Examining the predictive relationship between dialogic classroom talk and reading comprehension

Examining the predictive relationship between dialogic classroom talk and reading comprehension

First Author: Shireen Al-Adeimi -- Michigan State University
Keywords: Reading comprehension, Discussion
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: This paper examines the predictive relationship between dialogic talk and reading comprehension in classrooms participating in a discussion based curriculum (Snow, Lawrence, & White, 2009). The following questions were investigated:
* Do classrooms characterized by high teacher- and student dialogic talk positively predict students’ post-discussion reading comprehension scores?
* Do classrooms characterized by overall low dialogic talk negatively predict students’ post-discussion reading comprehension scores?

Method: Data from 22 fourth through seventh grade classrooms (289 students) were coded for teacher- and student-discussion moves during whole-class discussion using the Low-Inference Discourse Observation Tool (LaRusso & O’Connor, 2014). Teacher and student talk moves were then grouped into those that are more or less indicative of dialogic talk. Students’ post discussion reading comprehension (as indicated by their performance on the GISA) was the outcome of interest, while their pre-discussion GISA scores served as a control along with gender, socioeconomic status, race, English learner status, and special education status. A multilevel model with a random slope for participation rate by topic was fitted.

Results: Classrooms characterized by high student dialogic talk were found to positively predict post-discussion comprehension scores, when accounting for other indicators of teacher and student discussion, participation, pre-discussion reading comprehension scores, and student demographic variables (β=3.52,p<.05). Other discussion predictors were not statistically significantly predictive of reading comprehension.

Conclusions: With the increased emphasis of discussion across subject areas (National Governors Association, 2010), it is important to unpack the predictive relationships among dialogic talk moves and student outcomes such as reading comprehension.