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An Investigation of Concept Mapping to Improve the Reading Comprehension of Science Texts

Journal of Science Education and Technology Volume 18, Number 5, ISSN 1059-0145


This study investigated how well 74 6th-grade science students represented text structures from a 900-word textbook chapter on soil conservation, given a concept map template with four superordinate terms and 24 unsorted concepts. Findings suggest students were more successful at classifying pre-selected terms under given superordinate categories than they were at fully identifying relevant concept sets and articulating three different relationship types between terms. No significant differences were noted in the mapping performance of students at different reading levels. About two-third of students indicated they enjoyed concept mapping and would prefer to both read and map rather than just read without mapping. Students also expressed a strong preference for mapping in pairs or small groups compared to mapping alone. Multiple recommendations are provided for improving the relational thinking of students tasked with concept mapping expository science texts, including bridging to more open-ended maps, embedding mapping in longer-term inquiry projects, and leveraging collaborative and tool-based scaffolds.


Oliver, K. (2009). An Investigation of Concept Mapping to Improve the Reading Comprehension of Science Texts. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 18(5), 402-414. Retrieved March 23, 2023 from .

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