Improving the Reading Comprehension of Primary-School Students at Frustration-Level Reading through the Paraphrasing Strategy Training: A Multiple-Probe Design Study

By İlter, İlhan | International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, September 2017 | Go to article overview

Improving the Reading Comprehension of Primary-School Students at Frustration-Level Reading through the Paraphrasing Strategy Training: A Multiple-Probe Design Study


İlter, İlhan, International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education


Introduction

Reading comprehension includes the complex cognitive processes that need to be used in conjunction with reading activity to provide readers the opportunity to understand the meaning from a reading material. As texts in schools becomes an essential source of knowledge, reading comprehension becomes increasingly important when students graduate from one grade to another. Reading practices are traditionally based on teacher based lecture, reading the texts in textbooks and answering teacher-directed questions (Smagorinsky, 2001; Toste, Fuchs & Fuchs, 2013). However, students have to have effective reading skills that could provide them with the ability to access complex content presented in textbooks to be successful in general education classrooms. This is because today's youth is expected to have higher-level literacy skills than past generations to keep up with the demands of the business environment (Biancarosa & Snow, 2006).

Essential strategies for reading comprehension include predicting the content, analyzing the text structure, identifying the main idea, and constructing summarizations. Identifying the main idea and details of a text is an essential ability for successful reading comprehension and is generally considered a prerequisite for higher-level strategies (Watson, Gable, Gear & Hughes, 2012).

One of the more promising ways to improve metacognitive comprehension skills is cognitive strategy training with regard to reading. The idea behind this approach is that students can get the information about the content-area text materials when they are taught how and when to process it effectively. However, the strategic instruction model should focus on teaching students a set of specific strategies to actively gain knowledge and develop many work skills (Hagaman & Reid, 2008). The strategic instruction model is an approach that focuses on teaching reader how to learn, learn how to apply what he/she learns during reading, and how to overcome reading difficulties and comprehension problems (Deshler & Lenz, 1989; Schumaker, Deshler & Ellis, 1986). A training provided to learners about reading strategies can be an effective way of helping them understand more of what they are reading of using their cognitive strategies during reading and making them aware of difficulties associated with constructing new meanings. However, some factors may prevent this. First, research in the field of reading strategies in general education classrooms has lagged far behind those on essential reading comprehension skills (Pressley & McCormick, 1995; Williams, 2005). Second, it may be difficult to teach reading strategies that encourage independent performance from real-world events. Many effective teachers generally use strategy training in terms of how to use reading strategies effectively for their students in the classroom (Williams, 2002). Research has shown that teachers pay less attention to strategy training on reading in general education classrooms (Alfassi, 2004; Fordham, Wellman & Sandmann, 2002; Ulusoy & Dedeoğlu, 2011). For this reason, reading skills researchers have emphasized that teachers should continue to devote sufficient time to content learning and to adopting strategy training in their classes. In addition, they should develop practices based on a variety of experimental bases (Snyder & Pressley, 1995).

There is a clear need for effective reading strategies for understanding texts that can be easily used in general education classrooms. Studies that investigate the effects of teaching students to learn reading skills through the strategic instruction model have shown that such an awareness facilitates reading comprehension in students at different reading levels (Hagaman & Reid, 2008; Mastropieri, Scruggs & Graetz, 2003; Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). This is important because researchers have pointed out that reading is a cognitive process that actively requires students to make new meanings and conclusions in texts by activating their background knowledge (Pressley, 2002; Rasinski, 2012). …

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