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Reading comprehension and "best practices"

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Webster, Dawn K.
Staff, Shane
Reading comprehension.; Reading (Elementary)
The purpose of this study is to investigate if and how the seven reading comprehension strategies identified as best practices are taught in the second grade Houghton Mifflin reading series (Cooper & Pikulski, 2008) used at Royce Elementary School in Beloit, Wisconsin. Through analysis of the reading curriculum, the researcher first set out to determine if the reading strategies, known as "best practices", were in fact a part of the school district's reading instruction. Once this was determined, the researcher calculated the frequency with which each strategy was taught throughout each of the six themes in the Houghton Mifflin teacher's manual. A second portion of the study explored if the amount of time given to a particular strategy was sufficient for students to master its use and be able to apply it independently. Two strategies were chosen: making predictions and questioning. Each strategy was taught for one week. A pretest was administered before teaching the strategy and a posttest was given afterwards to determine how proficient students were at applying the selected reading comprehension strategies independently. The results of the pretest and posttest from Beth Critchley Charlton's Informal Assessment Strategies (Charlton, 2005) revealed that the majority of students performed at a level two on both the "predicting" and "questioning" strategies. Of all the students assessed, 69% received a level two on the "predicting" pretest and 76% received a level two on the posttest. On the "questioning" pretest, 51% scored at a level two and 65% scored a level two on the posttest. Some gains were made in teaching the strategies of "predicting" and "questioning".
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