Date of Award

Summer 8-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ded)


Professional Studies in Education

First Advisor

Robert Millward, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Rhonda M. Sutton, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Douglas Lare, Ed.D.


The purpose of the qualitative research study was to investigate how proficient and non-proficient fifth grade students comprehend digital text material in regard to overall retention. Twenty-eight fifth grade students from an elementary school in northeastern Pennsylvania participated in this study.

Those who fit specified criteria including the following were invited to participate in the study: student is in fifth grade in the specified elementary school, does not receive Special Education services, and scored either Advanced, Proficient or Basic on the Grade 4 PSSA.

This research study consisted of two phases: a pilot study and the study. Student interview questions were developed from a thorough review of the literature and the participants were asked to reflect on and describe how they comprehend a selection of digital expository text on a computer through the use of reading strategies and digital tools.

At the end of the selected text, the participants answered comprehension questions to assess the skills of determining importance, finding supporting details, making inferences and recall. The non-proficient group scored higher on the two questions that assessed making inferences and recall, while the proficient group scored higher on the questions assessing the skills of determining importance and finding supporting details.

An interesting finding that differs from previous research conducted surrounding reading strategy use by proficient and non-proficient readers, is that nearly the same number of participants from each group reported using strategies in this particular study. This finding could be attributed to the small population size or due to self-reporting by the participants. All of the participants reported using at least one reading strategy in order to make meaning of digital expository text.