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Enhancing Efl College Students' Speed Reading and Content Comprehension of Computerized Texts

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Enhancing EFL College Students' Speed Reading and Content Comprehension of Computerized Texts ‫

Osama Hassanein Sayed, PhD Community College in Bisha, King Khalid University, KSA, Faculty of Education in the New Valley, Assiut University, Egypt
(2009)
Paper puplished in CDELT Occasional Papers, Vol. 50, August, 2009.
Abstract
This study attempted to investigate the effect of training EFL college students in reading computerized texts on their reading speed and content comprehension. The study had a pre-post control group design. Thirty EFL students at the community college in Bisha, king Khalid university, Saudi Arabia, participated in this study. An online speed reading test was used to measure students' speed reading rate and content comprehension. Experimentation lasted eight weeks; three 50-minute sessions per week. A “t” test for small samples was used to analyze the difference between means of scores of the study subjects in the pre-post-measurements. Findings revealed a significant improvement in the experimental group students' speed reading rates and their reading comprehension of computerized texts.

Introduction:
With the explosion of information we live in nowadays, with the growing emphasis and on the importance concepts of information as and communication with such globalization,informatization, and intercultural communication, strong reading skills, as Kasper (2003) states, are essential not only for students' academic success, but also for their social and economic advancement". As a matter of fact, information is, not only increasing rapidly, but also moving instantaneously in every part of the world at the same time, and one has no choice but to try and to increase the intake of information. On the other hand, with the advent of the internet in the 1980’s, "Reading from computer screens is becoming more and more common in our daily lives as the amount of reading material available on line is rapidly increasing" (Sawaki, 2001: 38). Immediate access to information, at any time and any place is required nowadays by many people. Digital reading is the natural development of the common concept of information on demand (Kol & Schcolnik, 2000). Many magazines and newspapers nowadays offer an online version and sell access to their content (Macedo-Rouet et al., 2003). Thus, with the huge information the internet offers, as well as, the enormous amounts of reading one faces, the need for speed reading became of paramount importance. In the educational setting, a fundamental and major shift in the field occurred as a result of the revolutionary development in the field of information technology and communication (Nowbuth & Moonshiram-Baguant, 2008). Traditional education is no longer recognized as the most ideal education system. The unbelievable advances in computer and information technologies are "altering the way education and training is delivered" (Kim & Curtis, 2002). As a matter of fact, a new era in the history of education has started; millions and millions of people in both education and training sectors study via internet; thousands and thousands of distancelearning courses are introduced by companies, colleges and universities in too many countries all over the world. In addition, the distancelearning market that grants college degrees through internet is also growing rapidly more and more. In the United States, Europe, Britain, Australia, Canada, and throughout the world, more and more students, nowadays, are reaching their educational goals via distance and elearning programs. Locally, governments in the Arab countries are keen to support elearning and distance-learning at their universities by setting up the necessary infrastructure and affording sufficient resources. According to Saady (2005), "the average amount of financial resources spent on education in the Middle East is considerably higher than the international average". Practically, most governments, if not all, in the region inaugurated e-learning and distance-learning projects at their universities. Among these is the Saudi government which implemented a national plan under which most universities in Saudi Arabia will adopt the new educational system of e-learning within a year. Needless to say, implementing e-learning in educational systems doubled the need for online reading. Students must be good readers. They should be equipped with appropriate comprehension skills and specific screen reading strategies that help them digest the huge amounts of information they encounter. Unfortunately, most experimental findings in the field, as Gould et al. (1987) claim, revealed that people read more slowly from cathode
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ray tube (CRT) displays than from paper. Dillon (1992) put it clear that silent reading from a computer screen is significantly (10%-30%) slower than reading from paper. This conclusion was affirmed by many other researchers; Nielsen (1995); O’Hara & Sellen (1997); and Kurniawan & Zaphiris (2001); Macedo-Rouet et al. (2003); Kerr & Symons (2006); DeStefano & Jo-Anne (2007); Beres (2007) and Tseng (2008). In their extensive report, Gould et al. (1987) summarized ten experiments and several more analyses that sought to explain the reasons for the difference in the reading speed rate between reading hypertexts and printed ones. Each experiment of those included in the report, isolated one variable and studied whether this variable explains the difference in the reading speed. Results showed that no one variable studied (e.g., experience in using CRT displays; display orientation; character size, font, or polarity) explains it. Their conclusion was that the difference is due to a combination of variables, probably centering on the image quality of the characters themselves. The study of O’Hara & Sellen (1997) reported on a laboratory study that compared reading from paper to reading on-line. Results showed that critical differences in the reading speed rate are related to the major advantages paper offers in supporting annotation while reading, quick navigation, and flexibility of spatial layout. These, in turn, allow readers to deepen their understanding of the text, extract a sense of its structure, create a plan for writing, cross-refer to other documents, and interleave reading and writing. In contrast, students reading the texts displayed online expressed frustration about reading on-screen since annotating was a uncomfortable process requiring them to draw boxes or change text style. In their investigative study, Kurniawan & Zaphiris (2001) studied the effects of text layout and reading patterns on reading performance.
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The results of their study were in line with earlier results that reading from computer screens is slower than reading from paper. The researchers remarked that participants sometimes used their fingers, a pen or a pencil to keep track of their place in the printed text and these aiding mechanisms might account for a certain percentage of the differences in reading performance. The study of Macedo-Rouet et al. (2003) examined the effects of print and online presentations of a multiple document report on reader’s comprehension, perception of cognitive load, satisfaction, and attention. The study hypothesized that users of online media would show poorer results compared with print users. An experimental protocol was used to assess readers’ performance using print and online versions of a popular science magazine report. Results reveled that hypertext led to higher perceived cognitive load and poorer comprehension. Al-Othman (2003) examined the relationship between online reading speed rates and performance on proficiency tests, given the proliferating use of the internet. The study involved twenty-five postgraduate students enrolled in an ESL course at the private center for teaching English as a foreign language in Kuwait and who are also involved in postgraduate studies. Twelve were familiar with the computer while others were not. The main finding of this study is that high rates of reading speeds are positively correlated with good performance on the computer-based test (CBT) TOEFL subtest of reading comprehension. The study of Kerr & Symons (2006) examined whether children’s reading rate, comprehension, and recall are affected by computer presentation of text. Participants were 60 grade five students, who each read two expository texts, one in a traditional print format and the other
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from a computer monitor, which used a common scrolling text interface. After reading each text, participants were asked to recall as much as they could from what they had read and then answered questions that measured text recall and comprehension. Children took more time to read the passage and recalled more of the text material that they had read from the computer monitor. The benefit of computer presentation disappeared when efficiency variables, which take time into account, were examined. Children were, however, more efficient at comprehending text when reading from paper. The results suggest that children may take more time to read text on computer screens and that they are more efficient when reading text on paper. DeStefano & Jo-Anne (2007) used a process model of hypertext reading to generate predictions about the effects of hypertext features on cognitive processing during text navigation and comprehension. Results of their study revealed that the increased demands of decision making and performance. According to Beres (2007), online reading speed and content comprehension are affected by a variety of factors such as display media characteristics, text characteristics, text layout characteristics, font typography and presentational format. Tseng's (2008) Study which aimed at investigating the difficulties of reading text on the web for EFL learners, revealed that the major difficulties students experience when reading text on the web are; eyestrain and eyes-blurred, skipping lines, inability of taking notes or underlining any words or text on computer screens. In the case of teaching English as a foreign/second language, there is a common complaint among EFL/ESL teachers from a slow reading rate of print material, among their students. Supporting this,
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visual processing

in hypertext impaired

reading

Bell (1998), states that slow, word-by-word reading, is common in EFL/ESL classrooms and that this slow reading rate impedes comprehension by transferring an excess of visual signals to the brain. According to Anderson (1999), reading to many second language readers is a suffocatingly slow process and that developing rapid reading, as an essential skill for all students, is often neglected in the classroom. A widely recognized problem faced by learners throughout the ESL/EFL world, as Bell (2001) states, is that of slow reading which has often been associated with classroom methodology in reading lessons, particularly where such lessons focus on language

development rather than reading per se. For Al-Nujaidi (2003), Saudi EFL university students, in general, had a low reading ability. Taguchi et al. (2004: 72) put it clear that "reading in a foreign or second language is usually a slow, laborious process". Meanwhile and what makes things even worse, poor readers of printed text, "will also be poor readers of hypertext" (Richard, 2005). That is why Foltz (1996) warns that hypertext may present a problem for students with poor reading skills because it causes an additional processing load by making the reader responsible for navigating the text (Cited in Kasper, 2003). Context of the Problem: Through personal observations, as an EFL reading teacher at the community college in Bisha, King Khalid University, the researcher noticed that most of the college students are poor readers. Their reading scores on the final exams are not up to the standard required. To make sure that those students are poor readers of computerized texts as well, the researcher conducted an investigative study. In this study, a computerized reading comprehension test was
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administered to a group of 15 level two EFL students. In this test, students were asked to read a short computerized reading

comprehension passage and to answer five multiple choice questions on it. Results of this study revealed a slow reading rate and poor level of reading comprehension among those students. Therefore, the present study derives first, from personal observations of the researcher, second, from the results of the investigative study and third, from the common complaint from the slow reading rate among EFL/ESL students voiced by many researchers such as; Bell (1998); Anderson (1999); Bell (2001); Al-

Nujaidi (2003), and Taguchi et al. (2004). Furthermore, with the adoption of the new educational system of e-learning within a year at the university, reading online texts became a necessity. Statement of the Problems: Students at King Khalid University are required to read and understand huge amounts of computerized texts although, most of them are poor readers. Therefore, the current study attempts to investigate the effect of training community college students in reading computerized texts on their reading speed and content comprehension. Questions of the Study: The current study tries to answer the following questions: 1. What is the effect of training King Khalid EFL community college students in reading computerized texts on their reading speed of these texts? 2. What is the effect of training King Khalid EFL community college students in reading computerized texts on their reading

comprehension of these texts?

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Hypotheses of the Study: The researcher hypothesizes the following: 1. There is no statistically significant difference between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the pre-measurement of speed reading. 2. There is a statistically significant difference favoring the experimental group between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the post-measurement of speed reading. 3. There is no statistically significant difference between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the pre-measurement of reading comprehension. 4. There is a statistically significant difference favoring the experimental group between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the post-measurement of reading comprehension. Delimitations of the Study: 1. The study was limited to level two EFL students at the community college in Bisha, King Khalid University. 2. Only a computerized version of the reading comprehension passages included in the reading comprehension course taught to those students is the training material used in this study.

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Definition of Terms: Reading Speed For the purpose of the current study, reading speed was defined as the student's speed measured in words per minute in the online text of the test of speed reading. Reading Comprehension Likewise, for the purpose of this study, reading comprehension was defined as the student's score on the online test of reading comprehension. Methodology of the Study: Subjects of the Study: All level two EFL students at the community college in Bisha, king khalid university, volunteered to participate in this study. Upon excluding drop outs, the number of the subjects who successfully completed the experiment was 30; level two EFL students at the community college in Bisha, King Khalid University. They were randomly assigned either to experimental or control group. Experimental Design: The study had a pre-post experimental and control groups design. An experimental group and a control group were exposed to pre-post means of getting data (an online speed reading test). The experimental group was given training in reading computerized texts, while the control group received no such training.

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Instruments of the Study: Instruments of the study included an online speed reading test available at http://www.turboread.com/light_read.htm. The test is composed of the instructions followed by a passage of 15 paragraphs, all made up of 800 words. The student is asked to click the button marked "Click and Read" before he begins reading the passage. When he finishes reading the passage, the student is asked to click the button at the bottom of the page, marked "Stop Reading". A student's average reading speed for the passage is determined by the score generated and displayed automatically upon clicking the button, marked "Stop Reading". The 15-paragraph reading comprehension passage is followed by 10 questions of the multiple choice format. Each item included a stem followed by three alternatives or choices from which the student was to choose the only one correct choice. A student's performance on this comprehension test is determined by the score generated automatically when he submits his answers upon clicking the button, marked "Calculate Score ". The maximum score of the reading comprehension test is 100 marks; 10 mark for each item. Pre-testing: On 28th February, 2009, a day before starting the treatment, level two community college students, the subjects of the current study, were assembled in the computer lab and acquainted with the objectives of the pre-post test and the way to complete it. After that, the online speed reading test was administered to the study subjects as a pre-test to preassess their reading speed rates and content comprehension. Subjects were tested individually and simultaneously under the supervision of

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the researcher. Treatment: This treatment was conducted from 29th February to 21st April 2009. It lasted 8 weeks; three 50-minute sessions per week. Students of the experimental group (n = 20) at the community college in Bisha, King Khalid university, were exposed to direct training in reading computerized texts. Training was conducted in a computer lab attached to the English language labs at the college. Students received extensive practice on reading computerized texts. Computerized texts used in training were a computerized version of the reading comprehension passages included in their reading comprehension course. Several types of computerized texts were constructed out of the reading

comprehension course the students study; (a) glosses, in which links provide come up vocabulary definitions, (b) controlled, in which links lead to a prearranged and limited number of texts on the topic, (c) free, in which students read a main text and then they are directed to explore the internet for other texts related to the topic. Students of the experimental group were taught how to read rapidly and were trained in speed reading skills such as; increasing the number of words in each block by holding the text a little further from one's eyes, reducing fixation time and reducing skip-back to previous sentences. In addition, they were given screen reading strategies such as; reading efficiently by reading intelligently, reading with a purpose in mind, knowing how deeply to study the material, active reading, reading different sorts of material, reading 'whole subject' documents and using glossaries with technical documents. Training went in accordance with the principles of explicit or direct instruction as follows;
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1) Each speed reading skill as well as, each screen reading strategy was defined and described explicitly to the students. 2) Using the think aloud technique, the researcher modeled each skill and each strategy before the students on selected examples of computerized texts in hand. 3) Students’ practice progressed from guided (under the close supervision of the researcher) to free practice in which they were directed to use the skills and strategies learned independently. On the other hand, control group students did not attend the regular sessions of training in reading computerized texts. They attended their usual reading classes with printed reading

comprehension texts. Post-testing: On 22nd April, 2009, a day after finishing the treatment, level two community college students, the subjects of the current study, were assembled in the same computer lab and reacquainted with the objectives of the pre-post test and the way to complete it. After that, the online speed reading test was administered to the study subjects as a post-test to post-assess their reading speed rates and content comprehension. Subjects were re-tested individually and

simultaneously under the supervision of the researcher. Statistical analysis of data: After finishing post-testing procedures, a “t” test for small samples was used to analyze the differences between means of scores of the study subjects in the pre and the post-measurements.

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Findings and Discussion: This section presents a discussion of the results obtained. Scores of the subjects in the pre-post measurements were compared. Results of comparisons revealed a significant improvement in both reading speed rates and content comprehension of the experimental group students. Testing the First Hypothesis: There is no statistically significant difference between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the pre-measurement of speed reading. (a) Subjects’ Speed Reading Rates in the Pre-Test of Speed Reading. Table (1) “t” value, Standard Deviations and Means of Scores of the Students of the Control and Experimental Groups in the Pre-Test of Speed Reading Group Control Experimental N 15 15 M 56.9333 55.2667 SD 11.591 6.861 .55 N.S “T” value Significance

Table (1) shows that there is no statistically significant difference between means of scores obtained by students of the control and experimental groups in the pre-test of speed reading. Thus the first hypothesis is affirmed.

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Testing the Second Hypothesis: There is a statistically significant difference favoring the experimental group between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the post-measurement of speed reading. (b) Subjects’ Speed Reading Rates in the Post-Test of Speed Reading. Table (2) “t” value, Standard Deviations and Means of Scores of the Students of the Control and Experimental Groups in the Post-Test of Speed Reading Group Control Experimental N 15 15 M 55.9333 73.9333 SD 13.145 10.340 -5.03 0.01 “T” value Significance

Table (2) shows that there is a statistically significant difference between means of scores obtained by students of the control and

experimental groups in the post-test of speed reading in favor of the experimental group. The experimental group got a higher mean (73.9333) than that obtained by the control group (55.9333). The result of the t-test shows that t-value = (-5.03) and the difference is significant at (0.01) level.

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(c) Comparing Subjects’ reading Rates in the Pre and the Post Test of Speed Reading. Table (3) “t” value, Standard Deviations and Means of Scores of the Students of the Control and Experimental and Groups in the Pre and the Post Test of Speed Reading

Group

N

Mean Pre

Mean Post 55.9333

SD Pre 11.591

SD Post 13.145

“T” value

Significance

Cont.

15

56.9333

N.S .58

Exp.

15

55.2667

73.9333

6.861

10.340

-9.13

0.01

Table (3) shows a comparison between the two groups in the pre and the post measurement of speed reading. Comparisons are in favor of the experimental group. Means of scores of the experimental group in the post-measurement are significantly higher than those of the premeasurement. Experimental group students got a higher mean (73.9333) in the post measurement than that obtained in the pre measurement (55.2667). “t” value (-9.13) reveals a highly significant difference between means of scores of the experimental group on the pre-test, post-test basis. These remarkably high gains shown by the students of the experimental group on a pre-test, post-test comparison are possibly due to the effect of the systematic instruction and training the students had in reading computerized texts. On the other hand, the mean of scores of the control group in the post test of speed reading is (55.9333), whereas it was (56.9333) in the pre test. The “t” value (.58) reveals no significant differences between

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means of scores of the control group on the pre-test, post-test basis. This assures that there is no improvement in the rate of their reading speed. This is because the control group had no systematic instruction and training in reading computerized texts. These findings affirm the second hypothesis and indicate that the experimental group surpassed the control group in the post test of speed reading. The superiority of the experimental group over the control group is attributed to the effectiveness of the training in reading computerized texts that the experimental group students received. Testing the Third Hypothesis: There is no statistically significant difference between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the pre-measurement of reading comprehension. (d) Subjects’ Achievement Levels in the Pre-Test of Reading Comprehension. Table (4) “t” value, Standard Deviations and Means of Scores of the Students of the Control and Experimental Groups in the Pre-Test of Reading Comprehension Group Control Experimental N 15 15 M 30.6667 28.0000 SD 13.870 7.746 1.00 N.S “T” value Significance

Table (4) shows that there is no statistically significant difference between means of scores obtained by students of the control and

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experimental groups in the pre-test of reading comprehension. Thus the first hypothesis is affirmed.

Testing the Fourth Hypothesis: There is a statistically significant difference favoring the experimental group between the means of scores obtained by students of the experimental group and those of the control group in the post-measurement of reading comprehension. (e) Subjects’ Achievement Levels in the Post-Test of Reading Comprehension.. Table (5) “t” value, Standard Deviations and Means of Scores of the Students of the Control and Experimental Groups in the Post-Test of Reading Comprehension Group Control Experimental N 15 15 M 30.0000 41.3333 SD 14.142 13.558 -2.83 0.05 “T” value Significance

Table (5) shows that there is a statistically significant difference between means of scores obtained by students of the control and

experimental groups in the post-test in favor of the experimental group. The experimental group got a higher mean (41.3333) than that obtained by the control group (30.0000). The result of the t-test shows that t-value = (-2.83) and the difference is significant at (0.05) level.

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(f) Comparing Subjects’ Achievement Levels in the Pre and the Post Test of Reading Comprehension. Table (6) “t” value, Standard Deviations and Means of Scores of the Students of the Control and Experimental Groups in the Pre and the Post Test of Reading Comprehension Group N Mean Pre Cont. Exp. 15 15 Mean Post SD Pre 13.870 7.746 SD Post 14.142 13.558 “T” value .32 -7.14 N.S 0.01 Significance

30.6667 30.0000 28.0000 41.3333

Table (6) shows comparisons between the two groups in the pre and the post test of reading comprehension. Comparisons are in favor of the experimental group. Means of scores of the experimental group in the post-test are significantly higher than those of the pre-test. Experimental group students got a higher mean (41.3333) in the post test than that obtained in the pre test (28.0000). “t” value (-7.14) reveals a highly significant difference between means of scores of the experimental group on the pre-test, post-test basis. These remarkably high gains shown by the students of the experimental group on a pre-test, post-test comparison are possibly due to the effect of the systematic instruction and training the students had in reading computerized texts. On the other hand, the mean of scores of the control group in the post test of reading comprehension is (30.0000), whereas it was (30.6667) in the pre test. The “t” value (.32) reveals no significant differences between means of scores of the control group on the pre-test, post-test

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basis. This assures that there is no improvement in their reading comprehension. This is because the control group had no systematic instruction and training in reading computerized texts. These findings affirm the second hypothesis and indicate that the experimental group surpassed the control group in the post test of reading comprehension. The superiority of the experimental group over the control group is attributed to the effectiveness of the training in reading computerized texts. These findings are in line with the results of many studies such as, Kol and Schcolnik (2000), Shapiro (2005), and Verezub, et al. (2008). These studies, together with the present one, affirmed that students, who had no experience in reading from computer screen, couldn’t read and understand effectively computerized texts. Findings also imply the necessity of equipping EFL students with appropriate speed reading skills together with effective screen reading strategies. Moreover, teaching such skills and strategies should be explicit and direct in small groups under the close supervision of the teacher. Recommendations: In the light of the findings of this study, the researcher recommends the following: First and foremost, enhancing EFL students' reading skills of printed texts since poor readers of printed texts proved to be poor readers also of computerized texts.  A practical classroom-based training in reading computerized texts is needed for EFL students during their pre-university stages.  Online-material developers and computerized-text designers should pay attention to the quality of these texts e.g. text layout
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characteristics, font typography and presentational format in order to help enhance reading speed among their target readers.  Future studies are needed to examine the relationship between reading speed and text types (descriptive, narrative,

argumentative, problem/solution, comparison, etc.).

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Appendix (1)
Pre-post Speed reading Test Test Instructions: 1. Click the button marked "Click and Read" before you begin reading the passage. 2. When you are finished reading the passage, click the button at the bottom of the page, marked "Stop Reading". 3. Your average reading speed for the passage will then be displayed. 4. After that, click the link at the bottom of this page to go to the comprehension test.

Click and Read

THE TITANIC STRIKES AN ICEBERG! SUNDAY night the magnificent ocean liner was plunging through a comparatively placid sea, on the surface of which there was much mushy ice and here and there a number of comparatively harmless-looking floes. The night was clear and stars visible. First Officer William T. Murdock was in charge of the bridge. The first intimation of the presence of the iceberg that he received was from the lookout in the crow's nest. Three warnings were transmitted from the crow's nest of the Titanic to the officer on the doomed steamship's bridge 15 minutes before she struck, according to Thomas Whiteley, a first saloon steward. Whiteley, who was whipped overboard from the ship by a rope while helping to lower a life-boat, finally reported on the Carpathia aboard one of the boats that contained, he said, both the crow's nest lookouts. He heard a conversation between them, he asserted, in which they discussed the warnings given to the Titanic's bridge of the presence of the iceberg.

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Whiteley did not know the names of either of the lookout men and believed that they returned to England with the majority of the surviving members of the crew. "I heard one of them say that at 11.15 o'clock, 15 minutes before the Titanic struck, he had reported to First Officer Murdock, on the bridge, that he fancied he saw an iceberg!" said Whiteley. "Twice after that, the lookout said, he warned Murdock that a berg was ahead. They were very indignant that no attention was paid to their warnings." TARDY ATTENTION TO WARNING RESPONSIBLE FOR ACCIDENT Murdock's tardy answering of a telephone call from the crow's nest is assigned by Whiteley as the cause of the disaster. When Murdock answered the call he received the information that the iceberg was due ahead. This information was imparted just a few seconds before the crash, and had the officer promptly answered the ring of the bell it is probable that the accident could have been avoided, or at least, been reduced by the lowered speed. The lookout saw a towering "blue berg" looming up in the sea path of the Titanic, and called the bridge on the ship's telephone. When, after the passing of those two or three fateful minutes an officer on the bridge lifted the telephone receiver from its hook to answer the lookout, it was too late. The speeding liner, cleaving a calm sea under a star-studded sky, had reached the floating mountain of ice, which the theoretically "unsinkable" ship struck a crashing, if glancing, blow with her starboard bow. MURDOCK PAID WITH LIFE Had Murdock, according to the account of the tragedy given by two of the Titanic's seamen, known how imperative was that call from the lookout man, the men at the wheel of the liner might have swerved the great ship

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sufficiently to avoid the berg altogether. At the worst the vessel would probably have struck the mass of ice with her stern. Murdock, if the tale of the Titanic sailor be true, expiated his negligence by shooting himself within sight of all alleged victims huddled in life-boats or struggling in the icy seas. When at last the danger was realized, the great ship was so close upon the berg that it was practically impossible to avoid collision with it. VAIN TRIAL TO CLEAR BERG The first officer did what other startled and alert commanders would have done under similar circumstances, that is he made an effort by going full speed ahead on the starboard propeller and reversing his port propeller, simultaneously throwing his helm over, to make a rapid turn and clear the berg. The manoeuvre was not successful. He succeeded in saving his bows from crashing into the ice-cliff, but nearly the entire length of the under body of the great ship on the starboard side was ripped. The speed of the Titanic, estimated to be at least twenty-one knots, was so terrific that the knife-like edge of the iceberg's spur protruding under the sea cut through her like a canopener. The Titanic was in 41.46 north latitude and 50.14 west longitude when she was struck, very near the spot on the wide Atlantic where the Carmania encountered a field of ice, studded with great bergs, on her voyage to New York which ended on April 14th. It was really an ice pack, due to an unusually severe winter in the north Atlantic. No less than twenty-five bergs, some of great height, were counted. The shock was almost imperceptible. The first officer did not apparently realize that the great ship had received her death wound, and none of the passengers had the slightest suspicion that anything more than a

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usual minor sea accident had happened. Hundreds who had gone to their berths and were asleep were unawakened by the vibration.

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Comprehension Questions Instructions: 1. There is only one correct answer for each question. 2. When you have completed all the questions, click the button marked "Calculate Score". Your displayed. 3. Please do not go back to the reading text while answering the questions as this test will then not be able to correctly reflect your comprehension skills. comprehension percentage will then be

1. Who warned the bridge about the impending iceberg danger? Thomas Whiteley The lookouts in the crow's nest First Officer William T. Murdock 2. The vessel that rescued the Titanic survivors was called the: Carmenia Cardonia Carpathia

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3. Select the correct option: Both lookouts survived the sinking of the Titanic One lookout survived the sinking of the Titanic Neither of the two lookouts survived the sinking of the Titanic 4. What did Whitely attribute the cause of the disaster to? A faulty steering mechanism in the ship's rudder A faulty telephone receiver on the ship's bridge A lack of urgency to the warning received by the ship's bridge 5. Indicate the correct statement: The bridge answered the call from the crow's nest after a delay of 8 to 10 minutes The bridge never answered the call from the crow's nest The bridge answered the call from the crow's nest after a delay of 2 to 3 minutes 6. What did First Officer Murdock do to try and avoid collision with the iceberg?

Commanded full speed on the starboard propeller and reversed the port propeller Commanded full speed on the port propeller and reversed the starboard propeller Reversed both propellers and threw his helm over to port 7. How did First Officer Murdock die? He was killed by a falling funnel He jumped into the icy water and drowned He shot himself 29

8. What was the speed of the Titanic shortly before it struck the iceberg? 18 knots 21 knots 27 knots 9. What part of the Titanic sustained damage? From the bow to the middle section of the underbelly on the starboard side From the middle section to the stern of the underbelly on the starboard side Nearly the entire length of the underbelly of the starboard side 10. Which statement is correct? The shock of the collision was felt throughout the ship and all sleeping passengers were woken No less than 25 icebergs were counted that night None of the passengers suspected that a serious accident had occurred
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