Scott Baker, Pacific Institutes for Research
David Chard, University of Oregon
Lana Edwards Santoro, Pacific Institutes for Research
Abstract: This poster session describes the development and evaluation of an intervention to improve comprehension and vocabulary of first grade children. Results from two intervention studies implemented during the 2003-2004 (IES funded Year 2) and the 2004-2005 (IES funded Year 3) academic years will be presented. In Year 2, schools in were randomly assigned to experimental and comparison conditions with 203 students participating in the study. In Year 3, teachers were randomly assigned to experimental and comparison conditions with 115 students participating in the study. In both years, the experimental condition consisted of a 15-week intervention with weekly units focused on themes from specific science or social studies topics. Narrative and expository books were used by practicing first-grade teachers during the intervention in a read aloud format. Read aloud lessons included before, during, and after reading components, and emphasized setting a purpose for reading, building vocabulary knowledge, making text-to-text and text-to-life connections, and having children retell stories or information on a regular basis. Students in the experimental condition provided more elements during retells, and provided better quality retells of informational texts than students in the comparison condition. Perhaps most noteworthy is the finding that the intervention did differentially impact comprehension as measured by standardized comprehension measures. Results suggest that explicitly optimizing instructional opportunities during read alouds improves comprehension when compared to the use of read alouds without integrated and intentional comprehension instruction. A discussion will present trends across studies and results from a pilot study on the impact of adding short, pull-out instruction on the target vocabulary from the read alouds. Findings across these studies will be used to discuss unanswered research questions and future directions for research.