Boosting Student Comprehension of Informational Materials at the Secondary Level at Benjamin Holt College Preparatory AcademyReport as inadecuate

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Online Submission, M.A. Action Research Project, San Jose State University

Without proficiency in content reading skills, seventh grade students were at risk of not being able to achieve understanding of what they read in non-fiction texts, a skill that is absolutely necessary for college-bound students. The purpose of this action research study was to investigate whether an approach that involved specific and focused instruction in content reading skills would boost student comprehension of subject-area texts. The research question was: Would students who were scoring below proficiency in comprehending non-fiction subject-area texts be able to increase their understanding of informational materials after participating in ten weeks of content-reading intervention instruction? Two sub-questions helped to further explore the problem: Did students know how to infer and make meaning from non-fiction texts? Would more experience with reading and responding to informational materials boost student understanding of non-fiction texts? Bloom's Taxonomy was used as a guide in creating pre- and post-assessments, and students were taught reading strategies. Surveys were administered to monitor changes in attitude towards reading non-fiction along with monitoring use of strategies. A daily reading requirement and weekly journal writing rounded out the methodology. Research findings suggested that when students were provided with frequent opportunities to learn, practice, and apply reading strategies, their ability to comprehend and understand non-fiction texts increased. The researcher recommended that subject-area teachers model their own metacognition and provide students with the opportunity and time to learn, practice and apply reading strategies through cycles of learning, revisiting each strategy on a regular basis. School administrators were urged to investigate the level of involvement of their teaching staff in ensuring that students understand how to "unpack" or access informational texts, making comprehension of non-fictionals a schoolwide priority. The following are appended: (1) Action Research Project Timeline; (2) Study History Questionnaire; (3) Content-Area Teacher Survey; (4) Content Reading Pre-Test; (5) Example of a Weekly Reading Log with Non-Fiction as the Requirement; (6) Reading Journal - Non-Fiction Independent Reading; (7) Photo: The Structure and Features of Texts; (8) Photo: Reading Strategies; (9) Content Reading Post-Test; (10) Action Research Intervention Journal Excerpts; (11) Reading Log Tally & Reflection; (12) Reading Journal Tally; and (13) Reading Response Journal Rubric (for 7th Grade). (Contains 71 figures and 6 tables.)

Descriptors: Journal Writing, Intervention, Independent Reading, Content Area Reading, Action Research, Reading Strategies, Metacognition, Grade 7, Reading Skills, Reading Comprehension, Inferences, Nonfiction, Student Attitudes, Student Surveys, Attitude Change, Drills (Practice), Teacher Surveys, Teacher Attitudes, College Preparation

Author: Sampley, Jolyne K.


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