Margaret McKeown, University of Pittsburgh
Isabel Black, University of Pittsburgh
Abstract: The poster will describe an ongoing study to examine two different approaches to comprehension instruction. Much current comprehension instruction research focuses on teaching explicit comprehension strategies. Another approach to comprehension instruction focuses on directing students' attention toward building a coherent representation of text content, instantiated as discussion of text as reading proceeds. Although studies have been done that investigate each approach, none have compared strategies and content approaches. The goal of our project is to develop and compare standardized lessons on common texts for a strategies approach and a content approach.
Our work in Year 1 focused on developing and piloting standardized lessons to represent strategies and content approaches. The strategies used to represent the strategies approach were summarizing, predicting, drawing inferences, question-generation, and comprehension monitoring.
Year 2 work has included implementing the lessons for strategies, content, and a control condition in six classrooms of fifth graders in a low-income district. Classroom teachers taught the lessons. A variety of data sources is being used to assess the learning outcomes of the lessons. These include discussion during the lessons based on lesson transcripts, a comprehension monitoring task, and two measures of comprehension of story lesson texts, a meaning verification task and story recall. The role of each of these sources in creating a picture of student comprehension will be explained. Information on what we have learned for observation of the lessons and preliminary data analyses will be presented.