The act of creating meaning with texts is complex, and this complexity creates unclear views of instruction in schools and even greater perplexity in knowing how to instruct students who may be struggling in this area of their schoolwork. Comprehension is often measured in schools as a product and an outcome, making it difficult to understand why a student may be experiencing challenges (Duke & Carlisle, 2011). Recently, the emphasis of developing reading skills in isolation in schools is being replaced by the importance of gaining knowledge and building cognition while reading (Cervetti & Hiebert, 2014); yet, handing a difficult non-fiction text to students to read, without considering complex and interrelated factors that influence comprehension does not put students on the path to create meaning with informational texts (Duke, 2014). This study examined that pathway by implementing a reading intervention for fourth and fifth grade students in collaboration with six reading specialists within one mid-western school district. Using design-based research (McKenney & Reeves, 2012), this project aimed to create educational solutions to problems in schools while at the same time developing theoretical understanding of learning. Five conjecture maps guided the embodiment, mediating processes, and intended outcomes for the designed intervention (Sandoval, 2014). This intervention was embodied by content grouped texts that gradually increased in difficulty, mystery texts, reading for authentic purposes, and the use of verbal protocols as a formative assessment tool. The Landscape Model (van den Broek, Rapp & Kendeou, 2005) provided a theoretical framework for this study by describing the dynamic interaction of cognitive processes involved with comprehension. Reading specialists drew on this model to better understand students’ processing of texts as they listened to individual students think out loud while reading. Findings indicated that grouping texts by content area influenced students’ cognitive processes in their reading, was valuable for comprehension development, and impacted the comprehension product. In addition, the implementation of verbal protocols as a formative assessment tool enabled reading specialists to identify students’ unique challenges while reading and to coach students while processing texts. The act of creating meaning with texts is complex, but understanding students’ use of cognitive processes, and not just comprehension outcomes, provides valuable support for scaffolding learning from informational texts for students in the intervention setting.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2016. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Lori Helman. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 153 pages.
Scaffolding learning from informational texts in the intervention setting.
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