

    C ..... Titles of Student Compositions

    D ..... An Unskilled Writer‘s Transcript,

    Product, and Analysis Sheet

    E ..... A Skilled Writer‘s Transcript,

    Product, and Analysis Sheet

    F ..... Directions to Faculty and Example

    for Determining Effects of Reading

    G ..... Interview Strategy: Samples from

    Skilled and Unskilled Writers

    viii

  • TABLES

    ELSE Table 1 Focus of Reading for Skilled Writers 85

    Table 2 Frequency and Percent of the Categories of

    Purpose for Reading for Skilled Writers 88

    Table 3 The Effects of Change Ranked by Frequency

    and Percent for Skilled Writers 89

    Table 4 Frequency and Percent of Categories of

    Meaning-preserving Change of Skilled Writers 90

    Table 5 Frequency and Percent of Formal Sentence

    Changes by Category for Skilled Writers 92

    Table 6 Ranking by Levels of Focus of Reading for

    Unskilled Writers 95

    Table 7 Frequency and Percent of Categories of

    Purpose for Reading by Unskilled Writers 96

    Table 8 Frequency and Percent of Effects of Change

    by Category for Unskilled Writers 98

    Table 9 Frequency and Percent of Formal Surface

    Changes for Unskilled Writers 99

    Table 10 Frequency and Percent of Categories of

    Meaning-preserving Change of Unskilled

    Writers 100

    Table ll Comparison of Number of Words per Draft for

    Total Corpus and Skilled and Unskilled

    ix

  • Writers 102

    Table 12 Comparison of Number of Paragraphs per Draft

    by Skilled and Unskilled Writers 104

    Table 13 Amount of Reading per Draft of Skilled and

    Unskilled Writers 105

    Table 14 Frequency and Percent Within and Between

    Drafts for Skilled and Unskilled Writers 109

    Table 15 Comparison of Levels of Focus for Skilled

    and Unskilled Writers Using Frequency and

    Percent 111

    Table 16 Comparison of Purpose for Reading by Skilled

    and Unskilled Writers 116

    Table 17 Comparison of Instances of Reading Leading

    to the No-Change/Change Effect for Skilled

    and Unskilled Writers 118

    Table·18 Comparison of Major Categories of Effects

    of Change by Skilled and Unskilled Writers 120

    Table 19 Comparison of Formal Change by Skilled and

    Unskilled Writers 122

    Table 20 Comparison of Meaning-preserving Change for

    Skilled and Unskilled Writers 125

    Table 21 Comparison of Meaning—changing Change for

    Skilled and Unskilled Writers 128

    Table 22 Summary of Statistically Significant

    x

  • Differences in the Use of Reading by Skilled

    and Unskilled Writers 134

    ki

  • FIGURES

    E Figure 1 Murray's Mental Process in Composing 14

    Figure 2 Murray's Writing Forces 16

    Figure 3 Murray's Composing Activities 17

    Figure 4 Murray's Process Model Interaction 19

    Figure 5 Flower and Hayes' Reviewing Process 23

    Figure 6 Flower and Hayes' Model of Composing 24

    Figure 7 Pianko's Model of Composing 26

    Figure 8 Perl's Model of Composing 28

    Figure 9 Bridwell's Model of Revision 31

    Figure 10 Selfe's Reading Strategies of High and

    Low Apprehensive Writers 41

    Figure 11 Faigley and