Nancy R. Romance, Florida Atlantic University
Michael R. Vitale, East Carolina University
Abstract: This poster presentation overviews the initial years' findings of a three-year study designed to investigate the cumulative effects of embedding a knowledge-based, multi-part Reading Comprehension Strategy within different instructional settings for reading comprehension instruction in grades 3-5. Considering reading comprehension as a process of identifying and assimilating meaning by interacting with text, the study integrates consensus research findings from cognitive science (e.g., expertise development) and reading/educational psychology to determine how student content-area reading comprehension proficiency can be accelerated at the upper elementary level. Specifically, the study embedded a three-part knowledge-focused Reading Comprehension Strategy (i.e., text comprehension, propositional concept/story mapping, and summarization writing sub-strategies) within two parallel classroom learning settings: (a) a science-oriented model (Science IDEAS) within which reading and writing are integrated and (b) a traditional reading/language arts curriculum (Scott-Foresman Reading) that emphasizes narrative reading. Presented within a 2 x 2 hierarchical linear models/covariance analysis framework are the effects of using the Reading Comprehension Strategy within the two instructional settings on the following measures: (a) ITBS Reading Comprehension/ Science, (b) comprehension of experimental high vs. low cohesion narrative- and science-oriented passages, (c) student-reported use of reading comprehension strategies Before, During, and After reading, (d) a multi-day cumulative content-area reading comprehension transfer task in US History, and (e) student attitude and self-confidence in reading. Complementing the presentation of the findings will be a brief overview of methodological issues in conducting ecologically-valid research to investigate reading comprehension and reading comprehension strategies within a framework of in-depth meaningful conceptual learning.