Learning Styles and Comprehension of Secondary Special Education Students Term Paper

Pages: 20 (5604 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … Multiple Instructional Strategies Used to Teach students to Each of Their Learning Styles Improve Their Reading Comprehension Levels Significantly More Than Students Who are Taught Using the Traditional Instructional Strategies?

It was proposed recently by Keer (2004) in the work: "Fostering Reading Comprehension in Fifth Grade by Explicit Instruction in Reading Strategies and Peer Tutoring" British Journal of Educational Psychology (2004) 74-37-70) proposes assessment and use in an approach as to teachers and learning styles differentiation in a down to earth manner while addressing the needs of teachers in their practice of incorporation through "informed decisions" as to areas/units possible for incorporation of learning styles.

A study in Belgium, "Fostering Reading Comprehension in Fifth grade by Explicit Instruction in Reading Strategies and Peer Tutoring" stated that through research it has been discovered that "explicit reading strategies instruction and engaging students in interaction about texts promote student's reading comprehension ability. The present intervention study combines both aspects." The aim of the study was the examination of benefits in education in relation to "explicit reading strategies instruction, followed by practice in (a) teacher-led whole-class activities (STRAT), reciprocal same-age (STRAT+SA), or - cross-age peer tutoring activities (STRAT + CA) on fifth graders' reading comprehension achievement." The sample used was twenty-two fifth graders and 454 students from 19 different schools in Belgium. The Method was a "quasi-experimental pretest post-test retention test design in three experimental (STRAT, STRAT, + SA and STRAT + CA) and a matched control group"

This is a primary school study on the proficiency of readers citing many of the fields' experts in relation to reading. The study states that "Metacognitive strategies are self-monitoring and self-regulating activities, focusing on the process and product of reading. They include readers' awareness of whether or not they comprehend what they read, their ability to judge the cognitive demands of a task, and their knowledge of when and how to employ a specific cognitive strategy as a function of text difficulty, situational constraints, and the reader's own cognitive abilities. (Baker & Brown, 1984; Dole 2000; Duffy et al., 1987; Ehlrilich, Kurtzcostes & Loridant, 1993; Gourgey, 2001, Lories, Dardenne & Yzerbyt 1998; Van Den Broek & Kremer, 2000; Van Kraayenoord & Schneider, 1999, Weisbert 1988)

The need for "explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies" is listed as crucial. Individual students respond on different levels to reading instruction. Studies show however, that even the students who do not comprehend as well as others still do better when provided with strategies and instruction for comprehending what they have read. A part of the instructions is the "why, when and where as well as how" to use these strategies in reading comprehension. The study also found that peer interaction is important to children in the process of learning to read as well as increasing the level of cognitive comprehension for the students. Stated in the study is that "Conversely, in order for children to become self-regulated readers and thinkers, they need to take an active role and to recognize and resolve their own discrepancies with texts (Almasi, 1996; Gourgey, 2001).

The study further related that since peer interaction is so important and so crucial and as well a very successful method in advancing reading skills in children that it would seem that many teachers would be utilizing this method - not so states the study. The study presents 'peer -- tutoring' as an effective aide in teaching reading comprehension skills and strategies. This study defines 'peer-tutoring' as being 'people from similar social groupings who are not professional teachers, helping each other to learn and learning themselves by teaching'. Peer tutoring is characterized by specific role taking: at any point someone has the job of tutor, while the other is in the role as tutee (Topping 1996). The study lists as materials needed to conduct the innovation in the classroom as being: " (a) an extensive general description of the background, aims, and the organization of the interventions (b) lesson scenarios describing the objectives, the necessary materials, the preferable instructional techniques, and the successive phases of each lesson, and - supplementary student materials, such as strategy assignments cards and reading texts."

In the work "Helping Older Struggling Readers" written by Terry Salinger, a chief scientist at the American Institute for Research in Washington, D.C. The focus is on comprehension, instruction, intervention techniques, and older struggling readers. Stating that "reading ability is central to students' learning, their success in school, and ultimately their success in life" that "individuals, whether child or adult, are seriously disadvantaged if they cannot read well." According to a report of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) there had been no overall change, according to reports on reading during the years 1992 to 2000. The NAEP determined basic level is not attained by at least forty percent of all students and is higher among children from minority or low-income homes. The good news, according to this writing is that in recent reports it has been stated that 'educators, now more than ever before have the understandings and tools to help children develop as readers in the critical early years in school." In relation to research-based reading instruction the National Reading Panel Report of 2000 claims that scientific research should be the basis for reading programs. The scientifically-based reading program address the major "components of reading acquisition as being phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and text comprehension" the study assigns the following definitions to each of these:

Phonemic awareness: understanding that what is heard represents a sequence of sounds.

Phonics: sounds in words can be broken down into smaller units.

Fluency: grouping of words into meaningful units and making the connections between.

Comprehension: extraction of meaning from what is read and making the connection between what is read and what is known.

Vocabulary: knowledge consisting of 'different types of knowing' in a process of knowing and refining as well as learning of new words.

In relation to 'older struggling readers' the report reveals that the problem may be the ability to see the connection in the five components. The correct instructional methods for these older students, according to this study is to "give them some more of the same."

This study also speaks of "focused language study" and how it can give students "insights into how words are constructed at the macro and micro level." Researchers have shown that children "look for meaningful clusters of letters as they decode words and also think in terms of clusters as they spell." (Treiman, 1992) "So it makes sense to teach older students to attend to units of sound that are larger than phonemes but smaller than words." The study further relates that there are important structures within words and sentences that are so 'subtle' that students may not understand or may miss but that the knowing of these important things is crucial in becoming a fluent reader. "Direct and implicit" instructions for reading are noted as integral and the use of aides such as dictionaries. Other instructional material and aides for reading instruction are stated to be: modeling, through vocabulary, how words can be formed with the basis of "root words," discussions in relation to word origin, semantic mapping, and guidance for using reference resources. The study states that: "students also need to learn the meaning of idioms, phrases, and colloquial expressions in addition to learning single words." Teachers should remind students to use the comprehension strategies they have learned while reading as well as involving the students participation in discussion after reading sessions to increase the capacity of the student in comprehension of reading.

The article "Read Aloud and Learn" in Literacy Today, June 2003, states that: "the three most common activities in traditional teaching fare poorly; by listening, children on average retain 5% of the information delivered; reading 10%; and audio-visual techniques 20%. By contrast, discussion 50%, practice by doing 75% and explaining to others 90%." These statistics should be of the utmost importance to teachers who are serious about their art in their practice of teaching as to its success. Also cited in this report is "peer-led interaction" stating that: "there is evidence that opportunities to participate in peer-led interaction on structured reading activities also make up an important part of reading instruction that aims at an actual increase in comprehension, high level cognition and the application of self-regulation strategies. (Almasi, 1996; Fuchs & Fuchs, 2000; Klingner, Vaughn & Schumm, 1998; Mathes & Fuchs, 1994, Rosenshine & Meister, 1994; Simmons, Fuchs, Fuchs, Mathes & Hodge, 1995).

Boosting reading skills is the focus in the article by Sharon Grimes entitled "The Search for Meaning: How you can boost kids' reading comprehension." A poor part of Baltimore, Maryland, Lansdowne has more than sixty percent of its enrolled students that are eligible for reduced lunches with thirty-four percent of the parents of students enrolled that never finished high school. In a report that was published the total number of parents in Lansdowne that read to their children… [END OF PREVIEW]

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