Date of Award

Spring 1997

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Grant Ciotti


This study investigated the effects of oral rehearsal used as a pre-writing strategy by twenty-eight high school students (21 males, 7 females) with difficulties in retrieval. Study participants read texts, wrote summary-response essays, and revised their compositions in two conditions: with rehearsal and without rehearsal. A repeated measures (2 x 2) x (2) design with Passage and Order of Treatment as the between-subject variables, and Condition as the within-subject variable was used to assess differences in compositions.

Eight quantitative measures, with four considered primary, were used to evaluate differences in the quantity, complexity, content, and quality of compositions. Positive changes were noted on all measures when students rehearsed orally. Participants composed using more diverse vocabulary (F = 7.656, p =.011) and more syntactically correct complex sentences (F = 48.687, $p < .0001) $ after rehearsing. They incorporated more stimulus text ideas and elaborated more in their essays (F = 20.55, $p < .0001).$ Holistic scoring confirmed improvements in overall effectiveness (F = 5.054, p =.034). Qualitative profiles of five students reflected increased accuracy, clarity, fluency, coherence, and voice when students talked through the material before writing.

Results were interpreted in light of cognitive and social considerations. Cognitive factors discussed included increased reading comprehension, more fluent language generation, strengthened memory connections, and greater translating fluency. In the social domain students' heightened interest, increased motivation, more developed sense of audience, and improved self-confidence also facilitated writing. These results suggest strongly that oral rehearsal is a worthwhile pre-writing strategy for high school students with difficulties in retrieval.