Investigating reading strategies in a high school earth science classroom
Webb, Mary Kohnstamm
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The majority of science teachers consider reading to be an important skill for students to master yet most teachers agree that their understanding of how to teach the cognitive and metacognitive processes to increase student comprehension of scientific text is lacking (Yore, 1991). My goal was to address this gap in my pedagogy, by integrating four different reading strategies into my Earth Science curriculum. The primary purpose was to measure the students' comprehension of scientific text using four reading strategies. The secondary research questions investigated the change in student attitudes and self-confidence when using reading strategies, how choice impacted student comprehension, attitudes and self-confidence, and finally how including reading strategies impact my teaching practice. To answer these questions, students completed a Likert survey measuring student attitudes, self-confidence and beliefs towards reading. Then each reading strategy was taught, first by modeling for the entire group, then with small groups and finally each strategy was completed independently. Students completed assessments using word associations to measure student comprehension using each reading strategy. After students mastered each strategy, they began to choose which strategy to use when reading. The same Likert survey was administered at the conclusion of the study. The results showed that implementing a reading strategy increased student comprehension of scientific text to a statistically significant margin. However, there was no statistical significance when comparing student comprehension rates between each reading strategy. The scores between Likert surveys did increase significantly, however there was not a significant difference in student self-confidence when reading using a reading strategy. According to student interviews, choice was the largest factor to impact student behavior towards reading. The implications of the action research project finds that reading can be integrated into the inquiry process to create a more student centered approach to teaching.