Researchers have found that children need to be proficient in reading and writing expository text to succeed academically as well as in their future careers. More than ever before, children in primary grade classrooms are being exposed to and expected to comprehend a variety expository text types. However, empirical evidence to support the use of expository texts in kindergarten classrooms, in particular, is sorely lacking. To begin to fill this gap, this study was conducted to investigate kindergarten children's comprehension of two types of expository text structures (i.e., descriptive and sequential) commonly found in kindergarten classrooms. Specifically, the aims of the study were three fold: (1) to investigate if there is a relationship between prior knowledge and the comprehension of descriptive or sequential expository text; (2) to determine if the comprehension of descriptive and sequential expository text are important predictors of performance on the Token Test for Children-2 (TTFC-2) and the Assessment of Literacy and Language (ALL); and (3) to determine if there is a correlation between the descriptive and sequential expository text comprehension measures (i.e., retelling of expository text and answering comprehension questions) on the researcher created Expository Text Protocol. The sample included 45 typically developing kindergarten children (ages 5 years, 8 months to 6 years, 10 months). All children passed a vision and a hearing screening; were enrolled in kindergarten for the first time (no history of retention); scored within the normal range on a non-verbal intelligence screener; and, were not receiving services in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program or the Exceptional Student Education (ESE) program. Each child participated in two, one-hour, assessment sessions on two separate days. During the sessions, children were administered formal (i.e., TTFC-2 & ALL) and informal (i.e., Expository Text Protocol) assessments, counter balanced across the sessions. The standardized tests were administered in the prescribed manner. During administration of the researcher created Expository Text Protocol children listened first to either an illustrated descriptive expository text or an illustrated sequential expository text read aloud by a researcher. After the reading, the children either first retold the text without the use of the corresponding expository text or answered a set of 12 comprehension questions for each type of expository text (i.e., descriptive and sequential). The order of the retelling and comprehension questions were counter balanced across children. Simple linear regressions, multiple linear regressions, and partial correlational analyses were used to assess the data obtained in this study. The research findings indicated that a statistically significant relationship exists between the comprehension of expository text and the following reader characteristics: listening comprehension ability, language ability, and literacy ability. However, a statistically significant relationship was not found between the comprehension of the expository text types and prior knowledge. In addition, a statistically significant relationship was found between each of the two types of comprehension measures: retelling of descriptive and sequential expository texts and answering comprehension questions related to each type of text. This investigation revealed that the incorporation of descriptive and sequential expository text structures into the kindergarten curricula is appropriate and the exposure to expository texts may facilitate language and literacy growth and build upon kindergarten children's existing prior knowledge. In turn, exposure to expository texts also may be beneficial in expanding children's use of expository language found in these types of texts. Future research is needed to examine kindergarten children's comprehension of other types of expository text structures found in kindergarten classrooms.


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Graduation Date





Schwartz, Jamie


Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)


College of Education and Human Performance

Degree Program

Education; Communication Science and Disorders









Release Date

August 2019

Length of Campus-only Access

3 years

Access Status

Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)