The Direct Teaching of Thinking Skills for Improvement of Reading Comprehension Skills
Aegler, Carl A.
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The problem: The purpose of this study was to determine whether a difference existed in reading comprehension test scores between groups receiving traditional reading instruction and traditional reading instruction with specific thinking skills. The study also investigated the effect of I Q and gender on thinking skills and reading comprehension. Procedures: A sample of 257 fifth-grade students were taught regular reading instruction with the experimental Grow receivinq the first 10 lessons of Edward deBono's Coqnitive Research Trust(CoRT)Thinkinq Skills Proqram. Instruction consisted of one 35-minute lesson per week over a 10-week period. Students were pretested and posttested with the Stanford Diaqnostic Reading Test, 3rd Edition. All test results were subjected to Analysis of Covariance which adjusted mean scores. Findinqs: All students experienced significant gains in reading comprehension over the 10-week study. However, no statistically significant differences were found to exist between the experimental and control groups. The study revealed that students in the high and middle IQ groups experienced similar gains, both significantly higher than students in the low IQ group. No differences were found to exist in gain scores due to gender. Conclusions: The evidence presented in this study indicated gains in reading comprehension scores can be attributed to the scope and sequence of the reading curriculum and to the maturation of the students over the 10-week period. In this study, the specific thinking skills course, for the purpose of improving reading comprehension, was ineffective, Recommendations: To maximize the effect of specific thinking skills lessons, it is recommended that classroom teachers be the instructors for the program. Staff development would assist the teachers in integrating the specific thinking skills into all instructional areas, thus providing additional practice time for students. Evaluation should occur after the complete program of 60 le ssons has been taught. Investigation into the effectiveness of specific thinking programs in all academic domains may provide the basis for additional research.
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