Content Familiarity and Gender-Neutral Texts in Foreign Language Reading Comprehension

Volume 02 - Issue 03
Maryam Jalilehvand Moses Samuel
Pages: 1-21 Download Count : 1782 View Count: 1168 Facebook Share on Google+ Save to Zotero Save to Mendeley


Based on the schema theory, it has been found that the background knowledge of males and females differs. This difference in background knowledge can affect the students'reading comprehension. In Iran, although boys and girls study in different schools, they follow the same curricula and syllabuses in all the schools. The present article reports the results of a study that investigated the interaction between content familiarity and gender on two neutral texts. To this end, data were elicited from 123 high school students (86 = female and 37 = male), ranging from 16-18 years old. They were randomly assigned to four groups and were presented with four texts. Two of the texts were familiar to the students and the other two texts were unfamiliar. The students' reading comprehension was assessed through two different testing measures namely the recall protocol and the cloze test. The performance of the four groups was compared using a between-subjects design and a two-way MANOVA test. Results indicated that there was a two-way interaction effect between familiarity and gender. Females scored higher on familiar texts whereas males outperformed the females on the unfamiliar texts. Based on the obtained results, it can be concluded that gender differences contribute to students' performance in reading comprehension.


  • Gender
  • Content Familiarity
  • Neutral Text
  • EFL Readers
  • Reading Comprehension
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