Reading and Language Arts

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Now showing 1 - 12 of 12
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    (2023-11-18) Zeng, Yong; Christ, Tanya;
    This dissertation delves into the pedagogical implications of handheld/mobile game features on EFL learners' vocabulary learning outcomes. The research is segmented into two comprehensive studies. The first study, a systematic review spanning from 2011 to July 2022, scrutinizes empirical research detailing the correlation between various game features and vocabulary learning outcomes. Key findings highlight the effectiveness of Holograms, Customized Word Lists, Gamified Assessments, and In- game Hints in fostering enhanced vocabulary learning. In the subsequent study, the emphasis shifts to the practical application, where the impact of 'competition' as a game feature is critically assessed. Executed with 331 freshman students in China over four weeks, participants engaged with two variants of the game, 'Vocarena', designed to elucidate the meanings of a hundred unfamiliar English words. Crucially, one version incorporated a competitive element, spurring participants to vie against one another, while the counterpart lacked this feature. Quantitative analysis revealed three pivotal results: the competition feature augmented participants' game-playing duration, bolstered English vocabulary learning outcomes. Collectively, these findings underscore the potential of game-specific features in optimizing EFL vocabulary learning, offering valuable insights for future research, educational game development, and innovative teaching methodologies.
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    Humanizing Literacy Coaching
    (2023-11-15) Caylor, Emily; Thompson McMillon, Gwendolyn;
    The Humanity of Literacy Coaching Literacy coaching has the potential to center humanizing professional learning pedagogies–promoting equity, disrupting oppression, and recognizing the complex humanity of teachers. This potential can be realized through the use of deep reflection to support teachers’ awareness of what guides their behavior and further strengthened by complex supportive relationships with literacy coaches. These humanizing coaching practices not only re-humanize teachers but can influence changes to literacy instruction. Yet, humanizing approaches are often overtaken by more behavioristic approaches in literacy coaching models and the urgency of pandemic-related acceleration pervading schools. In this article, I share the findings of a case study in which I, as a literacy coach, explored the relationship between elements of a humanizing model of literacy coaching, including complex relational and reflective work, and a teacher’s willingness to change her literacy instruction. Implications are shared on the potential of utilizing a conceptual framework guided by Maslow’s (1943) theory of humanism and Korthagen's (2004) onion model could influence teachers' willingness to change and humanize professional learning. The Collaborative Literacy Coaching Framework for Transformation Literacy coaching is professional learning designed to provide teachers with supportive partnerships as they enhance their instruction (L’Allier et al., 2010). However, this enhancement requires teachers to make changes to long-standing practices. To prepare for change, teachers must have the psychological safety and time to explore their beliefs, values, and identities and how these factors influence their willingness to change (Dewey, 1933). Literacy coaches can prepare teachers for this work by using The Collaborative Literacy Coaching Framework for Transformation, which focuses on the cultivation of relationships, the examination of intrapersonal factors, the acknowledgment of their instructional impact, and the need to plan for change. I will share the framework and the stories of three teachers who were better prepared for change while working within it.
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    Literacy and Liberation: A Content Analysis of Four Antebellum Slave Narratives as Sites of Critical Literacy
    (2023-03-28) Blunt, Johnnie; Pavonetti, Linda;
    This dissertation examines the roles of literacy and literacy education in early 19th-century autobiographies of four fugitive African American slaves: Frederick Douglass, William Wells Brown, Henry Bibb, and Harriet Jacobs. Also known as antebellum slave narratives, these autobiographies regularly depicted the dehumanization many African Americans endured in the trans-Atlantic slave trade. As such, slave narratives provide critical information about the origins and development of racism in the United States. These stories illustrate how race in the early 19th century became a significant marker of one’s humanity and how people of African descent were perceived as slightly less than human and thus deemed suitable for subjugation. I argue that literacy and literacy education enabled these authors (and by extension, millions of other African Americans) to establish their humanity through their engagement with the debates and conversations about the institution of slavery. Antebellum slave narratives were part of global abolitionist efforts to end slavery immediately. These narratives countered proslavery arguments about the naturalness and logic of slavery and were often the end results of fugitive slaves having given oral accounts of their lives on lecture tours. In short, literacy and literacy instruction enabled Douglass, Brown, Bibb, and Jacobs, as critical literacy theorist Paulo Freire argued, to become more fully human. That is, literacy and literacy instruction enabled the authors to fight oppression and establish agency in a world that frequently denied them their humanity and human agency. Using content analysis as the method of data collection and analysis, I coded textual data according to 12 categories James Olney (1985) argued were common themes in the narratives. After reducing redundant data, I concluded that the contextual phenomena that best described the data were critical literacy, material conditions, and human rights. Douglass, Brown, Bibb, and Jacobs used literacy and literacy education to engage in the national debates and conversations for the immediate and unconditional end of slavery in the United States. The main implication of this conclusion is that literacy and literacy instruction are pivotal to developing crucial citizenship attitudes and skills that will maintain a healthy democracy.
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    Teacher Knowledge Matters
    (2019-10-23) Baxa, Julienne; Christ, Tanya;
    The DIGILIT FRAMEWORK Selecting and integrating the use of digital texts or tools in literacy lessons are complex tasks. The DigiLit Framework provides a succinct model to guide planning, reflection, coaching, and formative evaluation of teachers’ successful digital text or tool selection and integration for literacy lessons. For digital text or tool selection, teachers need to consider content accuracy, quality for supporting literacy development, intuitiveness, and user interactivity. For integrating these in instruction, modeling and guided practice should be provided for both literacy skills/strategies and the use of digital text or tool affordances. Also, instruction should capitalize on the digital affordances to transform instruction beyond what is possible with paper and pencil texts or tools. Examples of using the DigiLit framework to evaluate digital text and tool selections and their integration in literacy instruction are provided. DEMYSTIFYING IRI COMPREHENSION DATA: HOW ARE CLASSROOM TEACHERS USING IT? This study examined the classroom practices of nine teachers as they collected, scored, identified comprehension objectives, and used data from informal reading inventories (IRIs) to inform comprehension instruction with 23 students. Using open coding and constant comparative analysis (Corbin & Strauss, 2015), video recorded IRI administrations, post-IRI interviews, follow-up reading lessons, final interviews, and 440 pages of artifacts were analyzed. Data were analyzed for patterns of collection, scoring, comprehension objective identification, and follow-up instruction both within teachers and across teachers. Findings revealed that teachers showed strengths in administering suggested prompts, gaining additional information by asking open-ended questions, completely scoring comprehension sections, and scoring many sections completely accurately. Teachers’ needs were especially evident in the accurate identification of comprehension objectives for upcoming instruction based on IRI data and in how to provide appropriate follow-up instruction based on data from an IRI. Implications include the need to explore individualized professional development given that different teachers had differing strengths and needs as they used IRIs to collect, score, inform objectives and teach comprehension lessons.
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    Chinese EFL Learners' Use of Online Reading Strategies
    (2019-03-10) Wu, Wen; McEneaney, John E.;
    Based on Afflerbach and Cho’s (2009) theoretical model of Constructively Responsive Reading on the Internet (CRRI model), this study aims to explore the patterns of reading strategies that 40 proficient, college-level, Chinese English as a Foreign Language (EFL) learners use while reading online. It also seeks to identify the strategies’ relations to reading comprehension. This study utilized an exploratory research design. During the study, the participants were required to complete a 30-minute reading task on a pre-selected website, followed by a comprehension assessment with 20 multiple-choice questions. During the reading task, the participants were asked to verbalize their thinking process. Both their verbalization and online actions were recorded by Camtasia. These recordings served as the primary data and then were coded using Afflerbach and Cho’s (2009) four strategy categories as the coding scheme. Following this, the coded primary data were analyzed quantitatively. The results first indicated that participants’ meaning-making strategy use dominated the whole reading process. Both the self-monitoring and text location strategies served as a supporting role in this reading task; however, the information evaluation strategy was used least often. Additionally, based on the sequential patterns of the participants’ strategy use, three different types of readers were identified: uncertain readers, exploratory readers, and strategic readers. Lastly, the examination of the relationship between strategy use, reader types, and comprehension outcome revealed that both the meaning-making and self-monitoring strategies had a strong effect on the comprehension outcome. The results also showed that the comprehension outcome was significantly different among all three reader types. The comprehension outcomes of the strategic readers ranked highest, followed by the exploratory readers and the uncertain readers. This exploratory study not only provides a quantitative assessment of Afflerbach and Cho’s (2009) theoretical framework, but also extends our understanding of online reading to a different cultural context. The findings of the study have important implications for both practice and research.
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    Investigation of Running Records and How Teachers Use the Reading Information to Inform Instruction
    (2018-03-09) LeBlanc, Joanne Farley; Christ, Tanya;
    A qualitative research approach was taken to examine (1) how teachers used running records to identify students’ needs, and (2) how those needs were addressed in subsequent instruction. Participants included three first-grade classroom teachers from across two schools, and one high-, average-, and low-performing reader in each classroom (nine first-grade students in all). Four data sources were collected: (1) brief initial interviews to identify demographic data for teachers and students, (2) video recordings of running record sessions and brief instruction immediately following these sessions, (3) artifacts from the running record sessions, and (4) semi-structured teacher interviews after teachers had time to more deeply analyze the running record assessment data. Data were coded using emergent coding and constant comparative analysis to identify themes and subthemes that reflected how teachers used running records to identify students’ needs and how those needs were addressed in instruction. Findings showed that (1) teachers’ data collection was inconsistent, (2) teachers blurred the line between assessment and instruction by integrating instruction into their assessment, (3) the quality of the in-the-moment analyses of assessment varied across teachers, (4) teachers identified most of their students’ needs when given additional time for analysis, (5) teachers addressed a limited breadth of needs (just chunking and retelling) despite broader student needs being evident, and (6) the quality of instruction was consistently varied. This study extended knowledge in the field about how first-grade classroom teachers use running records for assessment and to guide instruction.
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    Impact of virtual literature circles on Chinese university EFL students' independent English reading
    (2018-02-28) Pei, Li; McEneaney, John;
    The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of virtual literature circles (VLCs) on Chinese university English as a foreign language (EFL) students’ independent English reading. The importance of independent reading for EFL students to develop critical thinking, language proficiency, and good readership was extensively discussed and supported (eg. Day and Bamford, 1998; Krashen, 1989, 1993, 1995; Mason & Krashen, 1997; Ro, 2013; Yamashita, 2013). However, lack of empirically validated approaches hindered the ability of EFL teachers to effectively promote such reading. This study proposed a VLC approach for EFL teachers to engage their students in independent English reading. The VLC approach integrated the use of social media into traditional literature circles. To validate this approach in an EFL environment, VLCs were implemented with a sample of Chinese university EFL students. A quasi-experimental between-subjects posttest design was selected to investigate the effectiveness of the VLC. The 118 research participants were enrolled in four reading classes. Two classes (n=59) were randomly assigned to the VLC treatment and the other two (n=59) to the summary-writing treatment, while reading two American young adult novels outside of school. To measure participant reading experiences and reading achievement, five book-dependent instruments (the Reading Experience Survey, the Written Retell Test, the Vocabulary Acquisition Test, the Reading Comprehension Test, and the Reading Engagement Essay) were developed and administered to all research participants after the eight-week experiment. A one-way MANCOVA showed that, overall, VLC participants outperformed the summary-writing participants on the composite score of the posttest. Univariate analysis revealed that participation in VLCs led to statistically better performance in the Reading Experience Survey and the Reading Comprehension Test. The research provided empirical evidence for the overall effectiveness of the VLC. The findings have important implications for EFL reading instruction and research.
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    An Examination of the Effectiveness of Peer Feedback on Chinese University Students’ English Writing Performance
    (2018-02-05) Zhang, Xin; McEneaney, John;
    Effective writing pedagogy in higher education has been a consistent goal of researchers and instructors in the English as a second / foreign language writing practices. Formative peer feedback, a key factor in pedagogical writing practices, has been receiving growing interest (Hu & Lam, 2010). While much remains unknown regarding how the quality of peer feedback and back-feedback affects students’ writing performance, this quantitative study adopted a quasi-experimental control group design to investigate primary pedagogical effects of peer feedback on university students’ writing performance in an EFL context. A total of 198 sophomores majoring in English took part in a 15-week research study. A one-way repeated measures ANCOVA analysis was conducted to examine the comparative effect between the traditional and peer feedback groups. The result revealed that beginning with slightly different writing ability, the peer feedback group significantly made more growth in writing achievement than the traditional feedback group. Further analysis through hierarchical multiple regression analyses showed that both the quality of students’ feedback and the quality of students’ back-feedback were significant predictors of students’ writing performance. Additionally, the quality of students’ back-feedback had a slightly larger impact than that of the quality of students’ feedback. This study provides not only further evidence of the power of formative peer feedback as an effective tool to maximize learning, but also recommends the inclusion of it in the university curriculum to encourage students to direct and monitor their own learning processes and be life-long learners.
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    Teacher Characteristics and Effective Implementation of the Accelerated Reader program, as reported by Teachers of African American students
    (2017-11-08) Johnson, Debra; McMillon, Gwendolyn; ;
    How are teacher characteristics related to teaching practices in reading instruction? Melton, Smothers, Anderson, Fulton, Replogue, & Thomas (2004) maintained teachers are the most powerful dynamic in the classroom. African American students often attain lower reading scores than other students. It is important to determine which teacher characteristics may be affecting the reading achievement of African American students when the Accelerated Reading (AR) program is utilized in the classroom. This study examined teacher characteristics and compared them to elements of the Accelerated Reader program and teaching approaches the participants may have used with their African American students to increase their reading achievement scores. The study is necessary to the field of literacy because no study exists that considers the actions of the teachers when they utilize the AR program with their African American students to increase their reading achievement scores. This study reported responses and comments of 25 teacher participants from three different elementary-middle schools. The use of quantitative data from the research-based online SurveyMonkey Pro survey and written comments from participants were considered the most effective methods of data collection and provided a logical approach to gathering information and maintaining the validity of the data. The 42-question survey instrument included multiple choice and free-response answers regarding how the participants implemented the AR program. The hypothesis predicted that the teacher characteristics would be related to all eight elements and all ten approaches. The data analysis was completed with IBM’s SSPS Statistics software, Version 22, to determine statistically significant relationships. The results of the study indicated five teacher characteristics, specifically the participants’ educational level, the participants’ total years of teaching experience, the participants’ years of using AR in the classroom, the years the participants had been teaching the current grade, and the number of school or district AR workshops the participants attended positively correlated with multiple elements of the AR program and many of the teaching approaches the participants used with their African American students to increase their reading achievement scores.
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    Using Engagement with Instructor Feedback to Nurture First-Year Writing Students’ Self-Efficacy
    (2017-11-08) Gabrion, Laura; Leigh, S. Rebecca;
    Many students enter college with low self-perceptions about their writing skills. Research indicates that first-year writing instructors typically rely on the semi-self-regulated steps of the writing process to help students develop positive feelings about their writing. First-year composition courses employ instructor-provided feedback, whether oral or written or both, as a process for helping students improve their writing skills; therefore, an important consideration for teachers of first-year writing is how to engage students in the feedback provided. One way to make instructor feedback useful and meaningful to students is to create opportunities for conversation between student and instructor in advance of the revision stage. By combining instructor feedback with student-composed revision plans, instructors and students can participate in dialogic feedback that encourages both critical thinking and critical revision (Berzsenyi, 2001; Muldoon, 2009). Dialogic feedback diminishes students’ misinterpretations of instructors’ comments and gives students a better understanding of their writing and which skills to work on as they progress. This study investigated students’ interaction with instructional feedback as a method for impacting students’ self-efficacy in first-year composition. Results suggest that active engagement with instructor feedback has the ability to raise students’ confidence, persistence, and performance and should be considered, consequently, as an integral part of the feedback process.
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    (2017-11-08) Hine, Lisa; McEneaney, John;
    This study examines the impact of type of peer review first year college students participated in, either face-to-face (F2F) or online (OL) and its effect on students' writing achievement. Using a two-way repeated measures design, this research measured students' overall writing score as well as the five key areas of writing: focus and meaning; content and development; organization; language use, voice and style; and mechanics and conventions. Since this design allows for a pre- and post-test of the participants, it was chosen to measure the treatment effect, comparing the type of peer review between groups and its overall impact on students’ final writing achievement. The results suggest that there was not a significant effect based on the format of the peer review (F2F vs. OL) in either students' overall score nor in the five key areas of writing. However, there was statistically significant growth in both overall writing achievement scores over time as well as in the five key areas of writing, indicating that regardless of peer review format, first-year writing students’ writing achievement can improve over the course of one semester.
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    The impact of a book flood on reading motivation and reading achievement of fourth grade students
    (2017-03-22) Andrews, Sherry; Pavonetti, Linda;
    Reading proficiency makes profound differences in reasoning and the ability to learn new information. Past research has indicated that avid readers demonstrate superior literacy development and a wide-range of knowledge across subjects (Allington, 2011; Guthrie, 2008; Krashen, 2004). In a contrasting trajectory, a child who does not engage in reading has limited exposure to a wide vocabulary (Cunningham & Stanovich, 1997) and a gap in knowledge ensues that adversely impacts literacy into adulthood (Hodgkinson, 1995; Neuman & Celano, 2006). This quasi-experimental study examined the impact of readily accessible books on students’ motivation to read, attitudes towards reading and reading achievement when students are provided daily opportunities to read self-selected materials provided through a book flood. Book floods are designed to provide a large number of books to a classroom with limited books. Thirty-eight fourth grade students from two intact classrooms were assigned as the treatment (n=19) and the control group (n=19). Participants in both the control and treatment group were administered pre- and post-test to measure reading motivation and attitudes towards reading. Participants’ scores from the district mandated assessment were used to measure pre- and post-treatment reading achievement. The fourth-graders in the treatment group were provided 15-minutes daily to read self-selected books from the book flood. Participants in the treatment group recorded and rated the self-selected books in reading logs for a 12-week period. ANCOVA was conducted to compare post-tests results on the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey (M. McKenna & Kear, 1990), the Self-Regulation Questionnaire-Reading Motivation (De Naeghel, Van Keer, Vansteenkiste, & Rosseel, 2012), and the Northwest Evaluation Association Measures of Academic Progress (NWEA, 2003). Analyses of the data indicate significant differences between the control and treatment group on post-test results for recreational autonomous and academic autonomous reading motivation but not on post-test results for attitudes towards recreational and academic reading. Correlation relationships and other descriptive findings are discussed.