Skip Navigation

Institute of Education Sciences


Funding Opportunities | Search Funded Research Grants and Contracts

IES Grant

Title: BRIDGES: Teaching Reading Through U.S. History
Center: NCSER Year: 2012
Principal Investigator: O'Connor, Rollanda Grantee: Regents of the University of California
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language Development      [Program Details]
Award Period: 6/01/2012–5/31/2015 Award Amount: $1,375,333
Goal: Development Award Number: R324A120173
Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Lindsay Flynn (University of North Carolina at Charlotte)

Purpose: Finding time to provide intensive reading instruction for students with disabilities and poor readers is more difficult in secondary schools than in elementary schools. Reading instruction in middle school is often eliminated in favor of tutoring support for passing courses. Educators can be faced with weighing the importance of content acquisition over reading skills for improving academic outcomes for these struggling students. This project will develop an intervention to address this dilemma. The intervention will focus on teaching focused reading skills well and applying them directly to reading in the content area of U.S. History.

Project Activities: Approximately 150 eighth-grade struggling readers will participate in this research. During years 1 and 2, lesson components will be tested in three 5-week cycles. The cycles will focus on developing students' word analysis skills, vocabulary skills, use of graphic organizers, and strategies for improving skills for summarizing text and finding the main idea. The cycles will also include 25 minutes of reading history texts at and below grade level as well as 5 minutes of discussion. The lesson components will be revised based on observations made by the research team and feedback from teachers implementing them. In the third year, classes will be randomly assigned to provide the intervention or provide instruction-as-usual to investigate whether the intervention has promise for improving both reading and history outcomes. Data will be analyzed to determine student growth on a variety of reading measures, including measures of word analysis skills, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, and to compare outcomes for students who received the intervention and those who received typical instruction provided by the school.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed intervention to teach reading and U.S. History content to students with reading disabilities and poor readers as well as published reports describing its promise for improving outcomes.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in middle schools in California.

Sample: Approximately 150 eighth-grade struggling readers will participate in this research. Half of the participants will have a high-incidence disability, and the remaining will be English learners or other students who are struggling readers.

Intervention: Approximately 48 lessons, given in 3-week units, will be developed. The units will focus on the U.S. Constitution, westward expansion, and events leading to the Civil War. Each lesson will be 45 minutes and delivered to small groups in pull-out settings. The lessons will bridge students' current reading ability with reading grade-level text, and instruction will include their eighth-grade history text as well as an easier-to-read version of the same events. The lessons will also include word analysis, vocabulary development, comprehension, and text analysis strategies that are promising for improving reading outcomes for struggling students. The researchers have selected U.S. History as the content due to its potential utility and the cyclical nature of the content being taught in multiple grades during students' schooling. If it is found effective, the method may used in multiple grades.

Research Design and Methods: During years 1 and 2, lesson components will be tested in three 5-week cycles. In year 1, the first cycle will focus on developing students' word analysis skills, the second on vocabulary skills, and the third on using graphic organizers for text that uses a cause and effect text structure. The cycles will also include 25 minutes of reading history texts at and below grade level as well as 5 minutes of discussion. Activities in year 2 will follow the same procedures used in year 1; however, the cycles developed in year 1 will be integrated. The lesson components will be revised based on observations made by the research team and feedback from teachers implementing them. In the third year, classes will be randomly assigned to provide the intervention or provide instruction-as-usual to investigate whether the intervention has promise for improving both reading and history outcomes.

Control Condition: Students in the comparison condition will receive instruction typically provided by the schools.

Key Measures: A variety of student assessment and observational data will be collected to determine whether the intervention has promise for improving reading and history outcomes and to provide direction for refinement and insight into the feasibility of the intervention implementation in authentic education settings. A series of experimenter-designed measures, classroom tests, progress monitoring reading assessments, and norm-referenced reading assessments will be administered. Fidelity of implementation data will also be collected through teacher observations. Data from focus groups with teachers and student questionnaires will also be analyzed to provide insight into program implementation and acceptability.

Data Analytic Strategy: Data will be analyzed using analysis of covariance to determine student growth on a variety of reading measures, including measures of word analysis skills, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension, and to compare outcomes for students who received the intervention and those who received typical instruction provided by the school. The researchers will also investigate whether certain student characteristics, like special education status or English learner status, are correlated with treatment outcomes.


Back