The Effect of Schematic Knowledge on Iranian EFL Learner’s Reading Comprehension

Omid Ostad, Mohammad Tarang


A large number of variables influence the way a learner comprehends a reading passage, one of which is prior knowledge. This study examines this variable to discover its effect on the reading comprehension ability of Iranian EFL learners. The data was elicited from sixty-eight intermediate level students who were studying English as a foreign language in a private language institute in Rasht, a city in the north of Iran. After an English Proficiency test, they were divided in two groups, an experimental group and a control one. A pre-test was administered to both groups. Consequently, the experimental group received the treatment. Finally, a post-test was administered to both groups in order to find out the differences between two groups. The experimental group outperformed the control group. It was concluded that schematic knowledge has a noticeable significance on improving the reading comprehension skill of Iranian EFL Learners. Therefore, the activation of schematic knowledge prior to the reading process can be a useful method in teaching reading comprehension in language classes.



Schematic knowledge, EFL learners, reading comprehension

Full Text:



Alfassi, M. (2004). Reading to learn: Effects of combined strategy instruction on high school students. The Journal of Educational Research 97(4), 171–184.

Anderson, R. C. et al (1983). Effects of the Reader’s Schema at Different Points in Time. Journal of Educational Psychology, 75, 271-9.

Bartlett, F. C. (1932). Remembering: A study in experimental and social psychology. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press.

Beckman, Pat. (2002). Strategy instruction. The ERIC Clearinghouse on Disabilities and Gifted Education (ERICEC).

Biemans, H.J.A., Deel, O.R. & Simons, P.R. (2001). Differences between successful and less successful students while working with the CONTACT-2 strategy. Learning and Instruction, 11, 265-282.

Bower, G. H., Karlin, M. B. & Dueck, A. (1975). Comprehension and memory for pictures. Memory and cognition, 3,216-220.

Bransford, J. D., & Johnson, M. K. (1972). Contextual prerequisites for understanding: Some investigations of comprehension and recall. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 11, 717-726.

Caillies, S., & DenhieÁre, G., & Kintsch,W. (2002). The effect of prior knowledge on understanding from text: Evidence from primed recognition. European Journal of Cognitive Psychology, 14 (2), 267–286.

Carrell, P.L. (1987).The effects of rhetorical organization on ESL readers. TESOL Quarterly,18, 441-469.

Celce- Murcia, M. (2001). Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language. Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

Chall, J.S. (1983). Stages of reading development. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Chiesi, H.L., Spilich, G.J., & Voss, J.F. (1979). Acquisition of domain related information in relation to high and low domain knowledge. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 257– 273.

Dochy, F., Segers, M. & Buehl, M.M. (1999). The relation between assessment practices and outcomes of studies: The case of research on prior knowledge. Review of Educational Research, 69(2), 145-186.

Gabb, S. (2000). From talk to print: Preparing students to read with ease. Field Notes, 10 (2).

Goodman, K. S. (1994). Reading, writing and written texts: A transactional socio-psycholinguistic view. In

R. Ruddell, M. Ruddell, & H. Singer (Ed.).DE: International Reading Association.

Hammadou, J. (1991). Interrelationships Among Prior Knowledge, Inference, and Language Proficiency in Foreign Language Reading. THE MODERN LANGUAGE JOURANL, 75, 27-38.

Kashani Mahmood, M., & Reymani Nikoo, F., & Bonyadi, A.(2013). The Role of Schema or Background Knowledge Activation and Graphic Organizer on Increasing Iranian EFL Learners’ Reading Comprehension. European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences. Vol.2, No.2 Special Issue on Teaching and Learning.

Khosrojerdi, M. (2010). On The Effect of Background Knowledge and IQ on Reading Comprehension and Recall Process of a Group of Iranian Advance Students. Retrieved from: www.

Macaro, E., & Vanderplank, R., & Graham, S. (2005). A systematic review of the role of prior knowledge in unidirectional listening comprehension. London: EPP Centre, Social Science Research Unit, Institute of Education, University of London.

Means, M.L., & Voss, J.F.(1985). Star wars: A developmental study of expert and novice knowledge structures. Journal of Memory and Language, 24, 746–757.

Nunan, D. (2006). Second Language Teaching & Learning. Boston: Heinle & Heinle Publishers.

Orasana, J. (ED), (1986). Reading comprehension from research to practice. Hillidale: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates Publishers.

Rawson, K.A. & Kintsch, W. (2004). Exploring encoding and retrieval effects of background information on text memory. Discourse Processes, 38, 323-344.

Squire, J.R. (1983). Composing and comprehending: Two sides of the same basic process. Language Arts, 60, 581 589.

Stahl, S. A., Hare, V. C., Sinatra, R., & Gregory, J. F. (1991). Defining the role of prior knowledge and vocabulary in reading comprehension: The retiring of number 41. Journal of Reading Behavior, 23, 487 508.

Schallert, D.L. (1982). The significance of knowledge: A synthesis of research related to schema theory. In W. Otto & S. White (Eds.), Reading expository prose (pp. 13-48). New York: Academic.

Tarchi, C. (2009). Reading comprehension of informative texts in secondary school: A focus on direct and indirect effects of reader’s prior knowledge. Learning and Individual Differences, 20, 415-420.

Voss,J.F., Vesonder, G.T., & Spilich, G.J. (1980). Text generation and recall by high knowledge e and low-knowledge individuals. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 19, 651–667.

Weisberg, R. (1988). 1980s: A change in focus of reading comprehension research: A review of reading/learning disabilities research based on an interactive model of reading. Learning Disability Quarterly, 11, 149-159.



  • There are currently no refbacks.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

2012-2022 (CC-BY) Australian International Academic Centre PTY.LTD

International Journal of Applied Linguistics and English Literature

To make sure that you can receive messages from us, please add the journal emails into your e-mail 'safe list'. If you do not receive e-mail in your 'inbox', check your 'bulk mail' or 'junk mail' folders.