Electronic Theses and Dissertations


Open Access Thesis


Reading comprehension; Study skills; Sixth grade (Education);


This study was designed to measure which reading comprehension strategies were most successful in allowing children to self-manage their cognitive load while reading electronic informational text. It built on previous research on cognitive load theory and teaching children self-management strategies. Participants were sixth grade students in a Midwestern suburban intermediate school.

A quantitative experiment was conducted with a control group and three experimental groups. Experimental groups were taught to highlight key words, draw arrows to show process on a diagram, or move text boxes nearer a corresponding illustration. The control group received equal time with the teacher but did not receive training on strategy use. Participants rated their mental effort during the learning phase and testing phase. No statistically significant differences were found between the experimental and control groups on recall items, near-transfer items, and far-transfer items on the post-reading comprehension test. A small but not significant improvement was seen in participants who were taught to highlight key words.

Discussion and recommendations are included for how this study relates to existing literature on cognitive load theory and children’s self-management of cognitive load. Recommendations include replication with a larger and more diverse sample size in hopes of achieving more significant results.

Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Department of Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Ralph E. Reynolds, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (vi, 50 pages)



File Format