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This causal-comparative research investigated whether reading comprehension performance differs if students read two reading texts, one is related to their chosen field of study while the other is not. It also took interest in determining the influence of demographic and academic profile information on reading comprehension. Thirty students enrolled in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strand of the Mindanao State University-Marawi Senior High School took two sets of reading comprehension tests for four times. The first set used texts whose topics are related to STEM while the second set used texts whose topics are taken from other fields of study like social sciences and economics. Findings revealed that in all four sessions of reading comprehension tests, there was a consistent significant difference between the performances of students in STEM-related and STEM-unrelated texts. Specifically, students performed better in test sets that used STEM-related texts. Moreover, there was no difference in the students’ performance when they were classified according to their gender and age. Interestingly, the curriculum they undertook in junior high school mattered in their reading comprehension performance on STEM-unrelated texts, which showed that students who were trained in science high schools performed better than other students did. These findings forward significant pedagogical implications for the effective teaching of English as well as other subject areas to Senior High School students with respect to instructional and reading materials used.
Keywords: Reading Performance, Content Familiarity, Reading Interest, Senior High School, STEM
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