About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 4974-4981
Publication year: 2011
ISBN: 978-84-615-3324-4
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 14-16 November, 2011
Location: Madrid, Spain

DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION PROGRAM TO IMPROVE YOUNG PUPILS’ READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS

T. Merisuo-Storm, M. Soininen

University of Turku (FINLAND)
In the beginning of the study the participants (n=598) studied at second grade in 17 schools in Southern Finland. At that time (spring 2010) they were 8–9 years old. Most of them (94%) speak Finnish as their first language. The pupils 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. Especially difficult proved to be a question that required inference skills. In addition, more than half of the pupils could not put together information from different places of the text or understand that also pictures provide information. Deriving the meaning of the words and explaining them proved to be even more demanding. Eight words were so difficult that only 10–27 % of the pupils explained them correctly. The most difficult were abstract words and words that have different meanings in different contexts. It was obvious that there was a need to improve pupils’ skills. For that purpose, we constructed based on the test results and research literature 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 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 locate cues in the text that help them to derive the meanings of unknown words. Several tasks demonstrate that a word can have many different meanings.
The intervention program was carried out in autumn 2010. When the reading comprehension test was repeated in spring 2011 there were so many changes in the classes that only 346 pupils (57%) were the same as in the initial test. Of these pupils 149 had taken part in the intervention program. The results show that the pupils’ comprehension skills had improved significantly during the third school year. Now 50 % of the pupils answered 8–10 questions correctly. There was not a significant difference in the results of the classes that took part in the intervention program and the other classes. However, the word explaining skills had developed better in the intervention classes. In second grade 60 % of the pupils had had very poor results (0–3 correct explanations) but on third grade in intervention classes only 19 % performed poorly. In the other classes 30 % of the pupils still had great difficulties (0–3 correct explanations) in explaining the words.
A major problem related to the study is the fact that many children in Finnish schools change classes when they move from second to third grade. Therefore, there were many pupils who took part only in one of the tests. In future, we should repeat the whole program (initial test, intervention, repeated test) with a smaller group during one school year. Then it would also be easier to know how well the teachers follow our instructions when they carry out the intervention program in their classes.
@InProceedings{MERISUOSTORM2011DEV2,
author = {Merisuo-Storm, T. and Soininen, M.},
title = {DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION PROGRAM TO IMPROVE YOUNG PUPILS’ READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS},
series = {4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2011 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-615-3324-4},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {14-16 November, 2011},
year = {2011},
pages = {4974-4981}}
TY - CONF
AU - T. Merisuo-Storm AU - M. Soininen
TI - DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION PROGRAM TO IMPROVE YOUNG PUPILS’ READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS
SN - 978-84-615-3324-4/2340-1095
PY - 2011
Y1 - 14-16 November, 2011
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 4th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2011 Proceedings
SP - 4974
EP - 4981
ER -
T. Merisuo-Storm, M. Soininen (2011) DEVELOPING AN INTERVENTION PROGRAM TO IMPROVE YOUNG PUPILS’ READING COMPREHENSION SKILLS, ICERI2011 Proceedings, pp. 4974-4981.
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