Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Educational Technology


Educational Technology

Major Advisor

Jui-Long Hung, Ed.D.


Yu-Chang Hsu, Ph.D.


Patrick Lowenthal, Ph.D.


This study explores the relationship between different smartphone reading annotation strategies and students’ comprehension. Subjects in the study are 139 teenage students enrolled in a religion class in the Southwestern United States. Each of the participants utilized a digital reading app on their personal smartphone to read an 842-word religious text. Subjects were encouraged to look for, highlight, or tag passages in the text that they felt were important to understanding the meaning of the text. After completing the reading, participants completed a multiple-choice quiz with both factual and inferential questions and wrote a short essay on how they felt the text could be used to resolve an issue in their personal life. The researcher analyzed the data by comparing the frequency of tags and highlights each subject created with their assessment scores. Results showed that higher highlighting frequency was related to higher factual comprehension scores but not higher inferential comprehension scores. In contrast, higher tagging frequency was related to higher inferential comprehension scores but not higher factual comprehension scores. In each case, the higher annotation frequency was only related to higher assessment scores when the subject created an above-average number of tags or highlights. The study suggests that different annotation methods are related to different comprehension outcomes.