Improving Middle and High School Students' Comprehension of Science Texts


Brandi E. JOHNSON, Karen M. ZABRUCKY


Abstract

Throughout the United States, many middle and high school students struggle to comprehend science texts for a variety of reasons. Science texts are frequently boring, focused on isolated facts, present too many new concepts at once, and lack the clarity and organization known to improve comprehension. Compounding the problem is that many adolescent readers do not possess effective comprehension strategies, particularly for difficult expository science texts. Some researchers have suggested changing the characteristics of science texts to better assist adolescent readers with understanding, while others have focused on changing the strategies of adolescent readers. In the current paper, we review the literature on selected strategy instruction programs used to improve science text comprehension in middle and high school students and suggest avenues for future research.


Keywords

Reading Comprehension, Comprehension of Science Texts

Paper Details

Paper Details
Topic Environmental Education
Pages 19 - 31
Issue IEJEE, Volume 4, Issue 1, Special Issue Reading Comprehension
Date of acceptance 01 October 2011
Read (times) 1277
Downloaded (times) 1600

Author(s) Details

Brandi E. JOHNSON

Georgia State University, United States


Karen M. ZABRUCKY

Georgia State University, United States, United States


References

Baker, L. (1985). How do we know when we don't understand? Standards for evaluating comprehension. In D. L. Forrest, G. E., MacKinnnon, & T. G. Waller (Eds.), Metacognition, cognition, and human performance (pp 155-205). New York: Academic Press.

Best, R. M., Flyod, R. G., & McNamara, D. (2008). Differential competencies contributing to children's comprehension of narrative and expository texts. Reading Psychology, 29, 137-164.

Best, R., Rowe, M., Ozuru, Y., & McNamara, D. (2005). Deep-level comprehension of science texts: the role of the reader and the text. Topics in Language Disorders, 25, 65-83.

Calhoon, M. (2005). Effects of peer-mediated phonological skill and reading comprehension program on reading skill acquisition for middle school students with reading disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38, 424-433.

Carnine, L., & Carnine, D. (2004). The interaction of reading skills and science content knowledge when teaching struggling secondary students. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 20, 203-218.

Caverly, D., Mandeville, T., & Nicholson, S. (1995). PLAN: A study-reading strategy for informational text. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 39, 190-199.

Chambliss, M. & Calfee, R. (1989). Designing science textbooks to enhance student understanding. Educational Psychologist, 24, 307-322.

Cook, L. & Mayer, R. (1988). Teaching readers about the structure of scientific text. Journal of Educational Psychology, 80, 448-456.

Fang, Z., & Wei, Y. (2010). Improving middle school students’ science literacy through reading infusion. The Journal of Educational Research, 103, 262-273.

Graesser, A., McNamara, D., & VanLehn, K. (2005). Scaffolding deep comprehension strategies through point & query, autotutor, and iSTART. Educational Psychologist, 40, 225-234.

Graesser, A., Jeon, M., Dufty, D. (2008). Agent technologies designed to facilitate interactive knowledge construction. Discourse Processes, 45, 298-322.

Kintsch, W., & van Dijk, T. A. (1978). Toward a model of text comprehension and production. Psychological Review, 85, 363-394.

Kroeger, S., Burton, C., & Preston, C. (2009). Integrating evidence-based practices in Middle science reading. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 41, 6-15.

Magliano, J., Todaro, S., Millis, K., Wiemer-Hastings, K., Kim, H., & McNamara, D. (2005). Changes in reading strategies as a function of reading training: a comparison of live and computerized training. Journal of Educational Computing Research, 32, 185-208.

McMaster, K., Fuchs, D., & Fuchs, L. (2006). Research on peer-assisted learning strategies: The promise and limitations of peer-mediated instruction. Reading & Writing Quarterly, 22, 5-25.

McNamara, D., O’Reilly, T., Best, R., & Ozuru, Y. (2006). Improving adolescent students’ reading comprehension with iSTART. Educational Computing Research, 31, 147-171.

National Center for Education Statistics. (2010, March 12) The Nation’s Report Card: The NAEP Reading Achievement Levels by Grade. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/reading/achieveall.asp

National Center for Education Statistics. (2002, June 19) The Nation’s Report Card: The NAEP Science Achievement Levels. Retrieved June 25, 2010, from http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/science/achieveall.asp

Radcliff, R., Caverly, D., Hand, J., & Franke, D. (2008). Improving reading in a middle school science classroom. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 51, 398-408.

Radcliff, R., Caverly, D., Peterson, C., & Emmons, M. (2004). Improving textbook reading in a middle school science classroom. Reading Improvement, 41, 145-156.

Rogevich, M., & Perin, D. (2008). Effects on science summarization of a reading comprehension intervention for adolescents with behavior and attention disorders. Exceptional Children, 74, 135-154.

Zimmerman, C., Gerson, S., Monroe, A., & Kearney, A. M. (2007). Physics is harder than psychology (or is it?): Developmental differences in calibration of domain-specific texts. In D. S. McNamara & J.G. Trafton (Eds.), Proceedings of the Twenty-ninth Annual Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1683 –1688). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society. http://www.cogsci.rpi.edu/ csjarchive/proceedings /2007/docs/p1683.pdf

Related Papers