Intersections of Voice and Text: The Meaning of Oral Interpretation in the Secondary Classroom

By Jeanne Muzzillo.

Published by The International Journal of Literacies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: May 25, 2016 $US5.00

Although oral reading is a common practice at every grade level, research regarding the effects of oral reading on secondary students is rare. This study replaces traditional comprehension measures with trends and categories for analyzing written retellings. Designed to aid teachers in matching strategy, text, student, and outcomes, oral interpretation strategy was assessed through an analysis of student retellings of prose text. This study was conducted in a naturalistic setting: a mid-sized Midwestern high school, with sophomore students and their teachers, under typical classroom circumstances. Randomly assigned groups either performed a prepared, purposeful oral interpretation of a short story, or discussed and wrote answers to text questions. All students wrote a retelling of the story which was analyzed for trends and significant differences between groups and relationships among the categorical trends. The groups were only significantly different for five of eleven categories: conflict, ideas, plot, imagery, and a measure of empathy. For each of these categories, the students who orally interpreted the prose fared worse for recall. However, this study still advocates for the use of orality in the classroom in a number of specified incarnations and for a number of theoretically-supported reasons where practice matches purpose.

Keywords: Orality, Recall, Pedagogy

The International Journal of Literacies, Volume 23, Issue 2, June 2016, pp.13-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: May 25, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 693.689KB)).

Dr. Jeanne Muzzillo

Associate Professor, English Department, Bradley University, Peoria, IL, USA