Does text familiarity predict schema automation to reduce Working Memory Capacity constraints for enhanced reading comprehension? A study from Ghana

2017 IJRSP – Volume 6 Issue 2


Ntim, Stephen*
Catholic University of Ghana, Ghana, West Africa (


This report tested four measures to assess how texts familiarity significantly influences reading efficiency of students having prior knowledge of text from those with no prior knowledge. In all measures, results suggested significant differences in favor of experimental groups exposed to familiar texts than the controlled groups without prior text knowledge. Data were interpreted to mean that previous knowledge was a critical predicting factor for schema automation reducing working memory constraints for enhanced reading comprehension. Readers’ privy to information were hypothesized to have used text schemata to manage and process text in parallel as one element, allowing working memory constraints to be circumvented, leaving space to focus on other mental processes, which enabled readers with background knowledge to distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. Findings were interpreted as the plausible interrelated link between text familiarity, schema automation and Working Memory reduction. Implications for classroom practice are suggested.

Keywords: previous knowledge; schemata; working memory; comprehension



*Corresponding Author