Cultural Schemata and Reading Comprehension

Ralph E. Reynolds, Marsha A. Taylor, Margaret S. Steffensen, Larry L. Shirey, Richard C. Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study investigated the relationship between cultural schemata and reading comprehension. Black and white eighth-grade students read a passage that dealt with an instance of "sounding" or "playing the dozens," a form of verbal ritual insult predominantly found in the black community. Black subjects tended to interpret the passage as being about verbal play, whereas white subjects tended to interpret it as being about physical aggression. Scores on themerevealing disambiguations and intrusions and on an inference probe task showed a close relationship to the subjects' cultural background. The evidence shows that cultural schemata can influence how prose material is interpreted. The results were discussed in light of attempts to make reading materials and standardized test items free from cultural bias.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-366
JournalReading Research Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1982


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