The effect of motor-encoding activities on memory and performance in a grade one reading program
Stanton, Carol E.
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This study examined the effectiveness of motor-encoding activities on memory and performance of students in a Grade One reading program. There were two experiments in the study. Experiment 1 replicated a study by Eli Saltz and David Dixon (1982). The effect of motoric enactment (Le., pretend play) of sentences on memory for the sentences was investigated. Forty Grade One students performed a "memory-for-sentences" technique, devised by Saltz and Dixon. Only the experimental group used motoric enactment of the sentences. Although quantitative findings revealed no significant difference between the mean scores of the experimental group versus the control group, aspects of the experimental design could have affected the results. It was suggested that Saltz and Dixon's study could be replicated again, with more attention given to variables such as population size, nature of the test sentences, subjects' previous educational experience and conditions related to the testing environment. The second experiment was an application of Saltz and Dixon's theory that motoric imagery should facilitate memory for sentences. The intent was to apply this theory to Grade One students' ability to remember words from their reading program. An experimental gym program was developed using kinesthetic activities to reinforce the skills of the classroom reading program. The same subject group was used in Experiment 2. It was hypothesized that the subjects who experienced the experimental gym program would show greater signs of progress in reading ability, as evidenced by their scores on Form G of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test--Revised. The data from the WRM--R were analyzed with a 3-way split-plot analysis of variance in which group (experimental vs. control) and sex were the between subjects variables and test-time (pre-test vs. post-test) was the within-subjects variable. Findings revealed the following: (a) both groups made substantial gains over time on the visual-auditory learning sub-test and the triple action of group x sex x time also was significant; (b) children in the experimental and control groups performed similarly on both the pre- and post-test of the letter identification test; (c) time was the only significant effect on subjects' performance on the word identification task; (d) work attack scores showed marked improvement in performance over time for both the experimenta+ and control groups; (e) passage comprehension scores indicated an improvement in performance for both groups over time. Similar to Experiment 1, it is suggested that several modifications in the experimental design could produce significant results. These factors are addressed with suggestions for further research in the area of active learning; more specifically, the effect of motor-encoding activities on memory and academic performance of children.