Improving Reading Comprehension Skills in Elementary Students Term Paper

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Improving Reading Comprehension

Education is a very important aspect of one's life. To this lies the future growth and success of everybody. However, there are various challenges to successful education.

One big challenge is the capability of the educators or educational policy makers to motivate the students to learn. To facilitate learning, it is not enough that the teachers know how to teach the subjects. It is also very important that the teachers know how to keep and maintain the power of enhancing the students' ability and skills through motivation (Bruner, 1996). If the teachers do not possess such skills, students' successful education could be at stake.

Another challenge in the conduct of successful learning is the proper or improper use instructional designs and materials. Improper use of instructional designs may lead to problems pertaining to the students' cultural and cross cultural diversity, language barrier, unavailability of resources (such as financial sources) and lower level of interest towards the subject matter. Meanwhile, the use of different visual aids, and/or other form instructional materials also greatly affects the students' learning. If an educational institution could not provide appropriate teaching materials and equipments, and a place conducive to learning, facilitation of education will never be successful (Bruner, 1996).

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In connection with all of these, there have been recent studies conducted which reveal that reading and comprehension is becoming a challenging tasks for the teachers. Students who are in the primary years of school are already being taught for proper reading and comprehension, especially during the levels 1 and two. However, there are reports that show that there are increasing number of students who have gone to higher levels but are still not fully equipped with the right reading and comprehension perspectives.

Purpose of the study

This paper is aimed at analyzing the best possible practices to improve the reading and comprehension of students particularly the elementary students. Specifically, this paper is intended for:

TOPIC: Term Paper on Improving Reading Comprehension Skills in Elementary Students Assignment

Identifying the characteristics of elementary students

Categorizing the different approach being used to elementary students concerning reading and comprehension

Hypothesis

This paper hypothesized that the having more teachers play a very important role in enhancing the reading comprehension skills of the elementary students. They are the ones who can plan for more vocabulary lessons and reading activities for the students. They are the ones who can strategize in making use of some instructional designs to motivate the student to read more. Hence, enhancing the elementary students' reading and comprehension skills lies on the teacher's day - day lesson plan.

Significance of the Study

The results of this study will provide ample information to the teachers and educational policy makers regarding the effective facilitation of education. This will make them reevaluate the current scenario in their respective schools and see if they are still providing efficient and effective learning undertaking to the students.

This paper will also prove beneficial to all other aspiring teachers. With the information presented in this study, aspiring teachers will be enlightened as to the proper ways of handling and/or managing the elementary students. They will be given enough idea on which effective ways to use on various classroom situations. They will acquire valuable techniques on how to maintain the best possible educational outcome for the students, most especially regarding the students' reading and comprehension skills.

Lastly, this research study will surely be beneficial to other interested researchers. If the topic will be on educational outcomes and/or educational system, this paper is a good starting point or basis to conducting their own research undertaking.

Methodology

This study uses the reviews and analyzes the current studies conducted pertaining to handling the elementary students. More so, this uses published books credible journals, articles and reports that talks about reading and comprehension skills of the students. These resources are hoped to provide ample background information regarding the proven methods of increasing the reading and comprehension skills of the students.

More so, this research has subjected 12 students from the fourth level. Seven girls and five boys with a mixed range of abilities are subjected to a series of surveys and interviews that is aimed at analyzing their typical perspective of the students at their age. By having an in-depth appreciation of the students' perspective, this paper will be able identify the strategic approaches to handling the elementary students.

Research and Plan Solution Strategy

The Teachers

Teachers are fundamental to any student success. A series of studies have confirmed that good teachers, effective teachers, matter much more than particular curriculum materials, pedagogical approaches, or "proven programs" (Allington, 2002). The National Commission of Teaching and American's Future (1996) states, what teachers know and do is the most important influence on what students learn. Furthermore, studies show that teacher expertise is the most important factor in student achievement. At a time when all students must meet higher standards for learning, access to good teaching is a necessity, not a privilege to be left to chance. And competent teaching depends on educators who deeply understand subject matter and how to teach in ways that motivate children and help them learn.

A student that has an effective teacher three years in a row scores at 50 percentile points higher on achievement test than a student who does not have an effective teacher over the same time span (Darling-Hammond, 1997).

Good teachers will seek ways to teach and motivate students to read. Good teachers also understand that they do not know it all and will continue to learn through professional development. Professional development is a catalyst that begins the process to the improvement of student achievement. Effective professional development will not just give teachers tips on how to teach, but give them an understanding about the subject matter, understanding how students learn, and how best to present the body of knowledge. As professionals, teachers should recognize that their learning about teaching does not stop when they are credentialed. Rather, they look forward to continue learning throughout their teaching career and to be able to improve their practice extensively with appropriate professional development learning opportunities. They recognize that they practice in circumstances that are different each year, that much of their knowledge is embedded in their practice rather than in codified bodies of knowledge, and that their extensive, complex knowledge or lack of, particularly with respect to their understanding of how learners learn, profoundly influences how they teach (Loucks-Horsely, Hewson, Love, and Stiles). Effective professional development will also help teachers with the everyday practice of teaching. Many times teachers do not have time to think about their craft (National Foundation for the Improvement of Education, 1996) and the everyday activities that connect instruction to learning for a diverse population of students. In addition, it is suggested that when professional development is focused on academic content and curriculum that is aligned with standards-based reform, teaching practice and student achievement are likely to improve (Wiley and Yoon, 1995). In order to accomplish this, a variety of trainings cannot be posted for teachers to robotically choose for points or to meet their desires. Effective professional development has to focus on the content and curriculum aligned to the standards with an emphasis on effective teaching practices. To be successful, three elements must be present (Adger & Clair 1999; Darling-Hammond, 1997; Gonzalez & Darling-Hammond, 1997).:

Policies must support coherent and integrated professional development;

Leadership must make student, teacher, and organizational learning a priority;

There must be sufficient time and resource for promising professional development to take hold

Teachers have to have time to collaborate and learn together to improve their instructional practices. Ending with Locuks-Horsely (1998), "Although professional development is not a panacea, it can support changes in such areas as standards, assessment, and curriculum, creating the culture and capacity for continuous improvement that is so critical for educators facing current and future challenges" (pg. 4).

Additional Time

Students that struggle in reading need more reading instructional time to have any opportunity to become proficient in the reading process. Less than half the day is spent reading. Students are engaged in a variety of activities, but much of that time is not spent on reading instruction (Allington, 2002). Elementary students need at least 90 minutes of reading instruction and students that struggle in reading need an additional 25-30 minutes of reading instruction added (Vaughn, Linan-Thompson, Wanzek, Rodriguez, Cavanaugh, Sanderson, Roberts, Elbaum, Torgesen, 2004).

Students need time for activities that allow them to hear an effective reading model, to read together, and to read independently. For a classroom teacher to effectively teach the five areas of reading to primary aged students she would need 90 minutes of daily reading instruction. As stated above, for struggling students they need even more time. Many schools struggle to find additional time during the regular school day; however, there are other options that should be considered to afford those students more time.

Addition time can be provided by after school programs, summer school program, and extended school year (U.S. Department of Education). The success of using… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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