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Integrating reading and writing to teach compare-contrast text structure: A research-based methodology

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Abstract

This article proposes an instructional approach for teaching compare-contrast composition that strategically integrates skills and concepts that mutually support each other within a social studies context. The dimensions of this approach are based on research involving students with and without learning difficulties and concerning text structure, writing process, and integrated reading and writing. The article presents a framework for instruction developed by the National Center to Improve the Tools of Educators, examples of lesson plans, and considerations for increasing the feasibility and sustainability of the approach.

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... These contain an organizational text structure of superordination and subordination (Meyer 1975(Meyer , 1984, which teachers present as main ideas and supporting details in the classroom setting. Additionally, authors use a variety of organizational patterns, such as description, sequence, definition, classification, comparison/contrast, cause/effect, problem/solution, and combinations of these to explain the informational content (Dickson, 1999;Frey & Fisher, 2007;Meyer, Brandt, & Bluth, 1980;Meyer & Poon, 2001;Smolkin & Donovan, 2001;Williams, 2005). Unfortunately, the lack of exposure to the EI writing style causes problems for many young children who have not had instruction in ways to structure and layer ideas in that style. ...
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The researchers investigated the effects of listening to expository text on the listening comprehension and book choice of 77 first-grade students. Two intact classes of experimental children heard expository read-alouds over four weeks while two intact classes of 40 controls received no intervention and followed their teacher's normal read-aloud schedule. Results indicated that both groups significantly preferred expository text compared to narrative before as well as after the intervention even though participants in the control groups heard narration almost exclusively during routine classroom read-alouds. Additionally, a MANOVA revealed a significant increase in expository listening comprehension of the experimental groups although they scored significantly higher on narration during pretesting. This suggests that exposure to expository texts in the early grades helps prepare young children for the informational, expository reading required in later grades.
... Researchers have investigated the relationship between reading and writing and reported a reciprocal influence of literacy challenges between these domains (e.g., Dickson, 1999;Shanahan, 2006). Shanahan and Lomax (1986) studied associations across features of reading (e.g., word analysis, vocabulary knowledge, and reading comprehension) and writing (e.g., spelling, vocabulary, and sentence structure). ...
Article
In this systematic review of literature that spans 1975-2015, integrated reading and writing interventions for students with learning disabilities (LD) or students with academic difficulties were evaluated to understand the extant research, identify encouraging practices, and guide future research. Ten studies met inclusion criteria and each study was evaluated according to the relevant What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) design standards. Eight of the ten investigations were conducted with students in Grades 4-8. While only four of the ten studies met WWC design with or without reservations, results from these studies are encouraging. Study findings suggest several areas for immediate future research relating to methodological and treatment variables and considerations for classroom instruction in order to respond to advanced expectations for the successful integration of reading and writing across subjects. In addition to employing stronger experimental designs and additional replications of encouraging studies, future research should explore the utility of integrated reading and writing interventions with secondary students with who have academic difficulties.
... The narrative structure has a consistent and generic set of features such as character(s), setting, problem or conflict, precipitating or initiating event, and plot with outcomes, consequences, and resolution (Gordon & Braun, 1983;Van den Broek, 1989;Vellecorsa & de Bettencourt, 1997). Expository text structure, on the other hand, is characterized by a number of text organizational patterns (Dickson, 1999;Gillet & Temple, 1994;Irwin, 1991). A key feature of expository text structure focuses on the logical organization of textual ideas and concepts. ...
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Low-achieving seventh-grade students from an urban parochial school were randomly assigned to two equally sized groups (n = 62, each group). One group was taught by a read-and-discuss, teacher-directed method, and the second group, given the same type of introductory lesson as the first, followed a model of concept mapping that connected major and minor concept ideas. A criterion-referenced test based on the content of a science chapter served as the dependent variable. Prior to any teaching, a pretest was administered. An analysis of covariance with pretest scores as the covariate showed a statistically significant difference in comprehension between the pretest and posttest for the experimental group. Effect size estimates revealed that concept mapping can be expected to improve comprehension scores of low-achieving seventh graders by approximately six standard deviations over a traditional instructional technique. When students lack background information on a topic to aid comprehension, the active participation in constructing semantic or concept maps may help students form a cognitive schema to assimilate and relate the new topic information.
... Thus, the lack of formal schema is claimed as one of factors leading to reading comprehension problems. Many past investigations have also shown that the awareness of text structures is an effective reading strategy for improving reading comprehension and information recall (Meyer, 1975;McGee, 1982;Carrell, 1985Carrell, , 1992Richgels et al, 1987;Dickson, 1999;Zhang, 2008;Zarrati, Nambiar, & Maasum, 2014). Therefore, if the generic structures of the text can be configured, the problems can be solved. ...
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The great importance of textbooks in the English language in the academic, pedagogic, and scientific world is uncontested. Acquiring holistic knowledge of legal transdisciplinary is of great importance to Islamic law students in Indonesia. Nevertheless, English reading proficiency of Indonesian students is problematic. The present research was to identify the genre types and unfold them through what patterns the genres are mostly structured. Data of the study were one Islamic Law textbook and one Jurisprudence textbook used as teaching resources and required reading at Universitas Islam Negeri Sumatera Utara, Indonesia. Based on the five main Systemic Functional Linguistics-based genre frameworks for the analysis, findings from the Islamic Law textbook showed 18 genre types including three proposed ones under four genre families of which History genres are the most frequent ones followed by Explanation, Report, and Argument genres. On the other hand, 16 genre types including three new ones belonging to four genre families were identified in the Jurisprudence in which Report genres are the most frequent ones followed by Argument, Explanation, and History genres. The commonalities and discrepancies of the findings between the two legal textbooks are assumed to be the logical results of the ideological differences and the resource aspects from which the legal discipline is oriented. The findings of the study would be useful to design teaching of reading legal English texts that can facilitate students which is unfortunately neglected by both English and Law teachers
... Writing to convince, criticize, or describe involves making a reasoned decision about what to include and what not to include and an awareness of the conventions of reasoned discourse. Research has demonstrated the close links between reading and writing (Tierney & Shanahan, 1991), and teachers now generally agree that they should be taught together (Bushman, 1992;Dickson, 1999). However, writing is such an important skill in higher education that all of the major admission assessments-SAT, ...
Article
This paper briefly summarizes the literatures of reading and reasoning in the last quarter century, focusing mainly on the disciplines of cognitive science, cognitive developmental psychology, linguistics, and educational psychology. These literatures were synthesized to create a framework for defining verbal reasoning in higher education. Eight general cognitive and metacognitive operations were identified (including, for example, evaluating discourse, seeking and solving problems, and monitoring one's comprehension). Several dimensions underlying these operations on which individual skills may vary were identified (such as breadth of understanding, precision of understanding, or familiarity and facility). Finally, these ideal descriptions of verbal reasoning are applied to the assessment of verbal reasoning for selection in higher education. Problems in measurement and unanticipated consequences of measurement are discussed.
... Research also identifies the ways that individuals make connections or gather meanings from various sources (Dickson, 1999;Kamberelis & Bovino, 1999;Lee, 2000;Lenski, 1998;Many, 1996;McGinley, 1992;Pantaleo, 2006;Rasinski et al., 2000). One example of an investigation into intertextual resources is study which describes students independently using their intertextual histories when composing and comprehending texts. ...
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Professional development of teachers in writing should lead to quality writing programmes in schools, resulting in accelerated student progress across a variety of communicative purposes for writing (genre). However, interventions commonly assess students in a single writing purpose at the beginning and end of each year. The aim of this study was to design professional development that would raise achievement for students across a variety of purposes for writing. To this end, two differing professional development interventions were designed in which teachers explicitly investigated relationships among written texts using theories of intertextuality. This mixed-methods intervention study employed a quasi-experimental design, which collected student achievement and classroom observation data to assess the relative effectiveness of the two professional development programmes in writing instruction in six schools in Auckland. While both programmes focused on the intertextual nature of writing, the first looked at a specific purpose for writing; the second offered a broader writing focus by comparing and contrasting texts written for differing purposes. To illuminate how teachers’ participation in each of these professional development types influenced classroom programmes, two teachers from each were observed in depth as case-studies. Student assessment information was analysed from schools in each of the groups to ascertain the relative effectiveness of each professional development type in ii accelerating student achievement in a targeted writing purpose and also in other purposes for writing. Repeated measures ANOVAs show differences in the achievement gains between the students of the two groups, not in the targeted purpose but in other purposes for writing. Classroom observations and case study results indicated that teachers in both professional development groups used intertextual links as a basis for their classroom programmes in similar ways. Thus, it is hypothesised that the difference in student achievement patterns between the two groups may be the result of differences in the depth of teacher learning provided by the professional development. Whole document restricted until August 2011, but available by request, use the feedback form to request access.
... Although research on textbooks' content preceded use of the term "considerate," given the preponderance of evidence indicating how much educators relied on textbooks as the curriculum and to guide their instruction, more researchers began to investigate the extent to which discipline-specific textbooks were "considerate" for the learners who used them (Roseman et al., 2010). To that end, Kinder et al.'s analysis provided a prototype from which subsequent studies and supplemental strategies were developed (Crawford & Carnine, 2000;de Oliveira, 2010;Dickson, 1999;Harniss et al., 2001;Jitendra, Cole, Hoppes, & Wilson, 1998;Mastropieri, Scruggs, & Graetz, 2003). ...
Article
Features of eighth-grade history textbooks were examined through replication of a 20-year-old study that investigated "considerateness" of textbooks. Considerate texts provide clear, coherent information and include features that promote students' comprehension, such as explicit use of organizational structures, a range of question types dispersed within and at the end of chapters, and highlighted new vocabulary. Conversely, inconsiderate texts can impede student learning because comprehension is influenced by coherence and clarity between and among new vocabulary, sentences, paragraphs, and passages at macro and micro levels throughout texts' chapters. Results of this study indicate areas where today's texts are more clear and coherent than those 20 years ago, and areas where improvements within textbooks are still needed. Implications for practice are discussed.
... Estos organizadores representan ideas importantes y sus relaciones con otras ideas, y sirven, además, como excelentes hojas de planificación para organizar las ideas que deben ponerse por escrito. Igualmente, el desarrollo de trabajos posteriores, Karge (1998); Montgomery (1998); Dickson (1999); Gleason (1999); DiCecco y Gleason (2002) y García y De Caso-Fuertes (2002) ponen de manifiesto la utilización de los organizadores gráficos dentro de un contexto de instrucción intensiva, como facilitadores en el entrenamiento en la planificación del texto y en la coordinación y relación de conocimientos y contenidos en los textos escritos de estudiantes con DAE. ...
Article
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Este estudio analiza los resultados de un programa de instrucción en procesos cognitivos y estructuras textuales desarrollado en un grupo de escolares con dificultades en el aprendizaje de la escritura (DAE). Los participantes fueron 65 niños y niñas con una media de edad de 9 años, de tres colegios públicos de La Coruña. De los 65 sujetos, 39 presentaban DAE, 22 de ellos fueron asignados al grupo experimental, 17 al grupo control y los 26 restantes fueron considerados buenos escritores. Todos los sujetos fueron evaluados en tres ocasiones, pretest, postest y retest. El grupo experimental recibió entrenamiento en estrategias cognitivas de escritura, cuatro horas a la semana durante cinco meses, en horario extraescolar. Los análisis de varianza realizados indican que la instrucción específica en estrategias de escritura mejora los procesos de planificación, organización y textualización en niños que presentan DAE.
... Pappas (1993) reported that emerging readers can recognize expository language and recall the content of expository trade books, and argues that additional exposure to expository materials will enhance these already existing abilities and prepare the children for their work with expository text in later grades. Duke and Kays (2000) suggested that primary grade students are likely to be suitable candidates for the types of focused comprehension instruction that Dickson (1999) found to be successful with older students. Rather than waiting until the student has finished reading a piece of particular text, we expect students to be able to employ reading strategies that assist them to make meaning of the print, as well as clear up any misconceptions or misunderstandings, confusion, and questions that they have during reading (Harvey & Goudvis, 2007). ...
... A review of the literature indicates that the results of studies that reported the effects of text structures on second graders' comprehension included Danner (1976) and Lauer (2002); furthermore, the observations and recommendations of Duke and Kays (2000) suggested that primary grade students are likely to be suitable candidates for the types of focused comprehension instruction that Dickson (1999) found to be successful with older students. ...
... As Andrews et al. (2009) report, supporting children's writing in this way can be done using a number of different devices, but explicit contrasts and feedback are crucial. For example, effective use of compare and contrast exercises within a graduated approach has resulted in improvements in pupils' writing (Dickson, 1999), but we did not see these in the current materials. Both collaborative writing, where writers work together to plan, draft, revise and edit their compositions (Graham & Perin, 2007), and paired writing (Yarrow & Topping, 2001) are effective in supporting pupils' writing. ...
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The evaluation found that the programme was feasible. It was clear from both the interviews and the observations that the schools were enthusiastic about implementing Talk for Writing. Literacy Leads reported that they were confident that their schools were implementing Talk for Writing faithfully, and the majority of staff in all schools were reported to be fully committed to the project. However, one school withdrew from the project in February 2014 following a change in leadership and concerns about the efficacy of the programme. The evaluation demonstrated that the project displayed some evidence of promise. School staff reported that the project had a positive impact on pupils’ writing skills and improved their confidence with teaching writing. The literature review concluded that the strength of prior research evidence that supports Talk for Writing was variable. Some elements of the approach were supported by evidence, but other unique features were not. The impact evaluation estimated that after one year there were some small differences between intervention and comparison school pupils’ attainment on writing tests. Where there was evidence of change in the writing measures sometimes this favoured the intervention group, and sometimes this favoured the comparison group. In all cases, the effects were small or very small.
... The fact that expository text is organized in a variety of structural patterns makes for a serious challenge for many students (Goldman & Rakestraw, 2000). Text structures are representations of fundamental rhetorical structures (Dickson, 1999). Well before children learn to read, they develop the language and discourse patterns that are basic to oral and written language. ...
Article
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We developed and evaluated an intervention that teaches reading comprehension via expository text structure training to second graders in urban public schools at risk for academic failure. Fifty lessons on 5 basic text structures (sequence, comparison, causation, description, and problem–solution) were embedded in a social studies curriculum that focused on U.S. historical communities. Second-grade classrooms were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 experimental conditions: the intervention, a comparison program that focused on the social studies content and did not include text structure training, and a no-instruction control. Sixteen classrooms (N = 258) completed the study. The performance of the intervention group was higher than that of the other 2 groups on reading comprehension measures based on written summaries, demonstrating the effectiveness of the intervention. On social studies content measures, the intervention and the content groups showed higher performance than the control group, indicating that embedding the text-structure training did not lessen the amount of social studies content acquired. The study confirms previous findings and extends our earlier work by showing that all 5 basic text structures can be taught to second graders effectively within the academic year. Robust transfer effects were found on typical reading comprehension tasks (sentence completion, questions) when the text continued to be well structured, and there was also evidence of transfer to authentic (ill-structured) text.
... Expository texts typically contain new or unfamiliar knowledge, and this knowledge is organized according to structures that are not limited to written expression. These structures reflect universal cognitive processes (Dickson, 1999;Williams, 2005) essential in understanding, analyzing, describing, and creating information, and upon which effective informative writing depends. According to Meyer (1985), five structures are predominantly used to describe, compare, sequence ideas, explain a causal relationship, and present a problem-solution situation. ...
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This study was conducted in the province of Québec, Canada, among French-speaking Grade 6 students (n = 175) in the context of a school curriculum that does not clearly address text structure and main idea instruction. It aims to understand whether these students can identify informative text structures and main ideas in isolated paragraphs, comprehend main ideas and text structure in an informative text, and write a short structured informative text. It also describes relationships between these knowledge and skills coming from different reading and writing tasks. Three assessments relative to informative text structures were administered: a multiple-choice test on text structure knowledge and identification of main ideas, a reading comprehension test, and a short writing task. Results revealed that students performed better in the multiple-choice assessment compared to other assessments. Correlations between variables stemming from the three assessments were significant but their effect sizes were low to moderate. A hypothesized model was investigated via a path analysis suggesting that structure knowledge and main idea identification influence reading comprehension, which then influence writing.
... According to the research literature, effective writing instruction includes time to write daily ( Gleason & Isaacson, 2001;Graves, 1982) and explicit instruction in the flexible and idiosyncratic processes of idea generation, drafting, revision, and editing (Graham & Perin, 2007;Graves, 1982). It incorporates real-world, genre-specific writing engagements in which educators teach text and genre structures (Araujo, Szabo, Raine, & Wickstrom, 2015;Colby & Stapleton, 2006;Dickson, 1999;Graham & Harris, 1994;Hillocks, 1984;Morgan & Pytash, 2014). Effective writing educators use explicit modeling of writing processes, strategies, and structures (Gersten & Baker, 2001;Troia, 2007); use mentor texts to analyze and identify writing strategies and devices Graham & Perin, 2007;Sanders & Schilperoord, 2006); and employ think-aloud methods to demonstrate composing processes (Gleason & Isaacson, 2001). ...
Article
The purpose of this study was to understand how writing teacher educators, who used research-based practices, make connections to K-12 classrooms for their preservice teacher candidates. A team of eight literacy researchers and educators from institutions across the United States collaborated to conduct a qualitative interview study of 15 writing teacher educators. This study is grounded in literature on effective writing instruction as well as university and K-12 connections, and it is framed by Kolb’s experiential learning theory. Findings suggest several themes related to how writing teacher educators make connections to K-12 classrooms including intentional field experiences, spending time in the field themselves, connecting their teaching of writing assessment to actual classrooms and students, and engaging in consistent reflection and revision of their courses. Implications and future directions for research are explored.
... Hence, the absence of awareness to information organization of the text is expressed as one of factors that prompt understanding problems. Text structure awareness has been proved to be an effective reading strategy for reading comprehension enhancement and information recall (Meyer, 1975;McGee, 1982;Carrell, 1985Carrell, , 1992Richgels et al, 1987;Dickson, 1999;Zhang, 2008;Zarrati, Nambiar, & Maasum, 2014). ...
Article
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Textbooks provide students with models of written scientific literacy and also access to a wide range of knowledge. However, deconstructing their text structures which has potential contribution to facilitating students' reading comprehension receives lack of attention. The present study is to classify the genres and their generic structures within the textbooks used at Universitas Islam Negeri, North Sumatra, Indonesia (UIN-SU) for the purpose of teaching reading Economics and Islamic Economics texts. Data of the study were two textbooks of Economics and Islamic Economics. Five main genre frameworks based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) were used as method of the analysis: Report, Explanation, History, Argument, and Response genres. In the Economics, 17 genre types including two new ones under four main genre families of Explanation, Report, Argument, and History were found. On the other hand, in its counterpart, 25 genre types including 6 new ones under five genre families of History, Report, Explanation, Argument, and Response were identified. The difference of the key findings between the textbooks is proposed to be the consequences of the ideological discrepancy to which the textbooks belong as well as the resource discrepancy from which the two sub-disciplines of Economics are oriented.
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The studies described here are designed to teach reading comprehension to at-risk students in the second and third grades. The focus is on text structure. First, there is an evaluation of a program that teaches students to identify themes of stories and apply those themes to real life; this instruction goes beyond the plot-level focus of typical primary-grade instruction. Second, an instructional program that teaches a common expository text structure, compare/contrast, is evaluated in a series of studies; content similar to science content typically taught at the primary level is used. The results of these studies suggest that at-risk children in the primary grades can achieve gains in comprehension, including the ability to transfer what they have learned to novel texts, when they are given highly structured and explicit instruction that focuses on text structure.
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Two measures of syntactic complexity, clauses per T-unit and words per clause, were used to examine differences among four genres of text—narrative, descriptive, compare/contrast, and persuasive—written by the same two cohorts (83 students in grades three and five and 96 students in grades five and seven) on two occasions 2years apart as part of a larger longitudinal study. For clauses per T-unit, a measure of subordination, significant differences were found between persuasive essays, which had more subordinate clauses, and the other three genres. For words per clause, an indicator of the denser syntax of the academic register, significant differences were found between descriptive texts, which had more words per clause than the persuasive essays, which did not differ from the compare/contrast texts. Over the grade levels studied, the measures of syntactic complexity did not increase in their differentiation among the four genres. The two measures of syntactic complexity were negatively correlated, especially for the persuasive essays. For text length, which is thought to reflect compositional fluency, grade, genre, and grade×genre effects were significant for both cohorts. Post hoc analyses found few examples of the syntax-level structures characteristic of the academic register. These findings suggest that although students could produce each kind of genre, their ability to do so may have been compromised by their limited knowledge of the syntactic structures required to achieve text-level genre goals. Researchers and educators should consider the syntactic- and text-level requirements for different school-based genres in designing and evaluating writing instruction. KeywordsSyntax–Writing–Genre–Syntactic complexity–Writing development
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This article describes intervention techniques for facilitating adolescent expository text comprehension that uses a blended approach, combining content instructional techniques with the use of facilitative strategies. The suggestions in this article are based on informal review of the literature and the author's clinical experience. An adolescent student recovering from an acquired brain injury is introduced, and examples from one component of his rehabilitation program are used to illustrate intervention targeting expository text comprehension with adolescents. Three principles of intervention are summarized and illustrated with examples from the student's intervention: analyzing text demands, combining content intervention with the teaching of text comprehension strategies and processes, and extending intervention across sessions and textbooks. A summary of the student's progress shows gains in understanding complex texts.
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of comprehension training embedded in a program that taught science content to 2nd graders. The program included instruction about the structure of compare-contrast expository text, emphasizing clue words, generic questions, graphic organizers, and the close analysis of well-structured text exemplars. This program was compared with a program that focused on the science content but included no compare-contrast training as well as with a no-instruction control. Regular classroom teachers (14 from 4 schools), randomly assigned to treatment, provided the instruction; 215 students (7-8 years old) participated. The study replicated acquisition and transfer effects found in an earlier study, that is, transfer to compare-contrast text with content related and unrelated to the instructional content (with no loss in the amount of science content acquired). The program also led to better performance on written and oral response measures and on 1 of the 2 measures involving authentic (less well-structured) compare-contrast text. These findings support and extend previous findings that explicit instruction in comprehension is effective as early as the primary-grade level. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
This study investigates the effectiveness of an instructional program designed to teach 2nd graders how to comprehend compare-contrast expository text. Along with introducing new content (animal classification), the program emphasizes text structure via clue words, a sequence of questions, and a graphic organizer, and via the close analysis of specially constructed exemplar paragraphs. The authors compared the program with (a) more traditional instruction that focused only on the new content and (b) a no instruction control; 128 7- and 8-year-olds participated. Classroom teachers provided the instruction. The program improved students' ability to comprehend compare-contrast texts. Students were able to demonstrate transfer to uninstructed compare-contrast texts though not to text structures other than compare-contrast. Moreover, the text structure instruction did not detract from their ability to learn new content. The results provide evidence, heretofore lacking, that explicit instruction in comprehension is feasible and effective as early as the 2nd grade. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Teachers who rely on basal textbooks to teach writing to students with learning problems may not be meeting their students' needs sufficiently. In this article, we summarize research for teaching writing to students with learning problems. From the literature review, we developed a checklist of instructional features and used the checklist to examine two fifth - grade basal textbooks. The two basals met or almost met most of our criteria. The basals provide an excellent framework within which a teacher can work. However, the criteria not met are critical variables for students with learning difficulties. Neither basal provided the level of explicitness needed for teaching students with learning problems how to engage in the writing process. The article concludes by recommending modifications: add modeling to the instruction, make parts of the instruction more explicitly procedural, and provide students with scaffolds needed for success with writing.
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This article was adapted from the E. L. Thorndike Address that I delivered at the August, 2019 meeting of the American Psychological Association in Chicago. I trace my career as an educational psychologist in the context of the enormous changes, both theoretical and societal, that occurred during my years as an active researcher. Reading, the focus of my research (both beginning reading and reading comprehension), was very much affected by these changes, and so, of course, was I. I end with a discussion of one of today's prime paradigms for evaluating instructional research and offer suggestions for future investigations.
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Résumé La difficulté des jeunes scripteurs à rédiger des textes argumentatifs cohérents résulte en grande partie de faiblesses dans leurs stratégies et processus cognitifs. Cette recherche expérimentale à protocole préexpérimental a comme objectif d’évaluer les effets d’un programme d’intervention remodelé visant l’apprentissage de stratégies d’écriture sur la capacité des élèves à écrire des textes cohérents. Trois dimensions de la cohérence textuelle ont été prises en considération : la cohérence macrostructurelle, microstructurelle et situationnelle. Les résultats montrent que les élèves ont fait des progrès significatifs par rapport à chacune d’elles. Ils indiquent aussi qu’à l’exception de certains aspects de la dimension microstructurelle, ces progrès se sont maintenus à moyen terme.
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This study compared two techniques for teaching middle school students to compose from expository text sources, a common but difficult academic writing task. Classroom social studies content was used. Text structure instruction (TSI), which focused on text characteristics using graphic organizers, was compared with PLAN & WRITE for Summarization (PWS), a self-regulated strategy development intervention adapted from De La Paz (1999), which taught note-taking, composing, editing and revision, and self-monitoring. Compared to a traditional instruction control, each technique had unique impact, PWS on writing quality and content knowledge, and PWS on inclusion of main ideas in the written summary.
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Expository text is often neglected in the elementary school curriculum even though most of the reading that children do in school is of that type. Most of the research that demonstrates the importance of text structure in reading comprehension and the benefits that accrue from instruction in text structure deals with children at or above the 4th grade. This research literature, reviewed briefly, provides the basis for the work that is described in this article, which involves younger children. First, a study is presented that demonstrates that children are sensitive to text structure, and therefore would benefit from instruction, as early as 2nd grade. Second, a new instructional program is described that focuses intensively on one specific expository structure, compare and contrast. Finally, the results of a study that evaluates the effects of the program are described.
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Literacy skills taught in the elementary grades establish a good foundation but are not adequate for the demands of secondary content curriculum. In history, preservice teachers must be prepared with a solid content base along with the pedagogy for teaching that content. To better teach and enhance student writing, preservice teachers need to learn how to integrate discipline-specific literacy into their instruction, using instructional strategies that are explicitly taught with scaffold supports. The purpose of this article is to present instructional ideas and strategies designed to help students develop key cognitive skills in history and engage in deeper-level thinking as they learn to write like a historian. Each strategy is research-based and includes sample writing assignments.
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention for second graders at risk for academic failure, which taught reading comprehension embedded in social studies content. The intervention included instruction about the structure of cause/effect expository text, emphasizing clue words, generic questions, graphic organizers, and close analysis of well-structured examples of cause/effect text. It was compared to a program that focused on the same social studies content but without cause/effect training, and to a no-instruction control. Fourteen teachers, randomly assigned to treatment, provided the instruction; 197 7- and 8-year-olds participated. The intervention group demonstrated higher performance than the other groups on both sentence combining and answering comprehension questions. The 2 instructed groups did not differ on the social studies measures, and both were better than the no-instruction group; thus, embedding text structure instruction did not lessen the amount of social studies content acquired. These findings corroborated studies on another text structure (comparison) and extended previous work focused on cause/effect. New findings included, first, more robust group differences in performance than were found in an earlier cause-effect study because of a more precise identification of the instructional level appropriate for this population: the sentence, not the paragraph. Second, examining the sustainability of the intervention effects, a delayed posttest showed that after summer break, the intervention group performed better than the other groups on sentence combining, although not on answering a comprehension question. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2014 APA, all rights reserved)
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The aim of this study is to evaluate the impact of a didactic sequence centred on the teaching of strategies on the ability of a group of Franco-Canadian adolescents living in a linguistic minority situation to write a comparative expository text. More specifically, using a pretest post-test design with an experimental group (n=40) and a control group (n=41), the study verifies to what extent the sequence allowed students to compose coherent expository texts. Three dimensions of textual coherence were evaluated, namely macrostructural, microstructural and situational coherence. The results show that the students progressed significantly in each of these dimensions and this finding confirms the usefulness of equipping students with strategies specific to the type of text being taught.
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L’écriture est une des tâches scolaires les plus complexes puisqu’elle fait appel à plusieurs compétences mobilisées simultanément. Pour les élèves francophones vivant en milieu linguistique minoritaire, son apprentissage n’est pas sans défis. On expose ici quatre défis majeurs: les deux premiers sont liés au rapport que les élèves entretiennent avec le français langue minoritaire, et les deux suivants font référence à des réalités plus proprement scolaires. Pour chacun des défis, on propose des pistes d’intervention pédagogique. Tenant compte des compétences langagières hétérogènes des élèves, celles-ci visent à déscolariser l’activité de production écrite pour la rendre authentique et significative aux yeux mêmes des élèves; elles visent également à rendre explicite la démarche rédactionnelle et à développer chez les élèves une compétence scripturale en mettant l’accent sur le message à transmettre et sur la cohérence des textes; elles visent enfin à valoriser l’écriture dans les apprentissages scolaires autres que ceux relevant strictement de la classe de français ainsi que dans la construction des savoirs. La mise en place de ces mesures dans une dynamique intégratrice au sein des pratiques pédagogiques peut permettre de relever les défis de l’enseignement-apprentissage de l’écriture en milieu francophone minoritaire.
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This study evaluated the effectiveness of a comprehension program integrated with social studies instruction designed for at-risk second graders. The program included instruction in cause-effect text structure, emphasizing clue words, generic questions, graphic organizers, and the close analysis of specially constructed cause-effect target paragraphs. This program was compared (a) to a content-only program that focused only on social studies and did not include text structure instruction and (b) to a no-instruction control. Fifteen classroom teachers, randomly assigned to treatment, provided the instruction. The program improved the comprehension of instructional cause-effect texts, and there were transfer effects on some comprehension measures. The performance of the 2 instructed groups did not differ on any of the content measures, indicating that such integrated instruction can be accomplished without a loss in the amount of content acquired. This study supports our previous findings on the effectiveness of explicit instruction at the primary-grade level.
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Expository writing is an important skill in the upper-elementary and secondary grades. Yet few studies have examined the effects of interventions designed to increase students' expository writing abilities and their ability to generalize their knowledge to write expository texts using novel text structures. The present study examined the effects of an intervention that attempted to improve students' expository writing abilities through an instructional emphasis on teacher and student dialogues about expository writing strategies, text structure processes, and self-regulated learning. The findings suggested that the dialogic instruction was effective (a) in promoting students' expository writing abilities on two text structures taught during the intervention (explanation and comparison/contrast) and (b) in leading to improved abilities on a near transfer activity, in which students wrote using a text structure not taught during the intervention. Although students in the control group exhibited some pretest-posttest gains on specific text structures, they were not successful in using their knowledge to write about student-selected topics and text structures. The results support the importance of instruction that makes the writing processes and strategies visible to students through teacher-student and student-student dialogues.
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The major question driving this study was whether writing in combination with reading prompts more critical thinking than reading alone, writing alone, or either activity combined with questions or with a knowledge activation activity. To answer this question, the authors randomly assigned 137 undergraduate students to one of 12 treatment groups involving combinations of the following conditions in relation to one of two topics: (a) an introductory activity (writing a letter to the editor, engaging in a knowledge activation task, or no activity); (b) a reading condition (reading or not reading an editorial passage about the topic); and (c) a question condition (answering or not answering questions related to the topic). Subsequent to these activities, all subjects wrote a letter to the editor (or a second draft if they had already written one) and responded to debriefing questions about the tasks. Analyses were conducted of the subjects' letters and revisions, responses to the questions, and debriefing comments. Significant differences emerged between students who both wrote and read and students in any of the other treatment groups. For example, an examination of the revisions suggested that students who both wrote and read produced significantly more changes than students who wrote but did not read. And, if thinking critically entails a greater willingness to revise one's position on an issue, then the data from the debriefing comments suggest that reading and writing in combination are more likely to prompt critical thinking than when reading is separated from writing or when reading is combined with knowledge activation or answering questions. /// [French] La question au coeur de cette recherche: est est-ce que l'écriture favorise davantage la pensée critique lorsqu'elle est associée à la lecture, que lorsque l'une ou l'autre est exploitée seule ou lorsque l'une ou l'autre est combinée avec des questions ou avec des activités d'activation de connaissances? Pour répondre à cette question, les auteurs ont assigné au hasard 137 étudiants américains à l'une des 12 conditions expérimentales définies par la combinaison de chacune des activités suivantes réalisées autour de deux thèmes différents: (a) une activité de pré-lecture (écrire une lettre à un éditeur, participer à une activité d'activation de connaissances, aucune activité); (b) une activité de lecture (lire ou ne pas lire un texte éditorial sur un des thèmes); (c) une activité de questionnement (répondre ou ne pas répondre à des questions reliées aux thèmes). A la suite de ces activités, les sujets devaient écrire une lettre à un éditeur (une seconde version, s'ils en avaient déjà écrit une) et répondaient à des questions sur les tâches dans le cadre d'une entrevue. Les données ont été recueillies à partir des lettres produites, des réponses aux questions et des commentaires recueillis au cours des entrevues. Les résultats montrèrent des différences significatives entre les sujets soumis aux conditions combinant lecture et écriture et ceux soumis aux autres conditions. Par exemple, on observa beaucoup plus de changements entre les deux versions de lettres chez les sujets qui ont été soumis aux deux activités combinées (lecture et écriture), que chez les sujets qui n'ont pas lu le texte. De même, selon l'evidence des commentaires, ces sujets ont modifié plus fréquemment leur position par rapport au sujet traité que les sujets des autres groupes ce qui constitue un autre indice de pensée critique. /// [Spanish] La interrogante más importante atrás de este estudio fue descubrir si la escritura en combinación con la lectura promueve más el pensamiento crítico que la lectura por sí misma, la escritura por sí misma, o cualquiera de las dos actividades combinadas con preguntas o con una actividad activadora de conocimiento. Para responder a esta pregunta, los autores asignaron al azar a 137 estudiantes universitarios estadounidenses, a una de 12 tratamientos involucrando combinaciones de las siguientes actividades, en relación con uno o dos temas: (a) una condición de prelectura (escribir una carta al editor, envolverse en una tarea de activación de conocimiento, o ninguna actividad); (b) una condición de lectura (leer o no leer un pasaje editorial sobre el tema); y (c) una condición de preguntas (contestar o no preguntas relacionadas al tema). Subsecuentemente a estas actividades, todos los sujetos escribieron una carta al editor (o un segundo borrador si ya habían escrito una) y respondieron a preguntas de sondeo sobre las tareas. Se condujeron análisis de las cartas de los sujetos y de las revisiones, de las respuestas a las preguntas y los comentarios de sondeo. Se encontró que hubo diferencias significativas entre los estudiantes que hicieron ambas cosas, escribir y leer; y todos los demás estudiantes en los otros tratamientos. Por ejemplo, un examen de las revisiones sugiere que los estudiantes que escribieron y leyeron, tuvieron significativamente más cambios que los estudiantes que sólo escribieron pero no leyeron. Y, si el pensar de forma crítica entraña una actitud más positiva a cambiar de opinión sobre un tema, entonces los datos de los comentarios de sondeo sugieren que la combinación de lectura y escritura promueven más fácilmente el pensamiento crítico que cuando se separa la lectura de la escritura o cuando la lectura se combina con la activación de conocimiento o con preguntas. /// [German] Die hauptfrage, die sich hinter dieser Studie versteckte, war, ob Schreiben zusammen mit Lesen ein verstärktes kritisches Denken hervorrufen würde als Lesen allein, Schreiben allein oder eine dieser beiden Aktivitäten verbunden mit Fragen oder mit einer Uebung, die Wissen aktiviert. Um diese Frage zu beantworten, wiesen die Verfasser 137 amerikanischen Studenten willkürlich einer von zwölf Situationen zu. Bei diesen Situationen handelt es sich um Kombinationen der folgenden Aktivitäten in bezug auf eins von zwei Themen: (a) eine Uebung vor dem Lesen (einen Brief au den Redakteur schreiben; an einer Uebung teilnehmen, bei der Wissen abgerufen wird; oder keinerlei Aktivität); (b) eine Lesehandlung (Lesen oder Nicht-Lesen eines Leitartikels oder Teils eines Leitartikels über das Thema); (c) eine Befragungsübung (Beantworten oder Nicht-Beantworten von Fragen, die sich aufs Thema beziehen). Im Anschluß an diese Aktivitäten schreiben alle Teilnehmer entweder einen Brief an den Redakteur oder einen zweiten, falls sie bereits einen geschrieben hatten, und antworteten auf Abschlußfragen zu diesen Aufgaben. Die Briefe und Revisionen, Antworten auf die Fragen und Abschlußbemerkungen wurden dann ausgewertet. Wesentliche Unterschiede machten sich zwischen den Studenten, die lasen und schrieben, und denen, die in irgendeiner der anderen Situationen teilnahmen, bemerkbar. So deutete z.B. eine nähere Untersuchung der Revisionen darauf hin, daß die Studenten, die schrieben und lasen, wesentlich mehr Aenderungen durchführten als diejenigen, die zwar schrieben, dafür aber nicht lasen. Falls kritisches Denken eine größere Bereitschaft zum Aendern des eigenen Standpunkts herbeiführen sollte, dann lassen die Daten der Abschlußbesprechung vermuten, daß Lesen und Schreiben zusammen eher ein kritisches Denken wecken als wenn Lesen und Schreiben getrennt werden oder wenn Lesen zusammen mit einer Wissensaktivierung oder-befragung auftritt.
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Although few studies have examined children's use of text structure in writing, knowledge of text structure is presumed to be an important strategy underlying effective expository text generation. The purpose of this study was to examine the ability of writers at two ages and three ability levels in generating textually consistent superordinate main ideas and subordinate details for three types of text structures. Analyses revealed significant main effects for grade, ability, and text type. More proficient writers seemed to possess a more generalized knowledge of text structure that they applied at both the superordinate and subordinate levels, whereas less proficient writers seemed to perform best in writing subordinate details. The findings supported the conclusion that knowledge of text structure was developmentally acquired, and that text structures varied in their saliency to young writers, although the majority of writers at both grade levels remained largely insensitive to text structure in composition. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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This article addresses instructional issues related to the teaching of expository writing. Exceptional students' writing difficulties are examined in relationship to the writing process, expository text structures, and students' metacognitive knowledge. Approaches to the teaching of expository writing are discussed, and a dialogic approach, involving teacher modeling and a series of think sheets, is described.
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Mildly handicapped students experience serious difficulties in expository writing. Although researchers have documented the difficulties these students have with the mechanics of writing (Myklebust, 1973; Poplin, Gray, Larsen, Banikoski, & Mehring, 1980), there are more formidable and less visible difficulties in their abilities to construct well-formed prose and in the thinking processes that underlie text composition.
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This article describes three years of research in intensive long-term writing intervention with adolescents with learning disabilities (LD) and low achievement. The rationale, the process of strategy development, the intervention procedures, and data obtained are all summarized, and research and practical implications presented. More important, reflections on the interventions are offered that may resonate with other intervention researchers.
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Text structures are considered important organizational schemes underlying effective comprehension and production of expository discourse. The present study examined the differential text structure skills in reading and writing of learning disabled students and two groups of regular class students. The results revealed significant differences between learning disabled students and their regular class peers in the use of text structure in both reading and writing expository discourse. The data support the notion that knowledge of discourse types underlies effective comprehension and production and that learning disabled students' conceptual understanding of these structures is limited.
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The emphasis in this paper is on access, defined as the ability to draw on or utilize one’s intellectual resources in situations where those resources are relevant. A number of factors influence access. They have been identified in various strands of research representing different construct and curriculum perspectives. To date, few attempts have been made to synthesize this research. This is the purpose of the present paper, which utilizes a framework thought to have relevance across research domains. According to this framework, two factors influence students’ ability to access knowledge, strategy, and disposition. The first is organizational in nature, the second relates to the amount of reflective awareness possessed by the individual. This paper discusses how organization and awareness factors influence access in each of the informational categories and how teachers can better attend to these factors and thus promote access or transfer in students.
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A bulwark of democracy is an informed electorate. Recently, disturbing evidence has been presented indicating that young Americans lack the knowledge of democratic principles and history required by our democracy. One explanation for this complex problem concerns the nature of the social studies instruction that our children are receiving. In this article, common practices in social studies instruction are described and critiqued, and an alternative, more conceptually based model of history instruction that is of potential benefit to students with learning disabilities is proposed.
Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners
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  • D W Carnine
The impact of text structure and social context on students' comprehension and production of expository text
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  • C S Englert
  • B W Kirschner
The effects of instruction in compare/contrast text structure on sixth-grade students' reading comprehension and writing products
  • T E Raphael
  • B M Kirschner
An examination of the effects of an integrated reading and writing instructional approach on the ability of middle school students to produce and comprehend compare/contrast text structure
  • S V Dickson
Effects of topic familiarity and training in generative learning activities on poor readers' comprehension of comparison/contrast expository text structure: Transfer to real-world materials
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  • E Balajthy