Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Improving Reading Comprehension Skills through the SCRATCH Program *

Academic journal article International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education

Improving Reading Comprehension Skills through the SCRATCH Program *

Article excerpt

Introduction

Technological and socio-economic developments have led to drastic changes in social structures. With technological developments in particular, individuals can communicate with each other in faster and more convenient ways, and learn about what is happening in daily life more quickly. Technology that appeared in every area of human life has also brought improvements and changes to the field of education, and in line with these changes, how technology can be used in education has been a current issue. In this regard, educational programs and instructional methods and techniques need to be developed and renewed in order for education to adapt to technological changes; in other words, technology should be integrated into education.

Elementary school in which individuals receive basic education is the first stage of formal education, in that it has prominent roles in instructional activities. Equipping students with language skills is the most important among these roles. Teaching reading and writing in particular is of significance for individuals to acquire and develop reading comprehension skills in the next grades. Reading and writing classes in elementary school have an important function in teaching students reading comprehension skills.

The reading comprehension process is about understanding the opinions or messages that the author wants to deliver intentionally (May, & Rizzardi, 2002). Reading comprehension skills are those that individuals can not only use in their academic life, but also their whole life. Besides, these are the skills that they can use in all courses, not only the course related to their mother tongue. Students' achievement in reading comprehension forms the base for their success in other courses (Bloom, 1995). Research has revealed that reading comprehension is directly related to the achievement in science (O'Reilly, & McNamara, 2007) and mathematics (Vilenius-Tuohimaa, Aunola, & Nurmi, 2008; Walker, Zhang, & Surber, 2008). In an attempt to teach reading comprehension skills that are regarded as having great importance, educators and teachers can use different strategies, methods, techniques and tools in reading comprehension activities.

Reading comprehension is among the basic skills that should be taught to children in the first years of elementary school. If they can acquire reading comprehension skills, they can be successful in both school courses and life. Acquiring reading comprehension skills seems to be even more important and functional especially in elementary school that is the first period of children's school years. Students use these skills in all their courses, and their academic life is directly affected by such skills.

In exams that are administrated at the international level such the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, (TIMMS) and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), there are questions included to measure reading comprehension skills. Moreover, the contents of the PIRLS exam consist of questions only related to reading comprehension. Additionally, in most of the exams that students are required to take throughout their academic life, it is aimed to determine whether they can use reading comprehension skills. In this respect, equipping students with these skills is of utmost importance.

According to the results of some studies, among the reasons why Turkish students get low scores in reading, mathematics and science sections of international exams (PISA, TIMMS and PIRLS) is that they are not competent in reading comprehension (Çavuşoğlu, 2010; Özçelik, 2011; Ulu, 2011; Uzun, 2010). Based on the first author's observations and experiences in his elementary school teaching process along with the feedback he received from his colleagues, it was asserted that a considerable proportion of elementary school students have negative attitudes and poor motivation towards, and they have serious problems in reading comprehension. …

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