Date of Graduation

2013

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

Department/Program

Learning and Instruction

First Advisor

Robert Burns

Second Advisor

Yvonne Bui

Third Advisor

Noah Borrero

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of explicit direct instruction and cooperative learning on reading comprehension in fourth grade students. A quasi-experimental design was used. There were six cognitive and three affective measures used to collect quantitative data. Cognitive measures included California State Test scores, Accelerated Reader test scores, STAR Reading Test scores, Selection Test scores for MacMillan CA Treasures Series, Metacognitive Strategy Index (MSI), and district benchmark assessments. Affective measures included the Motivation to Read Profile (MRP) for both Self-Concept and Value of Reading and an overall enjoyment survey.

This study took place at two elementary schools in the suburban San Francisco Bay Area during a six-week period of instruction. Two fourth grade classes from each school site participated in the study. There were 105 participants. One group, which received explicit direct instruction and cooperative learning, consisted of 48 students. The second group, which received explicit direct instruction and independent seat work, consisted of 57 students. The students were taught the reading strategies of generating questions, making connections, summarizing, vocabulary building, and visualizing through explicit direct instruction. These strategies were practiced either independently or in cooperative learning groups.

The data showed that students who performed better on the CST, which was used as a covariate, performed better on reading comprehension assessments in cooperative learning environments than students who scored lower on the CST. Students who scored lower on the covariate performed better with explicit direct instruction and independent practice work. Students in the cooperative learning group who scored higher on the covariate also reported a higher usage of reading comprehension strategies. Also, students in the independent work group who scored lower on the covariate reported more enjoyment for explicit direct instruction with independent work activities than higher scoring students. It can be concluded that lower performing readers benefit from explicit direct instruction with independent practice of reading comprehension strategies and higher performing readers benefit from explicit direct instruction with cooperative learning groups to practice reading comprehension strategies.

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