The effects of cultural familiarity on reading comprehension

Erten, İsmail Hakkı
Razı, Salim
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University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center
Center for Language & Technology
This study investigated whether cultural familiarity influences comprehension of short stories and whether nativizing the story or using reading activities can compensate for the lack of such familiarity. The study was conducted with 44 advanced-level students of English at a state university in Turkey. In a 2 × 2 experimental research design, the 1st group of students read an original short story without any activities while the 2nd group of students read the original short story with some activities. The 3rd group read the nativized version of the text without any activities while the 4th group read the nativized version with the same set of activities as the 2nd group. The analysis of variance indicated a better comprehension of the nativized story. The activities contributed to the comprehension of the original story, but the difference caused by nativization remained intact, indicating a powerful impact of cultural schema on comprehension.
reading comprehension, schema theory, cultural schema, nativization
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