The text structure strategy to improve science knowledge and reading comprehension

The text structure strategy to improve science knowledge and reading comprehension

First Author: Andrea Beerwinkle -- Texas A&M University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Kausalai Wijekumar; Shuai Zhang
Keywords: Comprehension, reading strategies, Reading comprehension, Scientific literacy, science
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose
This purpose was to test the efficacy of text structure strategy (TSS) intervention in improving science knowledge and reading comprehension in the middle school science classroom. Questions addressed were 1) Where there pre-posttest improvements in science and reading comprehension scores for seventh-grade students using TSS for 10 weeks? 2) Did improvements differ based on gender, ethnicity, economic status, language proficiency? 3) Were there teacher effects on student learning outcomes?
Method
173 Grade 7 students were given the Gray Silent Reading Test, a researcher designed measure of text structure knowledge, and a measure of science knowledge adapted from a state standardized science achievement test at pretest and posttest. All teachers were given professional development on using TSS in the science classroom. Intervention was conducted for 10 weeks. During intervention period, I assisted teachers in planning for use of TSS, modeled lessons using TSS, and observed teachers using TSS.
Results
Signaling word knowledge, GSRT age-equivalent, GSRT grade-equivalent, science knowledge, and main idea quality improved significantly from pretest to posttest. Signaling word, GSRT age-equivalent, and GSRT grade-equivalent, and science knowledge pretests had significant effects on their respective posttests. Gender had a significant effect on science knowledge at posttest. Economic status had a significant effect on main idea quality at posttest. Classroom teacher did not significantly impact any measure.
Conclusions
A scientifically literate life starts with effective strategies for learning science and also requires strong reading comprehension skills because science knowledge is shared through written material. This study shows TSS as an effective intervention for improving science knowledge and reading comprehension thus helping students develop scientifically literate lives.