About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4334-4342
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-614-7423-3
ISSN: 2340-1079

Conference name: 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 7-9 March, 2011
Location: Valencia, Spain


T. Merisuo-Storm, M. Soininen

University of Turku (FINLAND)
Initial test
In the beginning of the study the participants (n=598; 296 girls, 290 boys) studied at second grade in 17 schools in Southern Finland. At that time they were 8–9 years old. Most of them (94%) speak Finnish as their first language.
The initial test was conducted in Spring 2010, at the end of the pupils’ second school year. Their task was to read a short article (100 words; 795 characters with spaces) from a children’s page in an easy to read newspaper. After that they answered eight questions based on the article and wrote what the ten words underlined in the text mean in this particular text. To three questions one can find the answers in the text and to one question in the photo related to the text, but to be able to answer four questions correctly one needs inference skills. Of the ten underlined words six have different meanings in different contexts.
Three questions were too difficult for more than half of the pupils. The most difficult was the question related to the photo beside the text. It seems that the majority of the pupils (64%) did not understand that also pictures provide information. Another question was equally difficult (63%). When answering it the pupil had to put together information from two different places of the text. The third difficult question requires inference skills. Only 57 per cent of the pupils succeeded in answering it. Deriving the meaning of the words and explaining them proved to be even more demanding. Eight words were so difficult that only 10–27 per cent of the pupils explained them correctly. The most difficult words are abstract words and some of them have different meanings in different contexts. It was obvious that there was a need to improve pupils’ skills. For that purpose, we constructed an intervention program.
The goal was to develop a program that improves pupils’ skills in comprehending various kinds of texts, deriving word meanings from written context, and explaining word meanings. The program includes ten learning sessions that last from one hour to three hours. The most important activities during these sessions are the discussions the pupils have in small groups. In the beginning of each session they read a text. The texts represent various kinds of fiction and non-fiction. After reading a text the pupils discuss the questions related to the text. In addition, they learn to use different comprehension strategies. They also try to find cues in the text that help them to derive the meanings of new words. Several tasks demonstrate that a word can have many different meanings.
The intervention program has been carried out in autumn 2010. About 200 pupils, now in third grade, take part in it. In the beginning of the year 2011 we plan to repeat the reading comprehension test. The aim is to measure the skills of all the 598 pupils that took part in the initial testing. The results of the two tests will be compared. To find out if the intervention program has improved pupils’ skills we will compare the development of pupils’ skills in the classes that took part in the intervention program and in the other classes.
author = {Merisuo-Storm, T. and Soininen, M.},
series = {5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference},
booktitle = {INTED2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-614-7423-3},
issn = {2340-1079},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Valencia, Spain},
month = {7-9 March, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {4334-4342}}
AU - T. Merisuo-Storm AU - M. Soininen
SN - 978-84-614-7423-3/2340-1079
PY - 2011
Y1 - 7-9 March, 2011
CI - Valencia, Spain
JO - 5th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
JA - INTED2011 Proceedings
SP - 4334
EP - 4342
ER -
T. Merisuo-Storm, M. Soininen (2011) DEVELOPING YOUNG PUPILS’ READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS, INTED2011 Proceedings, pp. 4334-4342.