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This action research project described a program for improving reading skills in the identified primary classrooms. The targeted population consisted of students in first and third grades. The third grade classrooms were located in a low socioeconomic area within an urban community of Illinois. The first grade classroom was located in a higher socioeconomic area within the same community. The problem of ineffective reading skills was documented through data compiled by the teacher-researchers through the use of the Developmental Reading Assessment. Analysis of probable cause data revealed that students lack literacy experiences at home and a lack of motivation, which directly relates to students feelings and attitudes towards reading. Additional probable causes included poor fluency, a lack of reading strategies, and a deficit in phonological processing. A need for a literacy-rich classroom environment with a framework that encompasses essential reading components for student success was revealed. A review of various solution strategies suggested by those knowledgeable in the field of education, combined with an analysis of the targeted settings, resulted in the selection of a four-block reading intervention. The intervention consisted of: (1) the teacher explained, demonstrated, and supported reading strategies with the students; (2) the teacher reinforced reading and spelling patterns through instructional activities; (3) students self-selected and responded to literature experiences; (4) the teacher described, modeled, and supported writing activities with the students. The balanced, comprehensive approach helped children become more skilled in all areas in literacy, as well as increase levels of motivation and confidence. Post intervention data indicate improvements in reading skills. By immersing the students in a literacy-rich environment, reading abilities were enhanced. Appendixes contain word lists, student reading conference questions, a researchers' weekly journal form, a permission letter, and six learning activities. (Contains 32 references and 15 figures.) (Author/RS)

Descriptors: Action Research, Grade 1, Grade 3, Literacy, Primary Education, Reading Improvement, Reading Instruction, Reading Skills, Teacher Behavior, Urban Schools

Autor: Johnson, Jennifer L.; Dunbar, Cherie C.; Roach, Shannon L.


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