Title

Transforming Literacy Learning: Action Research through the Lens of Three Reading Specialists

First Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus

Second Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus Reading Specialist M.Ed. graduate

Third Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus Reading Specialist M.Ed. graduate

Fourth Presenter's Institution

Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus Reading Specialist M.Ed. graduate

Fifth Presenter's Institution

NA

Location

Ballroom D

Strand #1

Academic Achievement & School Leadership

Strand #2

Family & Community

Relevance

Three teachers completing their Reading Specialist M.Ed. degree developed an action research plan centered around literacy instruction throughout the course of the semester. Students analyzed the validity, reliability, and personal bias inherent in their action research study; developed a literature review on a research topic; implemented a plan for conducting action research; and applied evaluation criteria to their own project.

Presenters will explain insights that they have gained from the action research process that will influence their pedagogy and instructional practices moving forward. The first portion of the presentation highlights increasing the reading proficiency of students with autism spectrum disorder in regards to accuracy, comprehension, and fluency when reading informational texts. These goals were based on schema theory, and pursued by first developing necessary background knowledge and vocabulary through related fictional stories. The second action research study examines how confidence and accountability are key components to promoting independence in student reading growth. This study identified how to cultivate student independence in their literacy growth. The research is dependent on comprehension strategies, using assessment reading sheets, student journals and reading logs, student interviews, and independent book selection. The third section of the presentation centers on motivational strategies through a book club setting to increase social interaction between high school students. In addition, the study promotes self-efficacy and self-esteem.

Brief Program Description

The presentation will highlight literacy-based action research projects by three Reading Specialist M.Ed. graduate students. The topics of using fictional texts to increase the accuracy, comprehension, and fluency of students with autism spectrum disorder when reading informational passages; infusion of dialogue and motivational strategies to promote self-efficacy and reading success; and strategies to cultivate student independence in reading growth were explored. Tools for attendees to implement the process of action research in their own classroom will be outlined.

Summary

The presentation will begin with a discussion of the nature of action research. Participants will identify goals and rationale for action research and discuss the potential impact of action research on their teaching practice. In addition, development of an action research plan (area of focus statement, variables, research questions, intervention/ innovation, timeline, data collection ideas) will be facilitated.

The presentation will proceed to three vignettes that showcase action research in practice by three Reading Specialist M.Ed. graduate students.

1. Struggling readers often find informational texts increasingly difficult to decode and comprehend. Many of these same students often lack sufficient background knowledge about fundamental concepts and vocabulary found within these texts. Conversely, many students enjoy reading fictional texts whose contents and story structures are engaging and predictable. Carefully selected stories may also contain similar vocabulary and even factual information, which when learned, can transcend to improvements when reading related informational texts. Therefore, carefully selected fictional texts are valuable tools for developing necessary schemata for informational reading.

2. Confidence and accountability are key components to promoting independence in student reading growth. This study identified how to cultivate student independence in their reading growth. The research is dependent on comprehension strategies, using assessment reading sheets, student journals and reading logs, student interviews, and independent book selection.

3. Motivation is a powerful tool that is often overlooked. This study focused on the effect of implementing activities that revolves around peer-interaction and student self-efficacy to promote reading achievement. In a short presentation, the interventions used in this study will be shared with educators in hopes of propelling the teaching of motivational strategies. Viewers will be asked to participate in a pre and post questionnaire and reflective journal opportunity before and following the session. They will also be involved in an ongoing discussion throughout the session just as the participants in the study experienced.

Evidence

Action research is based on a process that involves the following process (Mills, 2018)-

1. Write an area-of- focus statement.

2. Define the variables.

3. Develop research questions.

4. Describe the intervention or innovation.

5. Describe the membership of the action research group.

6. Describe negotiations that need to be undertaken.

7. Develop a timeline.

8. Develop a statement of resources.

9. Develop data collection ideas.

The proposal is informed by research that showcases the following: (1) The results of the students’ informational running records demonstrated increased word accuracy and comprehension after reading a series of fictional texts. In regards to fluency, intonation and phrasing showed significant improvements as well; however, as these factors improved, it is notable that oral reading fluency rates slightly declined. (2) Building confidence in emergent readers is important to cultivating student motivations to independently read. Conducting interviews and using student journals provide opportunity for positive constructive feedback. The use of reading logs as a daily accountability measure ensures students are held accountable for their reading growth. (3) Student-led discussion of literature shows evidence of a deeper understanding of the text through justifying question and citing evident. Students read more independently to be prepared for this type of peer-interaction. Through the written cues recorded in their journals, students were motivated to analyze the text at a deeper level.

Selected References-

Marsh, E., Butler, A., & Umanath, S. (2012). Using Fictional Sources in the Classroom: Applications from Cognitive Psychology. Educational Psychology Review, 24(3), 449-469. doi:10.1007/s10648-012-9204-0

Nguyen, N. N., Leytham, P., Schaefer Whitby, P., & Gelfer, J. I. (2015). Reading Comprehension and Autism in the Primary General Education Classroom. Reading Teacher, 69(1), 71-76.

Soalt, J. (2005). Bringing Together Fictional and Informational Texts to Improve Comprehension. Reading Teacher, 58(7), 680-683.

Gambrell, Linda (2011). Seven rules of engagement: What’s most important to know about motivation to read. The Reading Teacher. 65 (3) 172-178. DOI:10.1003/TRTR.01024.

Hudson, A. K., & Williams, J. A. (2015). Reading every single day: A journey to authentic reading. The Reading Teacher, 68(7), 530-538.DOI:10.1002/trtn1349.

Mucherah, W., & Yoder, A. (2008). Motivation for reading and middle school students’performance on standardized testing in reading. Reading Psychology. 29, 214-235.

McTigue, E., Douglass, A., Wright, K.L., Hodges, T.S., & Franks, A.D. (July/ August 2015). Beyond the Story Map: Inferential Comprehension via Character Perspective. Reading Teacher, p. 91-101.

Mills, G. E. (2018). Action research: A guide for the teacher researcher(Fifth ed.). NY, NY: Pearson.

Townsend, D., & Kiernan, D. (2015). Selecting Academic Vocabulary Words Worth Learning. The Reading Teacher,69(1), 113-118. doi:10.1002/trtr.1374

Format

Individual Presentation

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Anne Katz is an Associate Professor of Reading in the College of Education at Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus in Savannah, Georgia. She is involved in literacy research and community outreach projects in local schools. Dr. Katz was selected as a Governor’s Teaching Fellow by The University of Georgia Institute of Higher Education in 2015, and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Children’s Literature and Reading Special Interest Group of the International Literacy Association. She enjoys mentoring graduate students.

Mitchell Sexton obtained his Bachelor of Science in Middle Grades Education from the College of Coastal Georgia in Spring of 2013. He subsequently obtained his Master of Education in Reading Specialist Education from Georgia Southern University. After obtaining his Bachelor’s degree, he worked in an alternative school setting as both a paraprofessional and social studies teacher to students with emotional behavioral disorders in grades four to eight. He has spent the last three years as a 6th grade English language arts teacher.

Penny Griffin obtained her Bachelor of Science in Primary Education from Armstrong State University in 2014. She attended Georgia Southern University to complete her Master of Education in Reading Specialist Education. Penny has taught Elementary Education in Savannah, Georgia and currently teaches in Gwinnett County Public Schools.

Krissy Hamilton obtained her Bachelor of Science in Middle School Education from the College of Coastal Georgia in Spring of 2011. She continued her education at Georgia Southern University and completed her Master of Education in Reading Specialist Education. She began her career as a reading coach for middle school students. Krissy has taught in public education institutions in the state of Georgia ranging from grades 6-8. She has spent the last three years as a 7th grade English language arts teacher.

Keyword Descriptors

action research, teacher research, graduate students, literacy, informational text, narrative text, vocabulary, technology, comprehension, motivation

Presentation Year

2019

Start Date

3-6-2019 11:15 AM

End Date

3-6-2019 12:30 PM

This document is currently not available here.

Share

COinS
 
Mar 6th, 11:15 AM Mar 6th, 12:30 PM

Transforming Literacy Learning: Action Research through the Lens of Three Reading Specialists

Ballroom D

The presentation will highlight literacy-based action research projects by three Reading Specialist M.Ed. graduate students. The topics of using fictional texts to increase the accuracy, comprehension, and fluency of students with autism spectrum disorder when reading informational passages; infusion of dialogue and motivational strategies to promote self-efficacy and reading success; and strategies to cultivate student independence in reading growth were explored. Tools for attendees to implement the process of action research in their own classroom will be outlined.