2.6.4 Studies Related to Collaborative Strategic Reading
There are a few studies related to the effect of CSR on enhancing the reading comprehension or other skills at different levels.
The first study was done by Klingner and Vaughn (1996). In this study, they investigated the efficacy of 2 related interventions on the reading comprehension of seventh and eighth graders with learning disabilities in reading who used English as a second language. All 26 students participated in reciprocal teaching for 15 days and then were randomly assigned for 12 days to 1 of 2 groups: reciprocal teaching with cooperative grouping (n = 13) or reciprocal teaching with cross-age tutoring (n = 13). Though there were no statistically significant differences between groups on 2 measures of comprehension, students in both groups made significant progress in reading comprehension. Analyses focused on understanding the performance of more and less successful students within groups. Findings revealed that initial reading ability and oral language proficiency seemed related to gains in comprehension, that a greater range of students benefited from strategy instruction than would have been predicted on the basis of previous research, and that students in both groups continued to show improvement in comprehension when provided minimal adult support.
The participants felt that having the strategy instruction in middle school rather than fourth grade was one of the major limitations of this study. Other limitations of this study were that there was a small (n=26) and a homogenous grouping (Latino), and the research occurred on one site, making it difficult to generalize to the general population. This being noted, the study did serve its purpose of introducing the strategy instruction and gaining feedback to implement the following study. The research also had some significant strength to build on for future research, including explicit instruction by the researchers, valid standardized comprehension tests for data analysis including Gates-MacGinitie’s Reading Comprehension test, Palinscar & Brown’s Passage Comprehension and Klingner and Vaughn’s twenty-seven instructional sessions.
In another study, Klingner, Vaughn and Schumm (1998) investigated the effectiveness of CSR in three heterogeneous fourth grade classrooms in a suburban elementary school in a large metropolitan area in the southeastern United States. Three classes consisting of thirty nine males and forty-six females were assigned to a CSR intervention condition, and two classes of twenty males and thirty-six females to a control condition. The classes were assigned as a result of the Woodcock & Johnson Tests of Achievement word identification subtest, and then the classes were paired and randomly assigned to a condition. The students in all five groups worked on the same unit on Florida state history from a textbook over eleven instructional sessions. Each session lasted 45 minutes and homework was assigned from the district guidelines. The researchers taught the lessons and a participant observer was in the class to document the lessons, monitor procedures and collect data. The intervention condition included CSR instruction, modeling and small group practice in preview, click and clunk, get the gist and wrap-up. The control condition included the researcher introducing the vocabulary, previewing the pictures in the text, round-robin reading of the chapter and then researcher-led summarizing and questioning, followed by classroom discussion of the important concepts (Klingner, Vaughn, &Schumm, 1998).
The third study related to CSR was done by Vaughn, Chard, Bryant, Coleman, Tyler, Linan-Thompson, and Kouzekanani (2000). Eight third-grade teachers and their 111 students participated in this 12-week study that was conducted within regular classroom settings. Sixteen of the students demonstrated significant reading problems and qualified for special education or were identified by the school district as dyslexic. This study addressed the differential effects of fluency and comprehension instruction on fluency and comprehension outcomes in two groups of students: those with significant reading problems and those who are low- to average-achieving students. Eight classrooms of third graders and their teachers were assigned to one of two interventions; partner reading, designed to enhance fluency, or collaborative strategic reading, designed to enhance comprehension. Results indicated no statistically significant main effects or group-by-time interaction effects; however, over time (pre- to post-test), there were statistically significant effects for rate of reading and correct words read per minute (but not accuracy or comprehension) for both partner reading and collaborative strategic reading for both low- to average-achieving students and students with reading disabilities.
Furthermore, Klingner, Vaughn, Hughes, and Arguelles (1999) studied the phenomenon of sustained instructional practices in reading strategies. This study examined the extent to which the reading instructional practices learned by a cohort of teachers who participated in an intensive, yearlong professional development experience during the 1994-1995 school years have been sustained and modified over time. Teachers learned three multi-leveled practices -partner reading, collaborative strategic reading, and making words -that promote gains in reading for students from a wide range of achievement levels. Teachers were observed and interviewed 3 years later to determine the extent to which they continued to implement the practices, the ways in which they modified them, and factors that influenced their sustained use of the practices. With the exception of one teacher, all the teachers sustained one or more of the three practices at a high rate.
They concluded that four specific issues impeded the implementation of CSR. The first involved teachers placing the strategies aside due to the pressure to prepare for standardized testing. A second dilemma teachers faced in implementing the strategies was the emphasis placed on covering the content. The teachers found CSR to be very effective in teaching the content material, but they could not afford the time to teach the topic in as much depth as CSR required. A third reason described by teachers included time constraints. Their schedules included 30 minutes in the day for social studies instruction, which resulted in not enough time to cover the content and the strategy. Finally, specific teachers felt uncomfortable with the cooperative learning component of CSR and did not have an in-depth understanding of how to implement the practice (Klingner et al., 1999). These factors presented by Klingner and associates (1999) are important to consider when implementing the CSR strategy in a classroom for sustained use. It is also important to consider that the teachers were being presented with three complex eso strategies and then asked to maintain that implementation. It is interesting to note the two major limitations of the study. First, the researchers indicated that failure to implement the CSR strategy before the study was a limitation. PR was in full implementation by the second week, whereas CSR took four to twelve weeks to fully implement. Second, the teachers taught the interventions and recorded implementation data, which the authors indicated may be exaggerated. However, the results of the previous study enabled the researchers to refine the CSR model and make it easier for teachers to use.
The final study was related to Vaughn et al. (2001) entitled “Efficacy of collaborative strategic reading with middle school students”. The authors conducted an experimental study to examine the effects of collaborative strategic reading and metacognitive strategic learning on the reading comprehension of students in seventh and eighth grade English language arts classes in two sites (Texas, Colorado) and in three school districts. Students were randomly assigned to classes and then classes were
randomly assigned to treatment or business-as-usual comparison groups. If a teacher had an uneven number of classes, we assigned extra classes to treatment. The total number of classes randomized was 61, with 34 treatments and 27 comparisons. Treatment students received a multi-component reading comprehension instruction (collaborative strategic reading) from their English/language arts/reading teachers that included teaching students to apply comprehension strategies in collaborative groups for 18 weeks, with approximately two sessions per week. Findings indicated significant differences in favor of the treatment students on the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Comprehension Test but not on reading fluency.
In conclusion, CSR is an effective research-based strategy to promote fluency and comprehension of difficult expository text-based materials that are a consistent part of content area instruction in middle school classrooms. The present study is designed to use CSR to aid in collaborative reading texts.
In an attempt to investigate the effect of Collaborative Strategic Reading Approach (CSR) on the reading comprehension of Iranian EFL learners, this chapter will provide the characteristic features of the study namely participants, instrumentation, procedure, design, data collection, and statistical analysis.
To accomplish the objectives of this study, 85 female students with age range of 18-26 were non-randomly selected from intermediate level classes at Safir Language School in Tehran. Then, through a piloted Preliminary English Test (PET) 64 of them who score one standard deviation above and one standard deviation below the mean were selected. The homogenized participants were then randomly assigned into experimental group and control group, making 30 participants serve as experimental group and 34 as control group.
Table 3.1: Number of Participants in Experimental and Control Groups
It is worth mentioning that a group of 30 students with almost similar characteristics to the target sample participated in the pilot study of proficiency test (PET) and reading pre & post-tests.
Besides the researcher herself as a teacher and rater, another trained rater who holds an MA degree in TEFL with six years of teaching experience attended in the assessment of writing & speaking sections of the PET based on the specific rating scales.
To fulfill the purpose of the study the following instruments were used by the researcher in order to obtain data.
3.3.1 Language Proficiency Test Used for Homogenization
In order to homogenize the language proficiency of the participants, the researcher administered the PET proficiency test which was developed in 2004. The PET test (Preliminary English Test) is one of the standardized tests among the series by Cambridge ESOL. The PET is an exam for people who can use every day written and spoken English at an Intermediate level. It tests four skills of reading, writing, speaking and listening (Appendix A).
Reading and Writing; 1 hour and 30 minutes
The examinees need to be able to read texts from signs, journals, newspapers and magazines and understand the main points. They need to show their ability to use vocabulary and structure by completing tasks such as writing a short message, and a story or letter of around 100 words. They also need to complete an exercise involving changing the meaning of sentences. The Reading section consists of five parts with 35 reading comprehension questions. Writing section consists of three parts with 7 questions. The examinees need to complete this part in 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Listening: 30 minutes
The examinees are required to be able to follow