Academic journal article Reading Improvement

Informational Text Comprehension: Its Challenges and How Collaborative Strategic Reading Can Help

Academic journal article Reading Improvement

Informational Text Comprehension: Its Challenges and How Collaborative Strategic Reading Can Help

Article excerpt

With the increased emphasis on informational text with Common Core State Standards and the difficulty many students have with this type of text, this study examined the effects of Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) on informational text comprehension and metacognitive awareness of fifth grade students. Participating students included a heterogeneous mix of regular education students, gifted education students, students with disabilities, and English learners (ELs). A quasi-experimental pretest-posttest nonequivalent control group design was used to study the effects of CSR on informational text comprehension using the Qualitative Reading Inventory-5 (QRI-5) and Georgia's Criterion-Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). Metacognitive awareness was measured using the Metacognitive Awareness of Reading Strategies Inventory (MARSI). Data was analyzed using multivariate analysis of covariance (MANCOVA) and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). The MANCOVA analysis found a statistically significant difference in informational text comprehension on the QRI-5 between the experimental and control groups with the experimental group outperforming the control group, while controlling for student reading level and student subgroup; however, there was no statistically significant difference on the CRCT or on CRCT reading domains. The MANOVA analysis found no significant difference between the experimental and control groups on the MARSI and MARSI subscales.

Keywords: Collaborative Strategic Reading, reading comprehension, informational text, metacognition, self-regulation, self-efficacy, elementary students


The advent of Common Core State Standards ushered in an increased emphasis on nonfiction text for the majority of the United States. Forty-six states and four U.S. territories are currently implementing Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012a). Following the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress Reading Framework, the standards balance literary and informational text instruction with a gradual shift from 50% informational text in fourth grade to 70% informational text in 12th grade (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012a). This has resulted in a greater emphasis on content area literacy in the upper elementary grades (Moss, 2005), and the requirement of all content area teachers to share the responsibility of literacy instruction (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2012c).

The Importance of Informational Text

This increased emphasis of informational text comprehension has resulted in schools across our country striving to increase students' exposure to these texts (Driskill, 2012). Beyond the requirement of the Common Core State Standards, research shows the importance of increasing time students spend with informational text (Caswell & Duke, 1998; Duke, 2004). Informational text teaches about our natural and social world, and its comprehension is necessary for success in school as well as the workplace (Duke, 2004). With technological advancements, informational text literacy includes the digital world in which students must access, evaluate, and synthesize informational on the Internet (Benson, 2002; Schmar-Dobler, 2003). Additionally, 90% of the text adults encounter is informational making its comprehension essential (Smith, 2000). Many students prefer informational text and are more motivated to read this type of text (Caswell & Duke, 1998; Ivey & Broaddus, 2001; Worthy, Moorman, & Turner, 1999). Self-selection of nonfiction texts can improve students' motivation to read (Moss & Hendershot, 2002). The search for answers to questions about our world through informational text motivates students (Guthrie, 1996; Palmer & Stewart, 2005; Yopp & Yopp, 2000). Informational texts "capitalize on students' interests and whet their appetite for more information" (Yopp & Yopp, 2000, P-412). …

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