In 2 experiments the authors investigated whether assigning a perspective to middle school students prior to reading a long informational text would improve their reading comprehension. Pretest-posttest control group designs were employed in both experiments, in Experiment 1 (n = 146 fifth- and sixth-grade students) and in Experiment 2 (n = 83 eighth-grade students), where a delayed measure of comprehension was also included. Findings indicated statistically significant learning gains from pre- to posttest regardless of perspective but no differential benefit for perspective assignment on overall comprehension or comprehension of perspective-relevant content. Previous research has demonstrated comprehension benefit for adults assigned a perspective before reading short narrative texts in experimental settings. This work extends reading comprehension research by testing the efficacy of perspective instantiation in 2 samples of middle school learners reading an informational text in a school setting. Findings suggest more research is necessary prior to advocating the use of perspective instantiation in classrooms.
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