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Metacomprehension and reading proficiency McEwan, Patricia 1993

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METACOMPREHENSION AND READING PROFICIENCYbyPatricia McEwanB. Ed., University of British Columbia, 1988Diploma in Education, University of British Columbia, 1991A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OFTHE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OFMASTER OF ARTSinTHE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES(Department of Language Education)We accept this Thesis as conformingto the required standardTHE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIAMarch, 1993© Patricia McEwan, 1993In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of therequirements for an advanced degree at the University of BritishColumbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freelyavailable for reference and study. I further agree thatpermission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarlypurposes may be granted by the head of my department or by hisor her representatives. It is understood that copying orpublication of this thesis for financial gain shall not beallowed without my written permission.(SignatureDepartment of  Locçe Edvc,cti-i The University of British ColumbiaVancouver, CanadaDate  Apr i I 2q-tk t,qci ABSTRACTThe purpose of this study was to investigate whetherchildren, 6 and 7 years old, who received direct teaching andmodelling of specific metacognitive strategies would show agreater increase in reading comprehension and metacognitivestrategy awareness, as compared to a control group who did notreceive any such treatment. A second purpose was to determineif the treatment would have a greater or lesser effect on thereading comprehension of children dependent on their initiallevel of metacomprehension awareness.A pretest - posttest control group design was used.Subjects were 27 children in their third year of school(formerly called Grade 2, 6 and 7-year-olds) from two differentmulti-age classes in the same school. Children were assigned tothe two groups using the matched pairs technique based on thepretest of the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B Form1. All subjects were tested individually on the Meta-comprehension Strategy Index on that same day. Both groupsreceived instruction for 1 hour daily, Monday through Thursdayfor a 4 week period. The experimental group received 30 minutesof direct teaching of metacomprehension strategies, and then 30minutes of a reading lesson with the reader Adventures With Mac.In place of the experimental procedure, the control group wasread to by the control teacher, and then they were given time toi iread independently or with a partner. The following 30 minutesof the lesson was the same reading lesson with the readerAdventures With Mac that the experimental group received.Following the 4 week study period, both groups then tookthe posttest of the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test Primary Form2, and they were again tested individually on the Meta-comprehension Strategy Index. The children in the experimentalgroup did not show a statistically significant difference in themean gain scores on the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test. Thechildren in the experimental group did show statisticallysignificant mean gain scores on the modified MetacomprehensionStrategy Index compared to the children in the control group.Qualitative observations during and after the studyindicated the need to develop tools to help teachers tounderstand, record and evaluate children's metacomprehensionstrategy awareness, so that they can plan and carry out areading program to lead each child towards becoming a proficientreader.iiiTABLE OF CONTENTSABSTRACT^ iiLIST OF TABLES^ viiLIST OF FIGURES viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTS^ ix1. METACOMPREHENSION AND READING PROFICIENCY^ 11.1 Introduction^ 11.2 Reading as an Active Process^ 31.3 The Role of Comprehension 41.4 Purposes of the Study^ 72. THE EFFECTS OF METACOMPREHENSION STRATEGIES ONREADING COMPREHENSION^ 92.1 Introduction 92.2 The Reading Process - A Meaning MakingProcess^ 102.3 Unlocking Meaning from Text^ 122.4 Instructional Focus for Teaching Reading.. ^ 142.5 Planning and Implementation ofMetacognitive Strategies in ReadingInstruction^ 182.6 Research Questions^ 233. METHOD^ 253.1 Overview^ 253.2 Design 263.3 Subjects^ 283.4 Instructional Procedures^ 31iv3.5 The Reading Comprehension Measure^ 333.6 The Metacomprehension Measure 363.7 Data Analysis and Hypothesis Testing^ 383.8 Statistical Tests^ 403.8.1 Analysis of Variance(ANOVA)^ 403.8.2 Analysis of Covariance(ANCOVA)^ 423.8.3 Applications of Analysis ofCovariance to Hypothesis III^ 443.9 Limitations of the Study^ 464. RESULTS AND DISCUSSION^ 484.1 Summary of the Problem^ 484.2 Tests of Hypothesis I 484.3 Discussion of Hypothesis I^ 494.4 Tests of Hypothesis II 534.5 Discussion of Hypothesis II^ 544.6 Tests of Hypothesis III 574.7 Discussion of Hypothesis III^ 604.8 Qualitative Findings^ 634.8.1 The Experimental Period^ 644.8.2 The Post-Experimental Period^ 654.8.3 Qualitative Conclusions^ 675. SUMMARY AND DISCUSSION - IMPLICATIONS FOR FURTHEREDUCATIONAL RESEARCH^ 705.1 Summary of the Purposes of the Study^ 705.2 Limitations of the Study^ 715.3 Conclusions^ 735.4 Implications for Further EducationalResearch 74VREFERENCES ^APPENDIX A:APPENDIX B:79Sample Lesson Plan - Control Group^ 84Blank Format Sheet for Teaching ofMetacomprehens ion Strategies^ 87Sample Lesson Plan - Experimental Group^ 91Modified Metacomprehension Strategy Index. ^ 96Data for Pretests and Posttest of Gates -MacGinitie and Modified MSI^ 100Data for ANOVA on Groups' Mean Gain Scoreson Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test^ 102Data for ANOVA on Groups' Mean Gain Scoreson Modified MSI^ 104Data for ANCOVA showing Gain Scores inReading Comprehension as a function ofIncoming Modified MSI Level 106APPENDIX C:APPENDIX D:APPENDIX E:APPENDIX F:APPENDIX G:APPENDIX H:viLIST OF TABLESTable^ Page1. Design of the Study^ 282. Characteristics of the Sample^ 303. Mean Gain Scores of Reading Comprehension asMeasured by the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test^ 494. Mean Gain Scores of Metacomprehension Awarenessas Measured by the Modified MSI^ 54viiLIST OF FIGURESNumber^ Page1. Scatterplot Showing Control Group's MeanComprehension Gains as a Function ofIncoming Modified MSI Level^ 582 Scatterplot Showing Experimental Group's MeanComprehension Gains as a Function ofIncoming Modified MSI Level^ 59viiiACKNOWLEDGEMENTSThe author would like to thank all children, parents andadministrators who made this study possible to take place.Special thanks go to Mrs. Terra Higgins, Mrs. Dorothy Robertson,and Mrs. Betty Williams for generously providing their time,expertise, and students for the study.To Dr. Kenneth Reeder, my thesis advisor, for his guidance,and patience.I would also like to thank the members of my committee inthe Department of Language Education, Dr. Marilyn Chapman, Dr.Robert Chester, and Dr. Claire Staab.Special thanks need to be made to my sister Katherine forher unfailing encouragement, and above all, to my fiance, Paul,for his faith in me from the beginning and for his willingnessto put his life on hold for two years as I pursued this goal.ixCHAPTER ONEMetacomprehension And Reading Proficiency1.1 IntroductionTheories of teaching reading have been an area ofeducational interest for many years and have experienced astrong renewal of interest in the past 5 years. Educators haveknown how vital the three cueing systems are to the process ofreading for many years now (Goodman, K. 1973). It is widelyaccepted that beginning readers make use of the grapho-phonicsystem (the relationship between sounds and letters), thesyntactic or grammatical system and the semantic or meaningsystem of language (Clay 1961 & Goodman, 1971). "Beginningreaders" is used here to describe children who are 6 or 7 yearsold and who are in the early stages of formal readinginstruction. Some children may be considered "emergent" whileother may be able to read fluently. Although researchers andeducators often speak separately of the three different cueingsystems, it is argued that "...they are a part of an integratedwhole, and that without integration the reading process breaksdown" (Cochrane et al. 1985, p. 10).In addition, over the last 5 years with the introduction ofBritish Columbia's Year 2000 - A Learner-Focused Curriculum and1Assessment Framework for the Future draft document (1989) andWhole Language philosophy into primary classrooms, readingtheory has been reexamined, and instructional guidelinesreshaped.The "Whole Language" philosophy espoused by the Year 2000 -A Learner-Focused Curriculum and Assessment Framework for theFuture draft document (1989) and its ensuing publicationsmaintain that keeping language "whole" by integrating the fourlanguage strands (reading, writing, speaking and listening) intoeach lesson is critical (Weaver, 1990).A debate continues over which approach should be used inteaching beginning reading skills, a code-emphasis or a meaning-emphasis approach. The code-emphasis approach initiallystresses breaking the alphabetic code, and the meaning-emphasisapproach is one that initially stresses getting meaning fromtext (Chall, 1983). Vellutino (1991) states:At the heart of the debate between code and meaningadvocates is the question of whether fluency(automaticity) in identifying words out of context isa prerequisite for effective and efficientcomprehension of what is read. On one side of thisdebate are the whole-language theorists.., who haveheld that reading is a context-driven process and thatskilled readers use semantic and syntactic constraintsin full measure to generate predictions as to thewords that are likely to appear in given contexts....Code-oriented theorists have taken an alternativeposition, contending that skilled reading in terms offacility in word identification is...a highlyautomatized modular process that need not import any2contextual information for its execution. Conversely,effective use of contextual information for purposesof comprehension is critically dependent on rapid andautomatic word identification. ...Accordingly,activities that engender automaticity in wordidentification should be a central component of thechild's instructional program. (pp. 437-438)1.2 Reading as an Active ProcessReading is considered an active mode of communication bythe whole-language theorists. Readers are thinkers trying tobring meaning to print by utilizing strategies that will helpthem to get meaning from the text. It is believed that thestrategies that the reader uses are: predicting; confirming, ordisconfirming and correcting; (Cochrane, Cochrane, Scalena, &Buchanan, 1985). The reader is enabled to use these strategiesthrough his or her knowledge and use each of the three languagecueing systems. Y. Goodman suggests that children make use ofthe cueing systems "...intuitively by virtue of being users ofa language." (1976) Others support this claim and propose thatchildren learn to read in much the same way that they learned totalk, "...gradually, naturally, without a great deal of directinstruction..." (Weaver, 1990, p. 6). Weaver suggests that"direct instruction" can take various forms, depending onwhether the instructional model is one of transmission or oftransaction. In the previous quote, Weaver is referring to thedirect instruction in a transmission model of teaching. In this3model isolated skills are taught by the teacher, and studentsthen practice these skills before being tested to determine ifmastery of the skills has occurred. In the context of thepresent study, "direct teaching" includes teacherdemonstrations, modelling of mental processes, and mini lessonswhere both the children and the teacher were actively involvedin discussions and activities intended to promote thedevelopment of strategies within meaningful contexts. Thislatter type of "direct teaching" would be consistent with atransactional model of teaching (Weaver, 1990).1.3 The Role of ComprehensionSome researchers believe that comprehension is vital in theprocess of reading. They promote the notion that "comprehensionmust be involved for reading to be taking place [and that] thereis no reading without comprehension" (Goodman, 1976). Paris andArbor (1991) suggest three significant aspects of readingcomprehension. First, they define comprehension strategies asthe various ways in which readers can get meaning from the text.Second, they think reading comprehension involves an awarenessof one's own thinking processes, known as metacognition, andthird, motivation to read is considered to be an aspect ofreading comprehension. "Strategic reading involves awarenessand self-control, two components of metacognition" (Paris &4Arbor, 1991, p.33).^The suggestion here is that strategicreading not only involves knowing about the different strategiesused to get meaning from text, but, in addition, to be aware ofwhy the strategy is used and which strategy would best fit thedemands of the present text. Cognitive awareness and choicemust be involved. Are teachers addressing this aspect ofreading in their instruction, and if so how? According toDurkin, (1978; 1979), teachers spend so much time askingquestions, giving directions, and maintaining order that theydevote little time to teaching children how to think whilereading.There have been studies that have indicated that childrenare able to learn metacognitive strategies. Paris, Cross, andLipson, (1984) conducted a 14 week study with 87 students in thethird grade and 83 students from the fifth grade from eightintact classes to test if giving students declarative,procedural and conditional knowledge (see page 18) about readingstrategies would improve their reading comprehension. Forexample:a lesson on skimming would describe the strategy andshow how to use it. In addition, children would betold when it is a useful strategy to apply (e.g., asa preview or review technique) and when it is not.But more than information was provided. Children hadopportunities to observe other people using strategiesand to practice them in the classroom. Dialogues withteachers and peers provided feedback and guidance.(p.1243)5Three modes of instruction were used: classroom lessons,bulletin board materials, and suggestions for the classroomteacher on how to use these strategies. The classroominstruction involved 30 minutes of group instruction twice aweek for the fourteen week study.The measures used in their study were the Comprehensionsubtest of the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Tests, the ParagraphReading subtest of the Test of Reading Comprehension, clozeprocedures that they developed, and error detection tasks.They found that:...children in the experimental classes generally hadgreater knowledge about reading strategies thanchildren in control classes. They also performedsignificantly better on cloze and error detectiontasks. ...The increased knowledge and strategy use ofchildren in experimental classes also reflected theirincreased awareness about reading. ...However, [thetreatment] did not lead to significant changes inchildren's GATES and TORC scores. The performanceimprovements on standardized, norm-referenced tests ofreading comprehension were comparable for experimentaland control groups at both grade levels. (p. 1248)Paris et al. (1984) pose questions which seem to revolve aroundthe relationship between metacognitive awareness and readingcomprehension. Does awareness of cognitive processes strengthenchildren's comprehension in reading? The problem is that thereis little research done with 6 and 7-year-olds to indicate thepresence of a relationship between cognitive awareness andreading comprehension.6This issue is of interest to teachers who could benefitfrom knowing whether it is meaningful to plan and carry outspecific lessons which teach children to think about what theydo as they read. Schmitt (1990) believes that, "comprehensionskill instruction should focus on the teaching of skills asstrategies for getting meaning" (p. 458). Looking at the issueon a larger scale, it becomes of great importance to publisherswho create and sell materials that teachers will buy to supporttheir programs. If metacomprehension is shown to be animportant aspect in the teaching of reading, then publisherswill be sure to include information for teachers aboutmetacomprehension strategies in their teaching guides. Durkin(1981) analyzed teachers' manuals and found that they steeredteachers into spending much of their time in questions relatedto the content of the story. Most of them provided little or noinstruction about how to read. If we could show thatmetacognitive tasks were involved in increasing readingcomprehension, then the manuals may begin to reflect this fact.Students in teacher training would also benefit fromunderstanding what metacognitive strategies, if any, mightimprove reading comprehension.1.4 Purposes of the StudyThe first purpose of this study was to determine whether7children, 6 and 7 years old, in the experimental group whoreceived the direct teaching and modelling of metacognitivestrategies would show a greater increase in readingcomprehension than a control group who received no suchinstruction.The second purpose of this study was to determine whetherthe children, 6 and 7 years old, in the experimental group whoreceived the direct teaching and modelling of metacognitivestrategies would show a greater increase in awareness ofmetacomprehension strategies than a control group.The third purpose of this study was to determine whetherthe treatment would have a greater or lesser effect on somechildren, depending on their initial level of metacomprehensionawareness.8CHAPTER TWOThe Effect Of Metacomprehension StrategiesOn Reading Comprehension2.1 IntroductionDoes awareness of metacognitive processes strengthenchildren's comprehension in reading? A problem for the presentstudy is that there is little research with children, 6 and 7years old, to show that the direct teaching of metacognitiveawareness strategies will increase reading comprehension.Metacognition refers to "...one's knowledge concerningone's own cognitive processes and products or anything relatedto them" (Flavell, 1976, p. 232). Metacomprehension refers to"...being aware that you have ... strategies [such as activatingone's own schema] that will help you to understand text better,and being able to use them consciously" (Weaver, 1988, p. 23).The word metacognition is used in this chapter with theunderstanding that we are speaking about awareness of one's owncognitive processes related to comprehension of text. Furtherdiscussion of metacognition and metacomprehension occur later inthis chapter.Some 6 and 7-year-olds develop into strong readers, while9others under the same instruction may struggle with the processof reading. What skills or knowledge do these strong readershave that poor readers are lacking? Are these strong readerslearning metacomprehension strategies intuitively? Will directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies to goodreaders alter their development in any way? Is direct teachingand modelling of metacomprehension strategies beneficial toimproving the comprehension of poor readers?There are many questions that educators, parents andstudents have and need answered about the process of reading.Before educators can effectively teach children to be goodreaders, they, themselves, must understand the reading processand what it really encompasses.2.2 The Reading Process - A Meaning Making ProcessWhat is reading? Here are some thoughts that childrenshared: (Harste 1977, p.92):"It's filling out workbooks.""Pronouncing the letters.""It's when you put the sounds together.""Reading is like learning hard words.""Reading is like thinking.. .you know, it'sunderstanding the story.""It's when you find out things."10However Becoming a Nation of Readers: The Report on theCommission on Reading (National Academy of Education, 1985)states that:Reading is the process of constructing meaning fromwritten texts. It is a complex skill requiring thecoordination of a number of interrelated sources ofinformation (1984 p. 7).The interpretation that one might take from this statement isthat reading is making meaning - understanding what you arereading. Additionally, we acquire the needed information tounderstand what we read through the use of various means. Y.Goodman (1976) would agree with the statement from theCommission on Reading. She believes that "ReadingComprehension" is a redundant phrase. She has argued thatreading, because of the constitutive nature of comprehensionwithin reading, cannot occur without comprehension.If a person does not understand a text, then that person isnot reading. Reflecting back to the statements from thechildren about what reading is, we now know that reading is notmerely filling out workbooks, pronouncing the letters, puttingsounds together or learning hard words. Rather, as one childstated, reading is understanding. If reading then, is thoughtto be obtaining meaning from the text, and readers apparently dothis with the use of various strategies, what then are thestrategies that readers use to obtain meaning?112.3 Unlocking Meaning From TextTo unlock meaning from the text, Cochrane et al. claim thatthe good reader uses the strategies of "...predicting;confirming; or disconfirming and correcting" (1985, P. 9).Readers bring all their experiences with them to the text whenthey read. This organized "chunk" of knowledge and experiencesis called a schema (Anderson, Spiro, & Anderson 1977; Rumelhart1980). A schema is a way in which we organize information, theorganization of knowledge into categories so that we can beginto understand, manage and use the vast amount of information weare flooded with daily.Prior knowledge organized into schemata aids readers inpredicting what the text will be about, and what will appearnext. For example, if they are reading about the beach, theirschemata of the beach might include: water, sand, bathing suits,hot weather, boats, sunshine, wind, buckets, shovels, picnicbaskets, etc. They will begin to create an image in their ownminds about what the beach may be like. If their predictionsare confirmed as they are reading, they will continue reading.However, if they find that their predictions are disconfirmedwithin their schemata they will then reread to try and gainmeaning. Perhaps through this rereading, they will confirmtheir original prediction and continue reading, or alter theirpredictions and integrate this information change into their12schema. When they have once again confirmed their predictions,or reevaluated and made new predictions, they will continuereading.The good reader is able to use the strategies ofpredicting, confirming and disconfirming through his use of thethree language cueing systems, according to Goodman, (1976).These cueing systems are as follows:Syntactic cues: that is, grammatical cues like wordorder, function words, and wordendingsSemantic cues: that is, meaning cues from eachsentence and from the developingwhole, as one progresses through theentire textGrapho/phonemic cues: that is, letter/sound axs, ttncorrespondences between letters(graphemes) and sounds (phonemes),[punctuation marks, and spacesbetween words] (Weaver, 1988, p. 4)Although the cueing systems are often separated when spokenof, it is essential to understand that "...they are a part of anintegrated whole, and that without integration the readingprocess breaks down" (Cochrane et al. 1985, p. 10). Goodreaders utilize all three cueing systems in "balance". Poorreaders often begin to rely on one cueing system more heavilythan the others and the reading process begins to break down andbecome less effective, simply because there is no longer abalance between the cueing systems. In most cases, it is the13grapho-phonemic cueing system that poor readers tend to over-utilize. "Since the reader's energies are focused on lowerlevel reading processes such as decoding, there is little leftfor the application of higher order mental processes used forcomprehension" (Ellis, 1989 p. 409). They do not expect orunderstand that the text should make sense and they do notmonitor their understanding of what they are reading as goodreaders do.Why is it that under the same instruction, some childrenunderstand and expect that the text should make sense andmonitor their understanding as they read and others do not? Dogood readers learn to do this intuitively? If poor readers donot learn these skills intuitively, how then, can they providedwith this information?2.4 Instructional Focus for Teaching ReadingDurkin (1981) analyzed teacher's manuals and found that thefocus provided for teachers was on assessing the content of thereading material through question and answer sessions.Traditional basal reading lessons included "little comprehensioninstruction and ... the teacher's editions seldom includedinformation about the cognitive strategies students weresupposed to master" (Winograd & Paris, 1989 p. 31).14Although many teacher's manuals now include information forteachers about metacomprehension strategies, because thesereading series are not prescribed in British Columbia not allteachers have access to information about metacomprehensionstrategies. Some teachers may choose to use a newer readingseries that deals with the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies, and thus, are starting toincorporate this information into the planning of their readingprograms. Many other teachers, who may choose not to use abasal reading series, may get the information through workshops,professional reading, and/or university courses. All three ofthese sources provide a vast amount of information. However, ifthe direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies is shown to increase comprehension, shouldinformation about metacomprehension strategies be limited toonly those teachers who choose to take additional universitycourses, do a lot of professional reading, attend workshops ordecide to use a basal reading series? The argument is that allteachers should have free equal access to current informationand research on the effects of the direct teaching and modellingof metacomprehension strategies on increased readingcomprehension. If all teachers are not provided with free equalaccess to current information about the process of reading, howcan they effectively teach poor readers to be good readers,unless, they, themselves, understand the reading process andwhat it really encompasses. If teachers are not provided with15the means to teach metacomprehension strategies to children isit any wonder that poor readers do not develop adequatecomprehension strategies for what they read?What is it then that strong readers do that poor readers donot do? According to Davey (1983) poor readers:-do not form good hypothesis about the text's meaningbefore they begin to read it (Bruce and Rubin, 1981)-do not spontaneously organize information into mentalimages while they read (Gagne and Memory, 1978; Levin,1973)-do not effectively use their prior knowledge aboutthe topic (Spiro, 1980)-do not always monitor how well they are comprehendingas they go along (Baker, 1979)-do not seem to have active ways to fix up thedifficulty when they have comprehension problems(Brown, Campione, and Day, 1981).Durkin (1978; 1979) would argue that when teachers are"...actively, intensively, and systematically involved withinstruction in reading comprehension, students learn tocomprehend better than when instruction is incidental,undirected, or nonexistent."As mentioned in detail in Chapter One, Paris, Cross, andLipson (1984) taught children some metacomprehension strategiessuch as setting purposes for reading, activating priorknowledge, monitoring comprehension and other strategies.16Having a tool which would evaluate students' awareness ofmetacomprehension strategies would be useful to teachers sinceit has been proven that strong readers utilize metacomprehensionstrategies. (Paris & Jacobs, 1984; Schmitt, 1988) Thisinformation could be used in planning a reading program thatincludes explicit instruction in metacomprehension strategies(Paris et al., 1984). The Metacomprehension Strategy Index(MSI) (Schmitt, 1990) is a multiple choice questionnairedesigned to measure students' awareness of metacomprehensionstrategies, and help teachers focus. As previously defined inChapter 2 metacomprehension refers to "...being aware that youhave...strategies [such as activating one's own schema] thatwill help you to understand text better, and being able to usethem consciously" (Weaver, 1988, p. 23). The MSI measuresstudents' awareness of metacomprehension strategies. However,it doesn't measure their ability to use these strategiesconsciously which is the second component of metacomprehension.A reading miscue analysis accompanied by some teacher'squestions such as: Why were you thinking that? What strategiesdid you use to figure that out? etc. and then followed with anoral retelling would be an appropriate measure of how a readeris able to consciously use metacomprehension strategies whileinteracting with text. The results from the MSI can be used inplanning a program of reading comprehension for students.Further details on the MSI are provided in Chapter 3.172.5 Planning and Implementation of Metacognitive Strategies inReading InstructionMetacognitive awareness should be a focus for teachers whenplanning their instructional programs. As stated in thebeginning of the chapter, Flavell defines metacognition as"one's knowledge concerning one's own cognitive processes andproducts or anything related to them" (1976, p. 232). Takingthis concept of metacognition further, Brown (1982) splits itinto two parts: knowledge about various aspects of the learningsituation, and self regulatory activities that learners use toproduce comprehension. Subsequent examination and definition ofthe actual instructional process occurs with Paris, Lipson andWixson (1983) who divide metacognition instruction into threecategories:1. Declarative Knowledge - refers to the what ofcomprehension instruction - a simple description ordefinition of the skill.2. Procedural Knowledge - involves the how ofcomprehension instruction - how the skill orstrategy operates and how to use various steps orprocedures that are part of the strategy.3. Conditional Knowledge - involves the why and whenof comprehension instruction - why the strategy isimportant and why its mastery will improvecomprehension, and when the strategy should be usedand not used.How can teachers implement these metacognitive awarenessstrategies in reading? It has been shown that teacher modelling18techniques can be one way to teach metacognitive awarenessstrategies. Davey and Porter (1982) have devised a three partprocedure for teaching:1. The teacher first clarifies her own views on theprimacy of comprehension in reading.2. The teacher discusses with students his or her owncomprehension breakdowns during reading and some self-help strategies he or she uses (e.g. rereading, [and]reading ahead...)3. The teacher demonstrates comprehension strategieswhile reading aloud to students ("Oh, I don't know howto say this word, but I understand what it means fromthe words around it" or "I'm confused at this point,but maybe I'll understand if I read to the end of thisparagraph" or "This doesn't make sense - I'llreread.")Duffy, Roehler and Herrmann (1988) also support the needfor modelling and have devised a two part procedure for teachersto follow. Their two part activity is referred to as "MentalModelling" and is based on the research on mental rehearsals(Bandura, 1986), and on "think alouds" (Whimbey, 1985), as wellas on comprehension instruction research (Duffy et al., 1987).To provide this type of modelling for students teachers must:1. transfer metacognitive control from themselvesto the students; [and]2. model mental processes, not procedural steps(Duffy et al., p. 763)Mental modelling is similar to the three part procedure devised19by Davey and Porter (1982) in that mental modelling is makingthe teacher's mental processes visible to the children byspeaking aloud. However, Duffy et al. (1987) have tried to maketeachers aware of and distinguish between modelling mentalprocesses and modelling procedural steps. Modelling ofprocedures involves telling students directions or steps tofollow in carrying out a task. The following two examplesclearly illustrate the difference between modelling of mentalprocesses versus the modelling of procedural steps.T: I want to show you what I look at when I comeacross a word I don't know the meaning of. I'll talkout loud to show you how I figure it out.[Teacher reads] "The cocoa steamed fragrantly. "Hmm,I've heard that word fragrantly before, but I don'treally know what it means here. I know one of thewords right before it though -- steamed. I watched apot of boiling water once and there was steam comingfrom it. That water was hot, so this must havesomething to do with the cocoa being hot. OK, the panof hot cocoa is steaming on the stove. That meanssteam coming up and out, but that still doesn'texplain what fragrantly means. Let me think againabout the hot cocoa on the stove and try to use whatI already know about cocoa as a clue. Hot cocoabubbles, steams and ...smells! Hot cocoa smells good."The cocoa steamed fragrantly." That means it smelledgood![Teacher addresses the students.] Thinking about whatI already know about hot cocoa helped me figure outwhat the word meant. (p. 765)Compare this example to another lesson about using context toget meaning from text, in which the teacher is modellingprocedural steps to her students:20T: The first thing that you do is try to guess fromyour own experience what the word is. Do you knowwhat experience means? If you can predict what theword is then put the word into the sentence to see ifit makes sense.Second, if you can't guess, ask yourself if this isthe word defined in the passage? Look before andafter the word. If it is, then see if the word makessense.Third, ask yourself this: Is there a synonym for theword before or after the word? Do you know whatsynonym is? It's when the words have the samemeaning, like big and large.Fourth, ask yourself if you can guess what the word isby the general mood or feeling of the passage. Usingthese steps will help you to predict what the wordmight mean and it's faster than going to a dictionary.(p. 766)Mental modelling is explicit, and in turn, clearly makes visiblethe teacher's thinking so that the children can match theirthinking processes with the teacher's. Mental modellingdevelops a clearer picture in comparison to modelling ofprocedures where several scaffolding lessons might have to occurto ensure that the steps were remembered and subsequently,carried out correctly. Mental modelling does not portray asense of right and wrong as the procedure modelling does.Davey (1983) has developed a list of five teachingtechniques for mental modelling to help poor comprehenders toread for meaning:1. Make predictions. (Show how to develophypotheses.)212. Describe the picture you're forming in your headfrom the information. (Show how to develop imagesduring reading.)3. Share an analogy. (Show how to link priorknowledge with new information in text.)4. Verbalize a confusing point. (Show how youmonitor your ongoing comprehension.)5. Demonstrate fix-up strategies. (Show how yourcorrect your lagging comprehension.)Each one of these five techniques developed by Davey was used inthe example of the hot cocoa in which a teacher used mentalmodelling to show how context can help to determine wordmeaning. These concepts are very interrelated as are thefollowing four steps devised by Baumann and Schmitt.Baumann and Schmitt (1986) have produced a series of foursteps as a strategy for teaching comprehension skills. Each ofthese four steps can be applied to each technique that Davey hasdeveloped above because each of these techniques is essentiallya different skill in the process of reading that students needto practice and master. Mental modelling would fall into thethird of these four steps and could effectively be used at thefourth step as well. The steps are as follows:Step 1: WHAT is the reading skill?Step 2: WHY is the reading skill important tolearn?Step 3: HOW does one use the reading skill?Step 4: WHEN should the reading skill be used?22Baumann and Schmitt advocate the use of "think alouds" which aretimes when the teacher would model their thinking, similar tothe mental modelling procedures. Later, though, the thinkingaloud in Baumann and Schmitt's model shifts from being a teacheractivity to a student activity.2.6 Research QuestionsThe effects of direct teaching of metacomprehensionstrategies have been shown to be effective for low ability thirdgrade readers (Duffy et al., 1987); and for learning disabledchildren (Paris and Oka, 1989). However, the question remainsas to whether this direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies is effective in strengtheningmetacomprehension awareness and comprehension in 6 and 7-year-olds. Will all children benefit with improved comprehensionscores or will only the children having difficulty with readingbenefit? How will this direct instruction and modelling affectthe children who seem to learn these metacomprehensionstrategies intuitively, regardless of the program? Thesequestions and concerns need to be addressed through researchwhich focuses on direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies to 6 and 7-year-olds. If goodcomprehenders show an awareness and use of metacomprehensionstrategies, it seems logical that teachers would be interested23in knowing if planning a reading program that included thesemetacomprehension strategies would benefit all the students theyenrolled.1. The first question is whether 6 and 7-year-olds whoreceive the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies will show a greater increase in reading comprehensionover a control group who do not receive such instruction, asmeasured by the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B Forms1 and 2.2. The second question is whether 6 and 7-year-olds whoreceive the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies will show a greater increase in metacomprehensionawareness as measured by the modified Metacomprehension StrategyIndex.3. The third question, which relates directly to thefirst, is whether the treatment would have a greater or lessereffect on the reading comprehension gain scores of some 6 and 7-year-olds, depending on their initial level of metacomprehensionawareness as measured by the pretest of the modifiedMetacomprehension Strategy Index.24CHAPTER THREEMethod3.1 OverviewThe purpose of this study was to examine three problems.The first problem of this study was to determine whether 6 and7-year-olds at the beginning of their third year in school(formerly called Grade 2) who received the direct teaching andmodelling of metacomprehension strategies would show a greaterincrease in reading comprehension over the control group whoreceived no such instruction as measured by the Gates MacGinitieReading Test - Primary B Forms 1 and 2. The second problem ofthis study was to determine whether 6 and 7-year-olds in theexperimental group who received direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies would show greater increase inmetacomprehension awareness as measured by the modifiedMetacomprehension Strategy Index. The third problem of thisstudy was to determine whether the treatment in the experimentalgroup would have a greater or lesser effect on some 6 and 7-year-olds depending on their initial level of metacomprehensionawareness as measured by the pretest of the modifiedMetacomprehension Strategy Index. The built-in dependentmeasure is reading comprehension, as measured by the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test.253.2 DesignThe design of this study was a Pretest - Posttest ControlGroup Design. There were approximately 27 children at thebeginning of their third year in school from two multi-ageclasses used as subjects for the study.On September 11th, 1992, all subjects took a pretest of theGates - MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B Form 1. Mrs.Dorothy Robertson, the teaching assistant in the school,individually administered the modified MetacomprehensionStrategy Index to each child.The children were assigned to the two groups by means ofthe matched pairs technique. This was based on the pretestcomprehension scores of the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test -Primary B - Form 1 taken on September 11th, 1992. Both thecontrol group and the experimental group received instructionfor 1 hour daily, Monday through Thursday for four weeks. Itwas originally intended that the children would receiveinstruction 5 hours per week, Monday through Friday, but inSeptember the teacher of the control group, Mrs. Terra Higgins,was changed to an 80% assignment from full time so she was onlyavailable to teach the control group Monday through Thursday.All the children were taught on Friday by Miss Patricia McEwanand that instruction focused on written composition.26The experimental group (Reading and Thinking Skills Group)received instruction from the student investigator, Miss P.McEwan. The control group (Reading Skills Group) receivedinstruction from Mrs. T. Higgins, who was also the school'slearning assistance teacher.Both groups received exactly the same lessons using thenovelette, Adventures with Mac. The experimental group receivedthe direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies, using mental modelling and think alouds as two maintechniques, from Miss P. McEwan. In place of these thinkingskills which were taught to the experimental group, the controlgroup was read to by Mrs. T. Higgins and then provided with sometime to read independently or with a partner. All othercomponents of the lessons were identical. More detail of thelessons is provided in the Section 3.4 Instructional Procedures.One month later, the subjects in both groups took aposttest of the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B -Form 2 and were again tested individually by Mrs. D. Robertsonon the modified Metacomprehension Strategy Index. The design ofthe study is summarized in Table 1.27TABLE 1Design of the StudyPurpose Independent^Dependent^DependentVariable Variable Measures#1^Treatment (C,E)^Mean gain scores^Gates -reading^MacGinitiecomprehension#2^Treatment (C,E)#3^Treatment (C,E)(X Beginning LevelMetacomprehens ionAwareness(Low - High)Mean gain scores^Modifiedmetacomprehension MSIstrategiesMean gain scores^Gates -reading^MacGinitiecomprehension3.3 SubjectsTwenty-seven children at the beginning of their third yearof school (n = 7 boys and 20 girls) were recruited from twomulti-age classes at Devon Gardens Elementary School. The twoteachers of the children who were recruited were Mrs. Betty28Williams and student investigator, Miss P. McEwan. The bases ofrecruitment were enrolment and the other teachers' willingnessto cooperate, similarity in composition of other class andsimilarity in instructional history.Two children dropped out of the study from the experimentalgroup. Consequently, their matched pairs from the control groupwere also dropped. Thus, 22 children, 6 boys and 16 girls, wereidentified, giving both the control and the experimental groups11 subjects each. On September 1st, 1992 they ranged in agefrom 6.8 to 7.8 years, with a mean age of 6.9 years. One of thechildren was not a native English speaker. Her mother tonguewas Cantonese and she was receiving E.S.L. assistance 3 times aweek for a 30 minute period. All of the other children in thestudy spoke English as their home language.29TABLE 2Characteristics of the SampleExperimental^ControlGender^9^ 82 3Average^7.0^7.1Ageyear/monthsRange in^6.9 - 7.8^6.8 - 7.8Ageyear/monthsPretest ScoresGatesMean^21.36^21.27Range 11-34 11-37Modified MSIMean^8.00^5.64Range 4-15 1-14All subjects lived in North Delta, British Columbia. The socio-economic status of their families was judged to be mostly middleclass status on the basis of the investigator's impression.Devon Gardens School has been a part of this suburban, singlefamily residential community for 28 years. It is a relativelysmall school with approximately 450 students enrolled,consisting of 18 classes of which 6 of the classes provide aFrench Immersion Programme. The English primary classes areorganized into three multi-age classes of children in their30second and third year of school, one class of children in theirfourth year of school and one multi-age class of children intheir fourth year of school and children in Grade 4.3.4 Instructional ProceduresThe 11 subjects in the control group (Reading Skills Group)received 1 hour of instruction on Monday through Thursday fromMrs. T. Higgins. The format of her lesson was as follows:15 min.^Story time - teacher reads novel to thechildren30 min. Reading Lesson - Adventures With Mac10 min.^Independent Reading - children choose alibrary book and read by themselves or witha partnerSample lesson appears in Appendix A.The 11 subjects in the experimental group (Reading andThinking Skills Group) received 1 hour of instruction, Mondaythrough Thursday, with student investigator, Miss P. McEwan.The format of her lesson was as follows:30 min. Direct Teaching and Modelling ofMetacomprehens ion Strategies30 min. Reading Lesson - Adventures with Mac31The first 30 minutes of the lesson encompassed the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies. Eachlesson focused on one new metacomprehension strategy, and reviewof strategies taught in previous lessons. The lesson began witha simple description or definition of the strategy, followedwith discussion of how the strategy worked, and how to use it.The teacher then made her thinking visible using the mentalmodelling discussed by Duffy et al. (1987). Discussiondeveloped about why the strategy is important in becoming abetter reader. The children would then participate in a plannedactivity that was created to practice the metacomprehensionstrategies they had worked with on that day and prior days.Next, the teacher would read aloud a story to the children.Incorporated into this read aloud session was the three partprocedure devised by Davey and Porter (1982). Recalling fromChapter 2, this procedure consisted of the teacher firstclarifying her own view on the importance of comprehension inreading, then discussing her own comprehension breakdowns duringreading and some self help strategies, and finally modellingcomprehension strategies while reading aloud to the children.This would conclude the section of the lesson that was devotedto the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies. A sample outline of the format of the lessonappears in Appendix B. The remainder of the hour was devoted tothe Reading lesson with the novelette Adventures with Mac. Thislesson was identical to that in the control group, except that32there was some informal talk about metacomprehension strategiesthat would come up from the students and the teacher took these"teachable moments" and utilized them when they occurred. Asample lesson appears in Appendix C.3.5 The Reading Comprehension MeasureThe Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test, Canadian Edition(1979), was chosen to examine the children's readingcomprehension for a number of reasons. The Canadian Edition isbased on the Second Edition of the Gates - MacGinitie ReadingTests published in 1978. One of the rationales in developingthe Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test was for use in evaluatingthe general effects of instructional programs, and in oursituation the instructional program consisted of the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies to 6 and7-year-olds to improve their reading comprehension. Dreherstates that, "the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Tests, CanadianEdition, appear to be worthwhile tests of reading progress"(1985, p. 598). The reading passages in the comprehensionsection were written to suit the knowledge and interests ofCanadian children. The Gates - MacGinitie Reading Tests,Canadian Edition, Teacher's Manual states that, "The 1978-1979Canadian norms were developed from the results of testing 46,000students - between 3000 and 4500 students at each grade level -33throughout the ten provinces and the Yukon. Testing with ...Level B was done during Nov., 1978" (1979,p. iv). Additionally,Pflaum (1985) wrote that, "the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Testswere developed in Canadian schools by establishing Canadiannorms, by correcting spelling to conform to Canadianusage,...and by substituting some new items that reflectedCanadian writers and experiences" (p. 599). Although previouseditions of this test have been criticized because many of thequestions in the comprehension section were built entirely uponone word, Dreher (1985) notes that in the Canadian Edition, "thecomprehension subtests for ...Level B require students to selecta picture that answers questions or matches the informationgiven in a sentence or short passage. The comprehensionsubtests at all levels involve both literal and inferentialquestions" (p. 597). Items were designed that required thechild to use inferences and abstraction. Rupley (1985) makesnote that in the later editions of the Gates not one question inthe comprehension section was built entirely on one word, andthat what was being measured was the subject's comprehensioninstead of vocabulary knowledge. Another noted strength of thistest was the complete and extremely "teacher friendly" levelmanuals and technical manuals which make administration andscoring of the test very simple. As compared with other generalreading tests, Dreher (1985, pp. 597-598) stated that "eachteacher's manual contains complete, clear, directions foradministering and scoring the tests." These were considered to34be strengths of the test. Additionally, the studentinvestigator felt that because the MSI, an experimentalinstrument, was being used (described in Section 3.6) it wasnecessary to use a standardized measure such as the Gates _MacGinitie Reading Test.The children in their third year of school took the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B Forms 1 and 2 which wasdeveloped for this age level. This consisted of two parts:Vocabulary and Comprehension. However, only the comprehensionsection was administered to the subjects.The Vocabulary Test is made up of 48 exercises whichrequired the child to recognize or analyze isolated words tomatch a given picture. Four words were adjacent to each pictureand the child was asked to circle the word that best fit thepicture. The words gradually became harder as the testprogressed. It was felt that administration of this section ofthe test could have conveyed to the children that readingconsisted merely of decoding isolated words. For this reason,and because the investigator felt that scores from this sectionwould not have addressed any of the purposes set out in thisstudy, the vocabulary section of the Gates - MacGinitie ReadingTest - Primary B Forms 1 and 2 was not administered to thesubjects.35The Comprehension Test gives us an idea of the child'sability to read and understand whole sentences and paragraphs.There are 34 passages in the test that increase in difficulty asthe child proceeds through the test. In this section eachpassage was situated next to a panel of four pictures. Thechild was asked to mark the picture that best illustrated themeaning of the passage or answered the question in the passage.The children were given 35 minutes to complete this section ofthe test. The standard error of measurement in standard scoreunits for this comprehension section of the Primary B Form is3 • 6•3.6 The Metacomprehension MeasureThe Metacomprehension Strategy Index (MSI) is a multiplechoice questionnaire which was mentioned briefly in Chapter 2 onpage 17. In 1988 Schmitt "originally developed [it] to measurestrategic awareness of students who participated in a meta-comprehension training study" (Schmitt, 1990, p. 454). Asstated previously, the MSI was not designed to measure thereader's actual ability to use these metacomprehensionstrategies while reading but merely asks students to predict orto recall what they might do or have done in actual readingsituations. It consists of 25 items, with four options for eachitem that asked students about strategies that they used before,36during and after reading a narrative selection.^Thesemetacomprehension strategies fell into six major categories:1. predicting and verifying2. previewing3. purpose setting4. self questioning5. drawing from background knowledge6. summarizing and applying fix-up strategiesThe MSI was designed so that it could be adapted forclassroom use and interpretation. For the purposes of thisstudy the student investigator chose to adapt the MSI to bettermeet the needs of the subjects in the study. Two suggestionsprovided by the authors of the MSI were seen as valuable to thisparticular study. One suggestion used was to individuallyadminister the test aloud to each child. A second suggestionused was to rewrite the questions so that wording would be moreappropriate to the subjects whom the questionnaire was beingadministered. Mrs. D. Robertson individually administered thetest to ensure that children with limited decoding ability orslow reading rate would not be limited in their ability toperform on the questionnaire. Secondly, the questionnaire thatwas administered in this study only had three options perquestion. This change was made after practise sessionsadministering the test to four children entering their thirdyear of school. All of these children had difficulty rememberingthe first option by the time they had heard the fourth option.So, the questionnaire was shortened to provide only three37options and the children seemed to be able to remember the firstoption when the third was read. Third, the length of thequestionnaire was shortened from 25 questions to 20 questions.Eliminated were one question from each of the following fivecategories: predicting and verifying, purpose setting, selfquestioning, drawing from background knowledge and summarizingand applying fix-up strategies. This decision was made when thenumber of lessons changed from 20 to 16, because of a shortenedwork week for Mrs. T. Higgins who was teaching the controlgroup.The questionnaire still contained six major categories.Following is a list of the six categories and the items thatcorresponded with each category.1. predicting and verifying (1,4,13,15,16,18)2. previewing (2,3)3. purpose setting (5,7)4. self questioning (6,14,17)5. drawing from background knowledge (8,9,10,19)6. summarizing and applying fix-up strategies(11,12,20)Appendix D provides a sample of the questionnaire that weadministered to the subjects in the study.3.7 Data Analysis and Hypothesis TestingData were organized to address the three working hypotheses38posed in Chapter 1. Hypothesis I was designed to determinewhether 6 and 7-year-olds in the experimental group (Reading andThinking Skills Group) who received the direct teaching andmodelling of metacomprehension strategies would show greaterincrease in reading comprehension than the control group(Reading Skills Group) who received no such instruction. Toaddress this hypothesis raw scores were calculated for eachsubject on the pretest and posttest of the Gates - MacGinitieReading Test - Primary B Forms 1 and 2. A mean, median,standard deviation and range was calculated for each test. Aone-way analysis of variance was used to compare each group'smean gain scores with a level of significance of p < .05.Hypothesis II was designed to determine whether 6 and 7-year-olds in the experimental group who received the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies wouldshow a greater increase in awareness of metacomprehensionstrategies than the control group who received no suchinstruction as measured by the modified MetacomprehensionStrategy Index. A mean, median, standard deviation and rangewas calculated for each test. A one-way analysis of variancewas used with a level of significance of p < .05 to compare eachgroup's mean gain scores.Hypothesis III was designed to determine whether thetreatment would have a greater or lesser effect on some 6 and 7-39year-olds' comprehension gains, depending on their initial levelof metacomprehension awareness as measured by the pretest of themodified MSI. Using the groups' mean gain scores from the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B Forms 1 and 2, a one-wayanalysis of co-variance with entry level score on the modifiedMSI as the covariate was completed.3.8 Statistical TestsFollowing is discussion pertaining to the choices ofparticular statistical tests used to evaluate Hypothesis I, II,and III of this study.3.8.1 Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) For the purposes of this study, analysis of variance wasused to determine if the mean gain scores of the experimentaland control groups differed significantly from each other. Borgand Gall (1989) explain that when researchers want to determineif two sample means differ significantly from one another,"...the use of analysis of variance will yield the same resultas the calculation of a t or z value" (p. 355). Thus, thestatistical procedure of analysis of variance was chosen toanalyze both Hypothesis I and Hypothesis II.40In the case of Hypothesis I, analysis of variance was usedto determine whether the children in the experimental group(Reading and Thinking Skills Group) who received the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies wouldshow a greater increase in reading comprehension as measured bythe Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test than the children in thecontrol group (Reading Skills Group) who received no suchinstruction. The mean gain scores of each group were comparedusing ANOVA on the computing package Minitab Release 6 on an IBMPersonal Computer. The results of this statistical procedureare listed and discussed in detail in Chapter 4, Sections 4.2and 4.3 and in Appendix F and G.With Hypothesis II, analysis of variance was also applied.Hypothesis II sought to determine whether the children in theexperimental group (Reading and Thinking Skills Group) whoreceived the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies would show a greater increase in metacomprehensionawareness as measured by the modified MSI as compared to thechildren in the control group (Reading Skills Group) whoreceived no such instruction. The mean gain scores of eachgroup were compared using ANOVA. The results of thisstatistical procedure are listed and discussed in detail inChapter 4, Sections 4.4 and 4.5.As shown in the next chapter, the analysis of variance41proved to be an appropriate measure for both Hypothesis I andHypothesis II. However, another analytical procedure, analysisof covariance, was seen as more suitable for Hypothesis III.The following Sections 3.8.2 and 3.8.3 deal with both thepurpose of analysis of covariance and application of analysis ofcovariance to Hypothesis III.3.8.2 Analysis of Covariance (ANCOVA) According to Borg and Gall (1989) the "...statisticaltechnique of analysis of covariance is used to control forinitial differences between groups. The effect of analysis ofcovariance is to make the two groups equal with respect to oneor more control variables. If a difference is still foundbetween the two groups, [one] cannot use the control variable toexplain the effect" (p. 556). Furthermore, Hinkle, Wiersma andJurs (1988) state that in using ANCOVA you "...control for theeffects of this extraneous variable, called a covariate, bypartitioning out the variation attributed to this additionalvariable" (p. 492).With the above understanding of analysis of covarianceHypothesis III will be restated for clarity. Hypothesis III wasdesigned to explore whether the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension skills would have a greater or lesser effect42on the posttest comprehension scores of the Gates - MacGinitieReading Test Primary B Form 2, depending on the child's initiallevel of metacomprehension awareness as measured by the pretestof the modified MSI.Hypothesis III is a finer grained look at Hypothesis I.Hypothesis I was designed to determine whether the treatment ofdirect teaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategieswould cause a greater mean gain score in the experimental groupas measured by the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Tests. HypothesisIII was designed to determine which, if any, subjects benefittedthe most from the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies. Did subjects with little incomingmetacomprehension awareness, as measured by the pretest of themodified MSI, show the greatest reading comprehension gainscores, or perhaps the subjects with the highest incomingmetacomprehension awareness levels, as measured by the pretestof the modified MSI, indicated the greatest readingcomprehension gain scores on the Gates - MacGinitie ReadingTest? Educationally speaking, the implications for teaching arevital. This type of sensitive measure allows focus to be placedon individual groups of children who might benefit most from thedirect teaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies.433.8.3 Application of Analysis of Covariance to Hypothesis III First, in removing (or partitioning out) the variance ininitial entry level on the modified MSI pretest scores which canbe attributed to the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Testcomprehension scores, we could have a more refined test ofHypothesis I which stated that children in the experimentalgroup (Reading and Thinking Skills Group) who received thedirect teaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategieswould show a greater increase in reading comprehension than thechildren in the control group (Reading Skills Group). So inusing ANCOVA, Hinkle et al. would argue that as researchers wehave increased the "...precision of the research by partitioningout the variation attributed to the covariate, which results ina smaller error variance" (p. 492).Second, variability in performance on the posttest of theGates - MacGinitie Reading Test could be directly attributableto differences in initial entry level scores on modified MSIpretest. If variability in performance is directly attributableto differences in entry level on modified MSI pretest scores,then we are interested in understanding who showed a greater orlesser effect.Analysis of variance used with Hypothesis I and HypothesisII allowed for comparison of the two groups' mean gain scores.44Analysis of covariance used with Hypothesis III allowed forcomparison of all the subjects in the study (n=22) as separategroups. This was a reason why analysis of covariance was chosenfor analyzing Hypothesis III rather than just grouping thesubjects in both the experimental and control groups on theirincoming metacomprehension levels as either high or low. Insuch a four group design, the researcher would have chosen thestanding which divided children into either the high meta-comprehension awareness group or the low metacomprehensionawareness group. Since research on metacomprehension awarenessin 6 and 7-year-olds is still so limited, how can we be surethat the standing chosen to group children into either high orlow metacomprehension awareness is a suitable boundary forchildren of this age? On what basis do we make this arbitraryboundary to divide the children into these two groups?Controversy over the chosen standing would clearly be an issuein interpreting the results had this type of four group designbeen used. From this data, patterns may be explored anddiscussed in effort to explain if certain children'scomprehension gains were affected by a greater or lesser amountby the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionawareness skills because of their incoming metacomprehensionawareness levels as measured by the modified MSI.453.9 Limitations of the StudyThe conclusions to be presented must be considered in lightof the following limitations of the study:1. The instructor of the control group had limitedparticipation time. She was only able to participatein the study for the first 5 weeks of the school year.This placed a time constriction on the length of theperiod of data collection, because without her toteach the control group for 1 hour a day, 4 days aweek, we could not have run the study. Thus, becausethe study took place over 4 weeks, the results arelimited to the responses that children were capable offorming over that time.2. The experimental treatment was limited to 30minutes a day.^Both the control group and theexperimental group were made up of children from twomulti-age classes. This placed a time constriction onthe length of time each day for the direct teachingand modelling of metacomprehension strategies. Hadthe experimental group been made up of a whole classof children in their third year of school, then duringthe rest of the teaching day (buddy reading, storytime, Language Arts, Socials, etc.) when the teacher46was working with students they could discuss, modeland use their metacomprehension strategies whenconfronted with text from an array of differentsources. The 30 minute time limitation could constrainany results of the treatment.3. A further limitation is the short study period of4 weeks over which the Gates - MacGinitie Primary BForms 1 and 2 were administered. Since the length oftime between the administration of Forms 1 and 2 wasless than one month, any gains obtained may be due toa practice effect. In addition, with the standarderror of measurement for the comprehension section ofthe Primary B Forms 1 and 2 being 3.6 standard scoreunits, it is possible that any gains seen over thestudy period could be directly related to the standarderror of measurement. Fuller discussion of theseproblems will be addressed in Chapters 4 and 5.4. A fourth limitation is that conclusions cannot begeneralized beyond the population sampled.47CHAPTER FOURResults And Discussion4.1 Summary of the ProblemThis study was carried out in an effort to explore theeffect of the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies on the comprehension and metacomprehension awarenesslevels of readers 6 and 7 years old. This chapter presents theresults of the statistical analysis of the data relevant to thethree hypothesis examined in this study. All test scores arefound in Appendix E, and full details of the three statisticalanalyses are found in Appendix F.4.2 Tests of Hypothesis I Null HypothesisChildren in the experimental group (Reading andThinking Skills Group) who received the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategieswill not show a statistically significant increase inreading comprehension mean gain scores as measured bythe Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test than the childrenin the control group (Reading Skills Group) whoreceived no such instruction.Based on the data provided in Table 3 below, the first nullhypothesis was accepted. The experimental group (Reading and48Thinking Skills Group) was not affected by the direct teachingand modelling of metacomprehension strategies and did not showa greater increase in mean gain scores over the control group(Reading Skills Group).TABLE 3Mean Gain Scores Of Reading Comprehension AsMeasured By The Gates - MacGinitie Reading TestGroup^Mean^ SD(E)Control 4.55 3.83(11)Experimental 5.45 5.47(11)p=.6564.3 Discussion of Hypothesis IFrom an examination of Table 3 it is clear that theexperimental group (Reading and Thinking Skills Group) was notaffected by the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies and did not show a greater increase49in mean gain scores as measured by the Gates - MacGinitieReading Test over the control group (Reading Skills Group) whoreceived no such instruction.One of the reasons that may explain these results is thetime span of the study. As mentioned in Chapter 3 Section 3.5one of the rationales in developing the Gates - MacGinitieReading Test was for use in evaluating the general effects ofinstructional programs, and in our situation the instructionalprogram consisted of the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies to children 6 and 7 years old toimprove their reading comprehension. However, the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test was meant to be used as a long termmeasure with initial testing early in the school year (Septemberor October) and final testing late in the school year (May orJune). For this study the pretest and posttests of the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary B Forms 1 and 2 wereadministered within 4 weeks of each other. Also, the Gates -MacGinitie was designed to be used with a large n rather than asmall n.Second, the uneven nature of children's development couldaccount for the results that indicate there was no statisticaldifference in pretest and posttest scores on the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test. The smooth linear developmental lineoften depicted as the manner of children's development is simply50the result of large sample sizes where the high scores arecancelled out by the low scores producing a developmental linethat appears to be linear and constant. However, children'sreading development is much more erratic. Johnson and Louis(1989) discuss this issue in their book Bringing It All Together: A Program For Literacy: While the mean performance of a large group mayadvance regularly, month by month, through the year,this does not mean that each individual progresses inthe same regular manner. The regularity of groupprogress results in a wide range of individualdifferences which tend to cancel each other out andproduce the smoothness of the observed learningcurves. The progress of any given individual may bemuch more erratic. In reading, children seem to passthrough a series of exploratory plateaus which arefollowed by sudden leaps. It is as though the learnerexplores in an apparently random fashion, makingindividual but non incremental connections. Asufficient number of these connections seem to resultin an "Ah-ha!" reaction which leads to a markedincrease in performance. New situations may requiretemporary regressions or plateaus to permitconsolidations. (p. 204)Perhaps many of the subjects were in one of these exploratoryplateaus when the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test - Primary BForm 2 was administered. If a larger sample had been used(n=100) the inconsistent pattern produced from subjects withhigh and low scores might not have been seen if these high andlow scores had cancelled each other out, producing a patternwhich would have showed group development as gradual and linear.Another possible way in which to look at the results of51Table 3 is to bring in the notion of confounding effect. Theteacher - researcher worked with the experimental group (n=11)for 1 hour a day, 4 days a week. For the rest of the schoolweek all of the experimental subjects were equally distributedinto the two source classrooms with the control subjects.Conceivably, these experimental subjects could have beenteaching their control peers during these remaining school hourswhen the control and the experimental subjects were combined.Discussion of this point continues further below in Section 4.8Qualitative Findings.Finally, because of the short length of time of both thestudy and the duration of time between the pretest and theposttest of the Gates - MacGinitie Primary B, we expect the gainscores to be smaller than if both the study period and theduration between the pretest and the posttest had been 7 months.Much of any gain score seen over such a short duration could beaccounted for in error of measurement. For this test thestandard error of measurement in standard score units is 3.6.Simply, if a gain score of 5.45 standard units was seen, 3.6standard units of that gain score could be the result of errorof measurement.524.4 Tests of Hypothesis II Null HypothesisChildren in the experimental group (Reading andThinking Skills Group) who received the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategieswill not show a statistically significant increase inmean gain scores of metacomprehension strategyawareness as measured by the modifiedMetacomprehension Strategy Index than the controlgroup (Reading Skills Group) who received no suchinstruction.The mean gain scores were significantly different betweenthe two groups (see Table 4). The null hypothesis was rejectedusing .05 level of significance and a p=0.017. This indicatesthat the experimental group (Reading and Thinking Skills Group)did show a statistically significant increase in mean gainscores of metacomprehension awareness as measured by themodified Metacomprehension Strategy Index than the control group(Reading Skills Group) who received no such instruction.53TABLE 4Mean Gain Scores of MetacomprehensionAwareness as Measures by the Modified MSIGroup Mean SD(11)Control 0.909 1.814( 11 )Experimental 4.820 4.640(11)p=.0174.5 Discussion of Hypothesis IITable 4 clearly shows that 6 and 7-year-olds who receivedthe direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies did show a statistically significant increase in meangain scores of their awareness of metacomprehension strategiesas measured by the modified MSI. The direct teaching andmodelling of metacomprehension strategies works. In this studythe teacher-researcher used Paris, Lipson and Wixson's (1983)metacognitive instructional categories which are:541. Declarative Knowledge - refers to the what ofcomprehension instruction - a simple description ordefinition of the skill.2. Procedural Knowledge - involves the how ofcomprehension instruction - how the skill or strategyoperates and how to use various steps or proceduresthat are part of the strategy.3. Conditional Knowledge - involves the why and whenof comprehension instruction - why the strategy isimportant and why its mastery will improvecomprehension, and when the strategy should be usedand not used.Further, the teacher - researcher used Davey and Porter's (1982)three part procedure for teaching:1. The teacher first clarified her own views on theprimacy of comprehension in reading.2. The teacher discussed with students her owncomprehension breakdowns during reading and some self-help strategies she uses (e.g. rereading, [and]reading ahead...)3. The teacher demonstrated comprehension strategieswhile reading aloud to students ("Oh, I don't know howto say this word, but I understand what it means fromthe words around it" or "I'm confused at this point,but maybe I'll understand if I read to the end of thisparagraph" or "This doesn't make sense - I'llreread.")Duffy, Roehler and Herrmann's (1988) mental modelling was usedwith a conscious effort to stay away from modelling proceduralsteps. Mental modelling was conveyed using the five teachingtechniques developed by Davey (1983):551. Make predictions.^(Show how to develophypotheses.)2. Describe the picture you're forming in your headfrom the information. (Show how to develop imagesduring reading.)3. Share an analogy.^(Show how to link priorknowledge with new information in text.)4. Verbalize a confusing point. (Show how you monitoryour ongoing comprehension.)5. Demonstrate fix-up strategies.^(Show how yourcorrect your lagging comprehension.)The direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies did increase the metacomprehension awareness of theexperimental group as seen in the mean gain scores in Table 4.Durkin (1978; 1979) would argue that when teachers are "...actively, intensively, and systematically involved withinstruction in reading comprehension, students learn tocomprehend better than when instruction is incidental,undirected, or nonexistent." However, as discussed in detail inSection 4.7, what is essential is a tool that measurescomprehension with emphasis on the processes children use incoming to their understandings. For a detailed outline of thelesson format for the teaching of the metacomprehensionstrategies see Appendix B.564.6 Tests of Hypothesis III Null HypothesisThe direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies will not have a greater or lesser effect onthe posttest comprehension scores of the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test Primary B Form 2, dependent onthe child's initial level of metacomprehensionawareness as measured by the pretest of the modifiedMetacomprehension Strategy Index.The analysis of covariance which co-varied the modified MSIindicated that the null hypothesis was accepted. The directteaching of meta-comprehension strategies did not have a greateror lesser effect on children's posttest scores of the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test Primary B Form 2 depending upon theirinitial entry level on the pretest of the modifiedMetacomprehension Strategy Index. Scatter plots (Figure 1 and2) show mean comprehension gains as a function of the modifiedMSI scale for both the experimental and control groups.57FIGURE 1Scatterplot showing Control Group's Mean ComprehensionGains as a function of Incoming Modified MSI Level- *_-Mean Gain^_Scores on^8.0+^*^ *Gates - - *_MacGinitie^-_4.0+___ **-+ +^+ +^+2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5Modified MSI Pretest Scores58FIGURE 2Scatterplot showing Experimental Group's Mean ComprehensionGains as a function of Incoming Modified MSI LevelMean Gain^_Scores on 10. 0 +_Gates -^-^*MacGinitie^-^_ *0.0+^ *^ *__ *+^ +^ + + +^ +^2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0Modified MSI Pretest Scores594.7 Discussion of Hypothesis III Hypothesis III was intended to give a finer grained look atthe results of Hypothesis I, which was formulated to determineif children in the experimental group (Reading and ThinkingSkills Group) who received the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies would show a statisticallysignificant increase in reading comprehension than the childrenin the control group (Reading Skills Group), who received nosuch instruction. Hypothesis III was designed to look at whichchildren in particular benefitted the most from the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies. This isvery appropriate in educational research, because educatorsrealize that not all children learn in the same manner and thatdifferent techniques have varied effects on different children.Perhaps the direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies would have benefitted the subjects with lower readingability by providing a framework with which to approachunfamiliar text and to work with the text to gain anunderstanding. However, no correlation was found betweenincoming metacomprehension awareness level as measured by themodified MSI and mean gain scores as measured by the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test. Following are some possible argumentsas to why no correlation was found.As discussed previously in Section 4.3, when describing60results from the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test it is criticalto keep in mind the original purpose used in developing thetests. One of these purposes was to evaluate the generaleffects of instructional programs. Additionally, it must berealized that the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Tests can notmeasure items that it was not originally intended to measure.This test is a product measure. Children's answers are eitherright or wrong. Their raw scores are converted into gradeequivalents. The Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test has neverclaimed to tap into the thinking components of reading.Consequently, when the examiner sits down and explores theresults from the tests, the examiner is given no indication ofthe subject's thought processes.Perhaps another measure would have provided an indicationof the relationship between incoming metacomprehension awarenesslevel and reading comprehension gains. Needed would be areading comprehension measure to take the place of the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test. The measure would need to give theexaminer information about the processes the subject was usingwhile still providing the examiner with a measure of readingcomprehension. By providing information about the processes thesubject is choosing to use, the examiner is able to look at thecomponent of metacomprehension that deals with the ability toconsciously use strategies which the modified MSI doesn'tmeasure. Used with the modified MSI, the examiner would have a61clearer picture of the subject's incoming level ofmetacomprehension.Such a measure might be a taped reading miscue inventoryand a retelling of the story in which the examiner and thesubject interact during the reading and retelling. The examinercould explore the processes the child was using in coming to hisor her answers during the interview or conference. The readingmiscue inventory would allow the teacher to see the strategiesthe reader used while reading the text aloud. It would alsoprovide a measure of how well the reader seemed to comprehendthe text as they read. The retelling would provide anothermeasure of comprehension. This comprehension measure would lookat how well the reader remembered and understood the text afterreading (see page 74). These aspects of reading miscue analysisand retelling would have been useful in looking at bothhypothesis I and III.However, this type of measure would require more assistanceand time for the supervision and collection of data, and ofcourse, for the results and analysis of the data. Unfortunatelya teacher would not undertake such research simply becausealone, the teacher would have a difficult time carrying out andcompleting the evaluation in the real world of the classroom.This type of measure was beyond the resources of the presentstudy and was not chosen as a dependent measure. Reading miscue62inventories and retellings would be very useful dependentmeasures in larger scale studies where resources are availableto collect and analyze such data.The results of the analysis of covariance indicated thatcovarying incoming modified MSI level with mean gain scores onthe Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test indicated no relationshipbetween the two measures. What we have learned from this resultis that the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test is a product measurefurnishing the best results when used as a long term measure andthe modified MSI is a process measure. Hence, a betterunderstanding of which young children benefit the most from thedirect teaching of metacomprehension strategies will come whenmore sensitive measures are developed that are realistic interms of time and ease of administration and analysis.4.8 Qualitative FindingsTo use only the quantitative data in this study wouldresult in an incomplete picture of the findings. Following areseveral instances where I as teacher - researcher observedgrowth in the children.634.8.1 The Experimental PeriodThree observations need to be noted. First, during themonth when the study was being conducted, as I read withchildren from my class during the day, I noticed that theexperimental group children would share their predictions andwonder questions before they began reading a story to me. Thesewere questions that the children would pose about what theywondered about the story. The phrase, I wonder if... wouldstart their questions. These experimental group children wouldalso stop more often than their control group counterparts andrecap the events or share connections to their personal life orother literature with me. Children from the control group wouldread the title, begin the story, and sometimes spend a minute orso at the end discussing a part they enjoyed or maybe make acomment such as, "That was a good story wasn't it, Miss McEwan?"Second, twice a week the children from both multi-ageclasses got together to "buddy read", where the children readaloud with a friend. This included all the children in thestudy and all the children in their second year of school fromboth classes. In each pair there was a child in their thirdyear of school and a child in their second year of school. Asteacher-researcher I observed that there was far more discussionaround and about the book when the child in their third year ofschool was from the experimental group. The teacher -64researcher caught glimpses of herself as some of these childrenbecame the teacher to the younger child and asked questions ofthem, "What do you think this story will be about?" or "Do youhave any wonder questions?" or "What do you know about ?IIThe third and final teacher - researcher observation thatneeds to be noted encompasses story time in my class. For theduration of the study, when I read a story to the class, I didnot model or discuss predictions or wonder questions, simplybecause half of the children in their third year of school werefrom the control group. However, children from the experimentalgroup would volunteer their predictions and wonder questions.They were also very curious why we were not using the strategiesthat we had talked about during the experimental period. At theend of the four week study when the groups came together andteacher-researcher began teaching the strategies to the controlgroup as agreed in the consent form, it was noticeable that thecontrol group children were beginning to understand what theother children had been talking about and the gap between thetwo groups began to close and the control children began toshare their thoughts as well.4.8.2 The Post-Experimental PeriodWhen the 4 week period of the study ended the teacher-65researcher began to instruct all children, including both theexperimental and control groups in the study (n=22), each dayfor an hour as set out in the consent form.Again, three qualitative observations were made pertainingto the post-experimental period. Instruction of the whole groupof children in their third year of school began. We went backto the first strategies introduced to the experimental group andwith different materials we focused in on the same thinkingstrategies. Although we had started again with the beginningstrategies, many children from the experimental group had raisedhands wanting to share their "think alouds" which clearly showedtheir use of the many different strategies we had worked on forthe previous month.Second, the children from the experimental group clearlystood out as being more interested in discussing and sharing ofideas before and during the reading lessons. One particularexample occurred when two children from the experimental grouphad just shared some of their "wonder questions". A child fromthe control group asked me, "What are wonder questions?" BeforeI had a chance to say it was a good question and answer thechild, a boy from the experimental group replied to that child2and the whole group, "It's when you are thinking about whatwill happen in the story and you share your ideas and makequestions about what you wonder will happen."66A third observation made as teacher - researcher is thathaving 12 people modelling and sharing their think alouds (11experimental students and 1 teacher) is far more effective thanhaving one person modelling and sharing their think alouds (oneteacher). As mentioned earlier, when the 4 week study periodwas over instruction of the whole group began using the firststrategies introduced to the experimental group. Having theexperimental children modelling and thinking aloud helped thecontrol children to feel more at ease and willing toparticipate. The control children "caught on" very quickly andwere willing to get involved in discussions by sharing theirthoughts with the group and with partners. Perhaps they feltmore at ease because they listened to both their peers from theexperimental group and the teacher sharing their ideasthroughout each lesson compared to just the teacher modellingher thinking during the 4 week period of the study.4.8.3 Oualitative ConclusionsThese qualitative observations shed light on two of thehypotheses set out in this study. The first hypothesis wasdesigned to determine if the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacomprehension strategies would improve reading comprehensionin 6 and 7-year-olds. The qualitative observations made duringthe 4 week study period indicated that the experimental children67were beginning to develop comprehension strategies for what theyread. Bruce and Rubin (1981) suggested that strong readersformed hypotheses about the text's meaning before they startedto read it. This is exactly what the experimental children wereobserved to be doing when they shared their predictions andwonder questions before they began reading. The experimentalchildren were also observed to recap the events of the story andmake connections to their personal life. Baker (1979) suggestedthese types of monitoring comprehension were traits of strongreaders. In conclusion, these qualitative observations suggestthat the experimental children who received the direct teachingand modelling of metacomprehension strategies were beginning toimprove their comprehension. However, the Gates - MacGinitieReading Test was not as sensitive to the comprehension gains thechildren were making as observations made by the teacher-researcher. As discussed earlier, better means to measurereading comprehension were needed in this study which is nowcompleted.The second hypothesis was designed to determine if thedirect teaching and modelling of metacomprehens ion strategies tochildren, 6 and 7 years old, would increase theirmetacomprehension awareness level. Qualitative observationsmade both during and after the 4 week study period supported thequantitative findings that determined that the direct teachingand modelling of metacomprehension strategies did increase the68metacomprehension awareness levels of children, 6 and 7 yearsold. The experimental children were observed to be using thestrategies in their daily interactions with text, but moreimportantly they were observed to question the teacher why sheand the group were not using these strategies in other readingactivities during the remainder of the school day. Theobservations made during the post-experimental period when allthe children (n=22) were taught together by the teacher -researcher reaffirmed the quantitative findings that thechildren in the experimental group had increased theirmetacomprehension awareness. The teacher-researcher noted thatin the first few lessons after the 4 week study period had endedthe experimental group children clearly stood out from thecontrol group children in respect to their increasedinvolvement, interest level and use of the metacomprehensionstrategies they used.These qualitative observations give insight into children'sthinking processes that the quantitative measures employed maynot be as sensitive to. They are an important part of ourlearning about the effects of the direct teaching ofmetacomprehension awareness strategies to children 6 and 7 yearsold.69CHAPTER FIVESummary and ConclusionsImplications For Further Educational Research5.1 Summary of the Purposes of the StudyThe purpose of this study was to explore the effect of thedirect teaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies tochildren, 6 and 7 years old. The three specific questions posedin Section 1.4 of Chapter 1 of this study were:1. Will children, 6 and 7 years old, in the experimentalgroup who received the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacognitive strategies show a greater increase in readingcomprehension than a control group who received no suchinstruction?2. Will children, 6 and 7 years old, in the experimentalgroup who received the direct teaching and modelling ofmetacognitive strategies show a greater increase in awareness ofmetacomprehension strategies than a control group who receivedno such instruction?3. Will the treatment have a greater or lesser effect onsome children depending on their initial level of70metacomprehens ion awareness?5.2 Limitations of the StudyAs previously noted in section 3.9 the conclusions to bepresented must be considered in light of the followinglimitations of the study:1. The instructor of the control group had limitedparticipation time. She was only able to participatein the study for the first 5 weeks of the school year.This placed a time constriction on the length of theperiod of data collection, because without her toteach the control group for 1 hour a day, 4 days aweek, we could not have run the study. Thus, becausethe study took place over 4 weeks, the results arelimited to the responses that children were capable offorming over that time.2. The experimental treatment was limited to 30minutes a day.^Both the control group and theexperimental group were made up of children from twomulti-age classes. This placed a time constriction onthe length of time each day for the direct teachingand modelling of metacomprehension strategies. Had71the experimental group been made up of a whole classof children in their third year of school, then duringthe rest of the teaching day (buddy reading, storytime, Language Arts, Socials, etc.) when the teacherwas working with students they could discuss, modeland use their metacomprehens ion strategies whenconfronted with text from an array of differentsources. The 30 minute time limitation could constrainany results of the treatment.3. A further limitation is the short study period of4 weeks over which the Gates - MacGinitie Primary BForms 1 and 2 were administered. Since the length oftime between the administration of Forms 1 and 2 wasless than one month, any gains obtained may be due toa practice effect. In addition, with the standarderror of measurement for the comprehension section ofthe Primary B Forms 1 and 2 being 3.6 standard scoreunits, it is possible that any gains seen over thestudy period could be directly related to the standarderror of measurement.4. A fourth limitation is that conclusions cannot begeneralized beyond the population sampled.725.3 ConclusionsNo statistically significant difference between the groups'mean gain scores in reading comprehension on the Gates -MacGinitie Reading Test were found. So one can conclude thatthe direct teaching and modelling of metacomprehensionstrategies to the sample, for 30 minutes daily over a 4 weekstudy period does not increase their reading comprehension asmeasured by the Gates - MacGinitie Reading Test.Statistically significant differences between the groups'mean gain scores in metacomprehension awareness as measured bythe modified MSI were found. One can conclude that the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies to thesample, for 30 minutes daily over a 4 week study period doesincrease their metacomprehension awareness level as measured bythe modified MSI.No correlations between incoming metacomprehensionawareness level and mean gain scores in reading comprehensionwere found. One can conclude that the direct teaching andmodelling of metacomprehension strategies to the sample, for 30minutes daily over a 4 week study period did not have a greateror lesser effect depending upon incoming metacomprehensionawareness level. This supports the findings from Paris, Cross,and Lipson, (1984) (see Chapter 1 above, pp. 4-5) that teaching73children declarative, procedural, and conditional knowledgeabout reading strategies did not lead to significant changes inthe children's GATES scores.This study has shown that the direct teaching and modellingof metacomprehension strategies to the sample, for 30 minutesdaily over a 4 week study period will increase theirmetacomprehension awareness levels. This also supports thefindings of Paris, Cross, and Lipson (1984) (see Chapter 1above, pp. 4-5) that children were able to learnmetacomprehension strategies when cloze and error detectiontests were used which required children to use cognitivestrategies to supply missing words and to monitor meaning intext.5.4 Implications for Further Educational ResearchBased on the findings and explanations for these findings,some suggestions are made for further research so that we aseducators will begin to develop a better understanding of theeffects of the direct teaching and modelling of specificmetacomprehension strategies to children, 6 and 7 years old.1. Related to the finer grained analysis set out inHypothesis III in this study, further research is74needed to determine whether some children will benefitmore than others from the direct teaching andmodelling of specific metacomprehension strategies.The same design used in this study could be used butwith a more sensitive comprehension measure such as ataped reading miscue inventory and retelling tomeasure the comprehension gains. Weaver (1988)states:u ...we [can] determine a reader'sstrategies for dealing with print byanalyzing the reader's miscues... [andthen] we need to have the reader retellwhat he or she recalls and understands fromthe material read. This retelling providesan important check on our miscue analysis.Some readers are good at reproducingsurface structure, but not very good atgetting meaning. Others get most of themeaning, even though they may have made anumber of miscues that did not seem topreserve meaning and that they did notovertly correct. Besides providing abalanced view, an examination of both themiscues and the retelling provides us withtwo different measures of comprehension: ameasure of how well the reader seemed tocomprehend while in the process of reading,and a measure of what the reader rememberedand understood after reading the selection.(p. 329)The study would look at Group Comprehension Gainsusing taped reading miscue inventory and retelling asa function of incoming modified MSI level. Inaddition to being a more sensitive comprehensionmeasure, a reading miscue inventory would also give75the examiner a indication of the subject's ability touse metacomprehension strategies consciously, which isthe second component of metacomprehension as waspreviously discussed at the beginning of Chapter 2.2. Further research is necessary to develop measuresfor analyzing the reading strengths and needs ofstudents. These measures need to be designed to giveteachers insight into the thinking processes childrenare utilizing in reading.^Development of thesemeasures must maintain the utility of the classroomteacher who, in reality, has limited time toadminister measures individually to children.3. Over a 4 week study period the children whoreceived the direct teaching and modelling of specificmetacomprehension strategies showed an increase inmean gain scores in metacomprehension awareness asmeasured by the modified MSI. Further research withchildren at this age level to determine the effects ofyear long exposure to the direct teaching andmodelling of specific metacomprehension strategieswould possibly give us a better understanding of whichtypes of metacomprehension strategies children at thisage level master and which metacomprehensionstrategies are difficult for this age level to76internalize. Results from this type of additionalresearch would provide teachers with more knowledgeabout metacomprehension awareness which would guidethem in their reading program planning.4. Similarly, additional research may lead us tounderstand how much direct instruction needs to takeplace before children internalize these meta-comprehension strategies and continue to use them inthe following school year even if these strategies arenot reinforced by their next teacher. How long mustchildren be surrounded by language and experiencesrelating to metacomprehension strategies before theyinternalize the strategies and use them independentlyto become more proficient readers?5. With more researchers and time to gather data, itwould be interesting to investigate if children whoreceive the direct teaching and modelling of specificmetacomprehension strategies carry over this knowledgeto their reading of content area texts.In closing, this study has created many more questions andavenues which need to be explored and documented in effort tocreate a better understanding of the effects of the directteaching and modelling of metacomprehension strategies to77children, 6 and 7 years old. Learning is a continual process inwhich one is always trying to gain a better understanding of theworld. Perhaps readers of this thesis will create their own"wonder questions" that they can set out to explore in effortsto gain a better understanding of children's literatedevelopment.78REFERENCESAnderson, R.C., Spiro, R.J., & Anderson, M.C. (1977). Schemataas scaffolding for the representation of meaning inconnected discourse (Tech. Rep. No. 24). 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Assessment and remediation ofmetacognitive aspects of children's reading comprehension.Topics in Language Disorders, 12(1), 32-50.Paris, S. G., Cross, D. R., & Lipson, M. Y. (1984).^Thebenefits of informed instruction for children's readingawareness and comprehension skills. Child Development, 55,2083-2093.Paris, S. G., Cross, D. R., & Lipson, M. Y. (1984). Informedstrategies for learning: A program to improve children'sreading awareness and comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 76(6), 1239-1252.Paris, S. G., & Jacobs, J. E. (1984). The benefits of informedinstruction for children's reading awareness andcomprehension skills. Child Development, 55, 2083-2093.Paris, S. G., Lipson, M. Y., & Wixson, K. K. (1983). Becominga strategic reader. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 8, 293-316.Paris, S. G., & Oka, E. R.^(1989).^Strategies forcomprehending text and coping with reading difficulties.Learning Disability Quarterly, 12, 32-42.Pflaum, S. W.^(1985). Review of gates - macginitie readingtests, canadian edition.^In J. V. Mitchell (Ed.), Theninth mental measurements yearbook (Vol. 1, pp. 595-599).Lincoln: The University Of Nebraska Press.Rumelhart, D. E. (1980). Schemata: the building blocks ofcognition. In R. J. Spiro, B. C. Bruce, & W. F. Brewer(Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading comprehension (pp.33-58). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.82Rupley, W. H.^(1985). Review of gates - macginitie readingtests.^In J. V. Mitchell (Ed.), The ninth mentalmeasurements yearbook (Vol. 1, pp. 595-599). Lincoln: TheUniversity Of Nebraska Press.Schmitt, M. C. (1988). The effects of an elaborated directedactivity on the metacomprehension skills of third graders:Dialogues in literacy research. The 37th Yearbook of theNational Reading Conference, 167-181.Schmitt, M. C. (1990). A questionnaire to measure children'sawareness of strategic reading processes. The ReadingTeacher, 44(7), 454-461.Spiro, R. (1980). Constructive processes in prose comprehensionand recall. In R. J. Spiro, B. C. Bruce, & W. F. Brewer(Eds.), Theoretical issues in reading comprehension. (pp.245-278). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Vellutino, F. R.^(1991). Introduction to three studies onreading acquisition: convergent findings on theoreticalfoundations of code-oriented versus whole-languageapproaches to reading instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 83(4), 437-443.Weaver, C. (1988). Reading process and practice - from socio-psycholinguistics to whole language. Portsmouth, NH:Heinemann Educational Books, Inc.Weaver, C. (1990).^Understanding whole language - fromprinciples to practice.^Toronto, Canada:^IrwinPublishing.Whimbey, A. (1985).^Reading, writing, reasoning linked intesting and training. Journal of Reading, 29, 118-123.Winograd, P., & Paris, S. G.^(1989).^A cognitive andmotivational agenda for reading instruction. Educational Leadership, 46(4), 30-36.83APPENDIX ASample Lesson PlanControl Group84APPENDIX ASample Lesson PlanControl GroupSubject: Fall- introduce and discuss the season of fall- what are "fall" things- what happens in nature, to people and animals infall- Read the two fall poems and discuss how they matchor extend our ideas about fallAutumn LeavesDown,down,down.Yellow and brown.The leaves are falling on the ground.Red leaves flutter,Yellow leaves fall,Brown leaves gather along the wall.In MotionLeaves swirl,Twist, twirl,Dive, swoop,In a group.Or one by one,Drift, glide,Sift, slide,Fall, cling,Sway, swing,While we run,In among them,Having fun.Lesson - Adventures With Mac - Novelette- teach word patterns oo /u/ toooo /uu/ wood- have children think of words that fall in eachcategory85- use words in teacher guide on page 4 work withchildren and write into spelling books.- introduce the novelette Adventures With Mac- read through table of contents and browsethrough the pictures.- directed reading for first chapter A Rat with a Sacpp. 6 - 10, teacher's guide page 5.- teach language skills:- doubling of final consonants when there is butone sound after the short vowel sound- opposites - introduce orally- guided practice:- exercises B, and C page 6 of teacher's guidebook.- if children finish up their work they may choose toread with a buddy or independently86APPENDIX BBlank Format Sheet ForTeaching Of Metacomprehension Strategies87APPENDIX BBlank Format Sheet ForTeaching of Metacomprehension StrategiesLesson # ^Strategy: Materials: ^Procedures: ^Discussion of Strategy:1. Simple description / definition of the strategy:2. How the strategy works / how to use it:88Teacher Modelling:I want to show you what ^I'll talk out loud to show you how I figure it out. ^Thinking about ^helped me to understand ^3. Why the strategy is important and how its mastery willimprove comprehension and when the strategy should and shouldn'tbe used.Activity: ^Storytime - book title: ^Teacher modelling:1. Teacher first clarifies her own views on the primacy ofcomprehension in reading.892. Teacher discusses with students her own comprehensionbreakdowns during reading and some self-help strategies.3. Teacher modelled comprehension strategies while readingaloud to students.Lesson - Adventures With Mac - identical lesson to that of thecontrol group.90APPENDIX CSample Lesson PlanExperimental Group91APPENDIX CSample Lesson PlanExperimental GroupLesson # 1Strategies: Before I begin reading it's a good idea to:- make some guesses about what I think will happen in the story- look at the pictures to see what the story is about Materials: chart paper with the heading: Before I begin reading... chart paper to record the responses from thechildrenlibrary book - one for each child ( be sure to pickstories that have pictures and titles that support the stories Procedures: -bring students to board area. Brainstorm with themall the ideas that they have that answer the question - BeforeI begin reading it is a good idea to: - zero in on the two focus strategies if thechildren have offered themDiscussion of Strategy:1. Simple description / definition of the strategy:Two strategies that I would like to talk to you about today are: 1. Making guesses about what you think will happen in the storyand 2. Looking at the pictures to see what the story might be 92about.2. How the strategy works / how to use it:It is important that we learn about different strategies that will help us to understand what we are reading. Teacher Modelling:I want to show you what I think about in my head when I pick upa story or book. Normally you don't know what I am thinking because I think quietly in my own mind, but today I'll talk out loud to show you how I figure it out.  Thinking about the title and the pictures on the cover helped me to understand that this book might be about (topic) . It also helped me to see that I already know quite a lot of information about (topic) before I even start to read the book. 3. Why the strategy is important and how its mastery willimprove comprehension and when the strategy should and shouldn'tbe used.Can anyone think of a reason why it might be important to maketitles for your writing? Would drawing a picture about your writing help a reader before they read your work? Why? Thinking about the title and pictures helps me to draw a picture in my mind about what the story will be about. It also helps me to realize how much I already know about the story before I begin reading it. This will help me to make a picture in my mind about what could happen in the story and then I will have 93a better understanding of what I read.Activity: Pair children - label A/Bgive each child a bookA's first - think aloud to partners using twostrategiesB's second - same procedure children may share additional information they thoughtof with their partner about the books Storytime - book title: ^Teacher modelling:1. Teacher first clarifies her own views on the primacy ofcomprehension in reading.Reading means understanding the words. If you don't understandthe words then you are not really reading, you are just sayingthe words, or just looking at the words. That's why it's a goodidea to always be checking that you do understand what the storyis about by asking yourself - what's this story about. If youcan answer that question then you should continue reading. If you can't answer that Question, and it happens to me sometimes too, then you should go back and reread that pert of the storyto see if you could start to understand. 2. Teacher discusses with students her own comprehensionbreakdowns during reading and some self-help strategies.focus on making predictions based on the title and pictures inthe story 3. Teacher modelled comprehension strategies while readingaloud to students.94Lesson Plan for Experimental Group - identical lesson as controlgroup.Lesson - Adventures With Mac - Novelette- teach word patterns oo /u/ toooo /uu/ wood- have children think of words that fall in eachcategory- use words in teacher guide on page 4 work withchildren and write into spelling books.- introduce the novelette Adventures With Mac- read through table of contents and browsethrough the pictures.- directed reading for first chapter A Rat with a Sacpp. 6 - 10, teacher's guide page 5.- teach language skills:- doubling of final consonants when there is butone sound after the short vowel sound- opposites - introduce orally- guided practice:- exercises B, and C page 6 of teacher's guidebook.- if children finish up their work they may choose toread with a buddy or independently95APPENDIX DModified Metacomprehens ion Strategy Index96APPENDIX DModified Metacomprehension Strategy IndexIn each statement of three, choose the statement which tells agood thing to do to help you to understand a story better beforeyou read it.1. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. See how many pages are in the story.B. Make some guesses about what I think will happen in thestory.C. Think about what has happened so far in the story.2. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Look at the pictures to see what the story is about.B. Sound out the words I don't know.C. Check to see if the story is making sense.3. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Ask someone to read the story to me.B. Read the title to see what the story is about.C. Check to see if the pictures are in order and make sense.4. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Check to see that no pages are missing.B. Make a list of the words I'm not sure about.C. Use the title and pictures to help me make some guessesabout what will happen in the story.5. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Decide on why I am going to read the story.B. Reread some parts to see if I can figure out what ishappening if things aren't making sense.C. Ask for help with difficult words.6. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Retell all of the main points that have happened so far.B. Ask myself questions that I would like to have answered inthe story.C. Look through the story to find all the words with three ormore syllables.977. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Check to see if I have read this story before.B. Use my questions and guesses as a reason for reading thestory.C. Make sure I can pronounce all of the words before I start.8. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Think of what I already know about the things I see in thepictures.B. See how many pages are in the story.C. Read the story aloud to someone.9. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Practice reading the story aloud.B. Think of what the people in the story might be like.C. Decide if I have enough time to read the story.10. Before I begin reading, it's a good idea to:A. Check to see if I am understanding the story so far.B. Think about where the story might be taking place.C. List all of the important details.II. In each set of three, choose the one statement which tellsa good thing to do to help you understand the story better whileyou are reading it.11. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Read the title to see what the story is about.B. Check to see if the pictures have anything missing.C. Check to see if the story is making sense by seeing if I cantell what's happened so far.12. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Stop to retell the main points to see if I am understandingwhat has happened so far.B. Read the story quickly so that I can find out what hashappened.C. Skip the parts that are too difficult for me.13. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Put the book away and find another one if things aren'tmaking sense.B. Keep thinking about the title and the pictures to help me98decide what is going to happen next.C. Keep track of how many pages I have left to read.14. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Keep track of how long it is taking me to read the story.B. Check to see if I can answer any of the questions I askedbefore I started reading.C. Read the title to see what the story is going to be about.15. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Have someone read the story aloud to me.B. Keep track of how many pages I have read.C. Check to see if my guesses are right or wrong.16. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Make a lot of guesses about what is going to happen next.B. Not look at the pictures because they might confuse me.C. Read the story aloud to someone.17. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Try to answer the questions I asked myself.B. Read the story silently.C. Check to see if I am saying the new vocabulary wordscorrectly.18. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Try to see if my guesses are going to be right or wrong.B. Reread to be sure I haven't missed any of the words.C. Decide on why I am reading the story.19. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. See if I can recognize the new vocabulary words.B. Be careful not to skip any parts of the story.C. Keep thinking of what I already know about the things andideas In the story to help me decide what is going tohappen.20. While I'm reading, it's a good idea to:A. Reread some parts or read ahead to see if I can figure outwhat is happening if things aren't making sense.B. Take my time reading so that I can be sure I understand whatis happening.C. Check to see if there are enough pictures to help me makethe story ideas clear.99APPENDIX EData for Pretests and Posttest ofGates - MacGinitie and Modified MSI1 00APPENDIX EData for Pretests and Posttest ofGates - MacGinitie and Modified MSIROW gatespre msipre gatespst msipost group1 37 4 37 5 02 28 5 30 5 03 27 1 28 5 04 25 5 28 5 05 24 3 32 3 06 19 14 24 13 07 18 4 29 7 08 18 12 26 15 09 15 6 14 5 010 12 5 18 4 011 11 3 18 5 012 34 6 34 19 113 33 8 35 15 114 27 5 31 17 115 26 4 30 11 116 22 15 22 18 117 19 13 30 15 118 18 5 24 5 119 17 9 25 12 120 16 6 29 11 121 12 6 26 9 122 11 11 9 9 1group N MEAN MEDIAN TRMEAN STDEV SEMEANgatespre 0 11 21.27 19.00 20.67 7.77 2.341 11 21.36 19.00 21.11 7.80 2.35msipre 0 11 5.64 5.00 5.22 3.91 1.181 11 8.00 6.00 7.67 3.61 1.09gatespst 0 11 25.82 28.00 25.89 6.82 2.061 11 26.82 29.00 27.89 7.17 2.16msipost 0 11 6.55 5.00 6.00 3.83 1.151 11 12.82 12.00 13.00 4.35 1.31group MIN MAX Q1 Q3gatespre 0 11.00 37.00 15.00 27.001 11.00 34.00 16.00 27.00msipre 0 1.00 14.00 3.00 6.001 4.00 15.00 5.00 11.00gatespst 0 14.00 37.00 18.00 30.001 9.00 35.00 24.00 31.00msipost 0 3.00 15.00 5.00 7.001 5.00 19.00 9.00 17.00101APPENDIX FData for ANOVA on Groups' Mean Gain Scores onGates - MacGinitie Reading Test102APPENDIX FData for ANOVA on Groups' Mean Gain Scores onGates - MacGinitie Reading Test^group^MEAN MEDIAN TRMEAN^STDEV SEMEANgatesdif^0^11^4.55^5.00^4.44^3.83^1.15^1 11 5.45 4.00 5.33 5.47 1.65group^MIN^MAX^Q1^Q3gatesdif^0^-1.00^11.00 1.00 8.001^-2.00^14.00^0.00^11.00ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE ON gatesdifSOURCE^DF^SS^MS^F^Pgroup 1 4.5 4.5 0.20^0.656ERROR^20^445.5^22.3TOTAL 21 450.0103APPENDIX GData for ANOVA of Groups' Mean Gain Scores on Modified MSI104APPENDIX GData for ANOVA of Groups' Mean Gain Scores on Modified MSIgroup^N^MEAN MEDIAN TRMEAN^STDEV SEMEANmsidifmsidif^0 ^11^0.909^0.000^0.778^1.814^0.547^1 11 4.82 3.00 4.67 4.64 1.40group^MIN^MAX^Q1^Q30^-1.000^4.000^-1.000^3.0001^-2.00^13.00 2.00 7.00ANALYSIS OF VARIANCE ON msidifSOURCE^DF^SS^MS^F^pgroup 1 84.0 84.0 6.76^0.017ERROR^20^248.5^12.4TOTAL 21 332.6105APPENDIX HData for ANCOVA showing Gain Scores in ReadingComprehension as a function of Incoming Modified MSI Level106APPENDIX HData for ANCOVA showing Gain Scores in ReadingComprehension as a function of Incoming Modified MSI LevelSource^DF^ADJ SS^MS^F^PCovariates^1 1.39 1.39^0.06 0.810group^1^5.73^5.73^0.25 0.626Error 19 444.06 23.37Total^21^450.00Covariate^Coeff^Stdev t-value^Pmsipre^-0.07014 0.288^-0.2439 0.810107

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