Diving into the Research!

So far in my inquiry I have been gathering information about my learners reading habits. I have a bit of a hypothesis related to these learner profiles; that they are reading texts quickly and not monitoring their understanding of what they read.

This week I have turned to the literature to gather more insight into how to support my students to comprehend independently. I wanted to learn more about reading strategies and self regulation.

Metacognitive Reading Strategies Can Improve Self-Regulation. Susan Nash-Ditzel (2014)

This case study followed college students (with average results in a foundation programme) who participated in a reading course aimed to support self-regulation. They learnt strategies such as considering prior knowledge/ background information about the text, questioning, identifying main ideas and inferencing. They were taught to monitor their own reading over the course of a year.

I quite liked reading the literature review in this article, as it discussed previous studies on the topic. However, what really spoke to me was the students responses to the researcher.  One of them said: "Well, I understand [the text], and I think I’m becoming a better reader because I take my time when I read, instead of just like breezing through it. I take my time to try to understand word for word what’s going on."

This is my students! I know from their independent work in lockdown (and watching their cursors move in their google docs) that they rush through texts and pick out the main ideas. This is exactly what the problem was for these students! Due to this, they also often misunderstood aspects of the text and could try to fill in the blanks with prior knowledge - another trait of my learners. This reading definitely encourages me to delve deeper into self-regulation and reading.

Using self-regulation as a framework for implementing strategy instruction to foster reading comprehension.  Elmar Souvignier and Judith Mokhlesgerami, 2006.

This study compared three different instructional reading strategies across 20 classes (594) 11 year old students. It went into depth exploring the problem and the authors reached a similar point to where I am at now - students "simply do not realize when they do not understand and they do not use effective monitoring strategies. Additionally, if they detect an inconsistency, they lack appropriate strategies to remedy the problem". This is precisely what I am finding.

In the study, the students were first introduced to the notion of self regulation (in the context of goal setting and monitoring).  They were then introduced to reading strategies. These included activating prior knowledge, reading slowly and accurately, questioning and clarifying. They also learnt to check for their understanding to see if they could summarise what they just read.  In one programme students were simply taught these strategies, while in the second they also received sessions in self regulation. In this (second) programme the students were asked about their strategy selection and were given time to reflect on their reading. Both programmes saw improvement in reading comprehension, but the students who also received self regulation sessions performed better .

This study definitely supported the results of the previous one as well; self-regulation supports students who fail to recognise when they misinterpret a text.

Improvements of self-regulation procedures for fifth graders' reading competence: Analyzing effects on reading comprehension, reading strategy performance, and motivation for reading.
Nadine Sp├Ârera and Nina Sch├╝nemannb, 2014

In this study, reciprocal teaching was combined with certain self-regulation procedures to promote the reading comprehension of 534 11 year olds. The literature review of this article further emphasised the idea of combing self-regulation with reading strategies, as with the previous study. It discussed the fact that students must be able to select the best strategy and monitor their understanding of a text.
The study itself was very similar to the last - different programmes were run with one group simply following reciprocal teaching while others got varying levels of support in terms of self-regulating their learning. Once again, a mixture of strategy and self-regulation lessons (specifically monitoring the use of reading strategies) supported effective reading.

This was a particularly interesting reading for me as I do use reciprocal reading - usually as a term-long intervention. However, in my reflections of my practice and student achievement, I realised that I am not promoting clarifying and questioning very much. This is relevant as these two skills are linked to self-regulation. I also read some of the studies that this one referenced in regards to RT, which regarded it highly as a reading programme or intervention.

What does this mean for my inquiry?
This research has really illustrated the importance of discussing self-regulation and the use of reading strategies with students. When I reflect back on my practice I realise I do not discuss the use of strategies explicitly with my students, except for the one we are focussing on for our learning intention. I also noticed some of the classic RT reading strategies popping up throughout the research - clarifying, questioning and summarising where mentioned several times. These are strategies I need to focus on in the future.


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