PhD defence Suzanne Bogaerds-Hazenberg: How can children better understand, remember, and summarise texts?

Basisschoolleerling zit in de klas en haar docent helpt haar met haar leerstof ©

On 5 June, Suzanne Bogaerds-Hazenberg will defend her PhD thesis Text Structure Instruction in Dutch Primary Education, which examines whether more understanding of text structures can help group 6, 7, and 8 children in reading comprehension.

Text structures

A text structure is the underlying skeleton of a text that organises all the information, Bogaerds-Hazenberg writes. Experienced readers recognise such structures, for example, by typical signal words. They use text structure as a mental framework to process text content in an ordered way.

Might explicit instruction about narrative and informative text structures be of use for primary school pupils? Bogaerds-Hazenberg’s meta-analysis showed that it is. She found that children better understood, memorised, and summarised texts.

Lesson series

Therefore, Bogaerds-Hazenberg developed a lesson series together with four teachers, which they immediately implemented in practice. There were positive effects on writing skills for all children, but the effects on reading, summarising, and metacognitive knowledge varied between intervention groups.

As this variability in effects raised questions about the exact lesson implementation, three teachers and their pupils were monitored during the lessons. According to Bogaerds-Hazenberg, this study generated useful insights for the professionalisation of teachers and reinforcement of teaching materials for reading comprehension instruction.

Start date and time
End date and time
Hybrid: online (click here) and at the Utrecht University Hall
PhD candidate
S.T.M. Bogaerds-Hazenberg
Text Structure Instruction in Dutch Primary Education
PhD supervisor(s)
Professor H.H. Van den Bergh
Dr J. Evers-Vermeul
More information
Full text via Utrecht University Repository