The role of observation in the recall of informational text

John L. Nietfeld, Roger H. Bruning, Daniell DiFrancesca

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This study, which reports on previously unpublished data gathered in connection with a summer literacy-science program, Summer Explorers (Bruning & Schweiger, 1997), examined the role and timing of observation on informational text recall by elementary school students. Students (N= 206) in Grades 3-5 observed and read about the Madagascar Giant Hissing Cockroach (MHC). Three conditions were employed: (1) students first observing live MHCs, then reading facts about them; (2) students first reading facts about MHCs and then observing them; and (3) students only reading facts about MHCs. Students in the observation conditions recalled more facts than those in the no observation condition, with Grade 4 and 5 students benefitting more from the observation experience than Grade 3 students. Grade 3 students showed heightened levels of interest but not improved recall in the observation conditions, findings consistent with potential developmental differences in metacognitive awareness for instructional activities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)88-97
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Educational Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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