Type of Document Dissertation Author Radcliffe, Barbara J. Author's Email Address firstname.lastname@example.org URN etd-03262010-095719 Title Reading VITALS (Visualizing, Interacting, and Talking while Applying Literacy Strategies) and Seventh-grade Studentsí Reading Comprehension Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Teacher Education, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Susan Nelson Wood Committee Chair Diana Rice Committee Member Kathleen Blake Yancey Committee Member Pamela Sissi Carroll Committee Member Stacey Rutledge Committee Member Judith L. Irvin University Representative Keywords
- Visual Literacy
- Middle Grades
- Reading Comprehension
- Literacy Instruction
- Reading Instruction
Date of Defense 2010-02-23 Availability unrestricted AbstractThis quasi-experimental, concurrent mixed methods study investigated whether less-proficient readers in seventh-grade language arts classes using the Reading VITALS supplemental curricular intervention exhibited improved reading comprehension. VITALS is an acronym for Visualizing, Interacting, and Thinking while Applying Literacy Strategies. VITALS used a balanced approach of explicit reading instruction and collaborative classroom discussions in which the teacher shifted to the role of facilitator and students became the constructors of knowledge. Participants included students of varying achievement levels, including a large percentage of minority students as well as those labeled economically disadvantaged. Tested in two seventh-grade language arts classes taught by the same teacher, the full intervention consisted of nine, forty-five minute lessons that introduced students to five levels of comprehension and stressed three key reading strategies: visualizing, questioning, and summarizing. The Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) protocol acted as a tool to engage students in discussions of scaffolded texts. Because VITALS had two major components, reading strategy instruction and class discussions of scaffolded texts, two additional intervention strands, focusing on only one of the components, were tested, as well as a Comparison group.
Ten of eleven quantitative outcome measures focused on differences in change scores for different reading measures across the intervention and comparison groups. The first four quantitative outcome measurements were classroom measures assessing studentsí reading of an image and studentsí reading of a poem for the entire sample of students and specifically, the less-proficient readers. This allowed for analyses of the overall effects of the interventions as well as disaggregated results focusing on the lower readers. The next six quantitative outcome measurements were Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) - Reading Sunshine State Standard (SSS) measures. Using the same strategy of overall effect of entire sample and then disaggregated effects for less-proficient readers, studentsí reading comprehension was assessed on three different FCAT Content Cluster measures: main idea and authorís purpose, comparisons and cause/effect, and reference and research. The last quantitative outcome measurement focused on differences in learning gains for less-proficient readersí on the FCAT SSS across intervention and comparison groups. An additional question, using the qualitative phenomenological approach, complemented the test of the VITALS intervention by exploring studentsí perspectives of participating in the intervention. Using a maximum variation sampling, six key informants were identified and their perspectives analyzed across data sources, especially student reflections and transcripts from the focus group interview.
Descriptive analyses, Repeated Measures MANCOVA, One-way ANOVA, post hoc analyses, and Chi Square tests revealed three important findings. First, the students participating in the full Reading VITALS curriculum evidenced significant growth (p < 0.05) on both classroom measures: reading an image and reading a poem when compared to students in the comparison group. Second, this significant difference on both classroom measures was true for less-proficient readers as well as proficient readers when compared to students of similar proficiency in the comparison group. Results suggested that Reading VITALS might be an effective curricular intervention in classrooms where less-proficient students are homogeneously grouped as well as in classrooms where students are heterogeneously grouped, as the proficient readersí performance was not negatively impacted by the intervention. Third, regardless of their proficiency level, students in the Reading VITALS curriculum did not perform significantly better on any of the FCAT Reading SSS measures. In terms of studentsí perceptions of the value of participating in the Reading VITALS curriculum, three findings emerged. The first was less-proficient students viewed learning as a process whereas proficient readers viewed learning as a product. A second finding that emerged was less-proficient readers situated learning in the social context whereas proficient readers situated learning in within the personal realm. A third finding was less-proficient readers were willing to take risks in responding throughout the lesson whereas proficient readers demonstrated a resistance acknowledging the fear of being incorrect.
Implications included the impact educational policy structures have on studentsí literacy identities, ability tracking, and remedial curricula; the need for curricular reform, which calls for paradigmatic shifts in focus from individuals to contexts and from deficit to enrichment; and the support necessary to make such philosophical and pedagogical shifts.
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