The instructional setting includes 28 second grade students in a rapidly growing suburban Elementary school in Utah. The school has more than doubled its population in the last three years. The population of this school is over 950 K-6 students with over 4% being ethnically diverse. The largest ethnic group of students at the Elementary is White. This is followed by Hispanic (1.5 %), Black (0.6 %), Mixed Students of two or more ethnicities (0.4 %) and Asian (0.2 %) (2011). Approximately 5% of students come from families that are economically disadvantaged. Class sizes range from 24 to 32.
Four students are classified as special education students. Three of the students receive speech therapy. One student is classified as TBI, Traumatic Brain Injury. Tier 1 Response to Intervention is being implemented for at risk students. Data is being gathered for two other students who have been identified as at risk for behavior. The at risk students are the target group of this research and Instructional Design unit.
The area of focus is reading comprehension strategies for non-fiction text. These students are below grade level for reading comprehension. The students are not using strategies while reading, especially while reading non-fiction text. On a comprehension test 68% of the class did not score above grade level. These students are not able to transfer knowledge and information from the text to real life situations, such as discussions about the text or answering questions about what they have read.
Prior Knowledge of Topic
Seventy percent of students scored below grade level in the non-fiction subtest on end of level tests from the previous year. When reading non-fiction books or passages the text structure is different and an understanding of this structure is necessary in order to comprehend what is read and to find answers easily in the text. These students are not familiar with non-fiction text structure and cannot find information in the text and use that information to answer questions or have discussions about the text. Students must be able to identify the topic, main ideas and details in non-fiction text. Students need to have knowledge of captions and headings that give them information about the text. Diagrams are common in non-fiction text and students must be able to identify information in them and how it relates and contributes to knowledge about the topic.
The students have had some instruction in non-fiction writing which helped them to understand the prerequisite skills necessary for reading non-fiction text. In the writing process students were given a topic and then came up with their own main ideas and details to write about. Students were explicitly taught how to identify the topic in non-fiction text and how to determine the main idea of each paragraph. Students were also taught how to use diagrams to get more information about the topic as well as how to use captions from the pictures....