An Exploration of Comprehension Instruction in Content-Area Elementary Classes
Type of DegreeDissertation
Curriculum and Teaching
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Scores on national and international tests for students in the United States indicated that students are not performing proficiently in reading. Furthermore, students are not able to comprehend complex reading tasks, which resulted in an adolescent literacy crisis (NGA & CCSO, 2010). In this collective case study, I explored ways four fifth grade content-area teachers incorporate reading comprehension instruction, and how their attitudes influence their instructional practices. I collected ten days of lesson plans for each subject taught from the participants. I also conducted four semistructured interviews with each research participant. I coded the lesson plan and interview data using content analysis. While analyzing the data, I noticed five themes. The themes were: Common Core State Standards (NGA & CCSO, 2010), perceived instructional practices, perceived role of the teacher, perceived students’ abilities, and professional development. The findings of the study suggested the teachers incorporate reading comprehension instruction because administrators require it. Furthermore, the teachers’ responses suggested a high sense of self-efficacy, and they wanted their students to excel academically regardless of the instructional strategies and skills they may need to incorporate in their lessons. The findings of this study can help elementary teacher education programs structure their programs to prepare preservice teachers for teaching elementary content-area subjects through literacy. Additionally, the findings suggest the need for additional training and resources for elementary teachers practicing as content-area specialists.