Increasing Reading Comprehension

Whitney Austin

Student Demographics and School RTI Overview

Jessie is in 4th grade and he lives with his mom and two older sisters not far from school. Jessie loves to play with his neighbors and ride bikes. He also enjoys the outdoors and playing sports, his favorite is baseball. Jessie seems to enjoy school and talking to his classmates, but he can be shy when participating in school lessons. He never gets into trouble and doesn’t argue with anyone. He likes to do group work in class and he is always participating but when the teacher wants to call on someone he never raises his hands. Jessie loves to listen to the teacher read to the class. Sometimes his teacher plays books on a cd for the students to listen. Jessie likes to be read to but doesn’t enjoy reading independently. He also has shown that he struggles comprehending information in his science and social studies textbooks. When questions are asked about a reading from those textbooks he can’t answer or write them down. He doesn’t have much confidence while reading in the textbooks. This has somewhat affected his grades in those subjects.

It is the middle of Jessie’s 4th grade year and he still needs some work with his comprehending and reading independently. He has been tested with his comprehension and he is at a lower percentile, which needs to be bumped up by the end of the year. He should be at a 50 percentile at the end of 4th grade.

Academic Behavior Measured and Baseline Data and Goal

The MAZE Comprehension tests were used to measure Jessie’s overall reading ability. At the end of last spring semester Jessie tried the R-CBM tests which didn’t help find an accurate measure of his comprehension reading skills. Jessie is struggling with his comprehension skills while reading his science and social studies textbooks. His comprehension is affecting his grades in those subjects. That’s why the Reading MAZE should give us more of an accurate testing on his comprehension to see where he needs help. The MAZE passage is a narrative text where a word is removed in the sentence and replaced with three word choices. The student will choose out of three words, which sounds appropriate for the story to make sense. They will circle the correct word. The student has 3 minutes to get as far as they can on the probe. This probe will be administered in a separate room without distractions. I will set the timer for Jessie to begin the probe. Jessie will be told to put his pencil down after 3 minutes has elapsed.

Phases of Project/ Intervention

Within the 14 weeks Jessie will be given a Reading MAZE on Tuesdays. The intervention we are going to use is called Read Naturally. After the baseline data was collected then we will begin the Read Naturally intervention. During the first five weeks he was either improving a little each week or staying at the same Responses Correct with 3rd grade passages. By the seventh week he went down for the first time. He was getting frustrated that he was not improving quicker. I added a new intervention once I noticed the 4-point rule. The 4-point rule says that if four consecutive points on the graph fall below the goal line then a new intervention must take place. Six points should be plotted before switching to a new intervention. Once I noticed Jessie was staying consistent and dropped down I thought it would be good to try a new intervention. The 9th week he started the Quick Read strategy.

Interventions and Materials

When we started our first intervention with Jessie he was using the Read Naturally strategy. Read Naturally is a combination of research proven strategies: teacher modeling, repeated reading, and progress monitoring. This is intervention helps improve reading proficiency, comprehension, phonics, phonemic awareness, and vocabulary. The teacher modeling is when the student will read along while listening carefully to a paced recording of a reader that is fluent and they keep doing this until they can read at a predetermined rate. For repeated reading the student will read a high-interest nonfiction stories until able to read with expression accurately. The progress monitoring is the students reading progress through graphs to show the students comprehension and fluency performance on each story.

After I started noticing that he was not improving as much I thought, it would be good to add another intervention for Jessie. I added the QuickReads strategy, which is a series of program books that are high-interest nonfiction texts at the 2nd-4th grade levels. This strategy is designed to help improve the student’s background knowledge, comprehension, and fluency. The materials included in this program are a pre and posttest, teacher’s resource manual, twelve copies of the three leveled student books for each grade level, and three audio read-along CD’s for each grade level. I like how there is three books with different reading levels you can choose from for each grade. The different levels of books were a great use because I first started off Jessie with a higher-level 3rd grade book. After he started improving I switched him to a beginning 4th grade level book.I still wanted him to practice on his phonemic awareness so that is why I kept the other intervention but had him use more of the QuickReads strategy. After Jessie kept improving every week he was very happy with his success.

I found on What Works Clearinghouse website research on the Read Naturally strategy and if it was successful. The research says Read Naturally had positive effects on reading achievement and little effects on reading fluency. There were no effects on comprehension and alphabetics for the beginning reader. They researched this strategy on students between 2nd-4th grade in small groups and individually. On the Pearson QuickReads website it says that students that use this strategy improved with their comprehension, reading fluency, and vocabulary. During this research the students were using QuickReads with different materials: technology and print.