KU Center for Research on Learning

KU Center for Research on Learning

Images ok bike riders from the STRUCTURE Your Reading book cover representing the 3 steps in the strategy.

Results of a Two-Year Study on the Effectiveness of STRUCTURE Your Reading

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Dr. Barbara J. Ehren, University of Central Florida

Results are reported on a two-year randomized control study that investigated the effectiveness of a structured approach to strategic reading (STRUCTURE Your Reading [SYR]) on the comprehension of text and the metacognitive behaviors of students in sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade language arts classes, co-taught by a general education and special education teacher. Year One participants were followed in Year Two with a new cohort in sixth grade. ANCOVA analysis revealed that Year One treatment groups at all grades had significant self-questioning or strategy gains with medium to large effect sizes and no significant gains in reading comprehension. In Year Two, neither sixth- nor seventh-graders in treatment groups gained significantly on the standardized reading comprehension measure; however, the seventh-graders made significant gains in self-questioning. Eighth-graders after two years made significant gains with large to very large effect sizes on all measures. Both high and low achievers made significant gains on reading comprehension and self-questioning with very large effect sizes for the low achievers. Special education students, including those with learning disabilities, showed medium to large effects for self-questioning and/or strategy use. Overall results indicate that SYR shows promise for teaching middle school students in general education and special education to be strategic readers.

The investigators have developed a “strateroutine” called STRUCTURE Your Reading (SYR) that builds on the extant research base in adolescent literacy, including work done at the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning in its Strategic Instruction Model™ (SIM™) research, including Learning Strategies and Content Enhancement Routines. The components of SIM have undergone extensive testing with adolescents to validate the efficacy of this instructional approach (e.g. Deshler & Lenz, 1989; Deshler & Schumaker, 1988; Fisher, Schumaker, & Deshler, 2002; Schumaker & Deshler, 1992). The SYR instructional procedure provides an explicit, interactive way to teach students a systematic method to approach reading, so that students know how to employ strategies before, during, and after reading. It provides a context within which to teach specific reading comprehension strategies so that students can understand the role that individual strategies play in the total reading comprehension process. It also provides a package that helps students put together individual strategies that they have learned. Further, it allows for individualization of instruction within the instructional protocol.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the SYR strategic reading intervention on the metacognitive behaviors and reading comprehension of middle school students.

Research Questions:

  • Do students who are taught SYR in a middle school language arts class perform better on the Degrees of Reading Power (DRP) test than students in a traditionally taught language arts class?

  • Do middle school students who are taught SYR use self-questioning before, during, and after reading more frequently than students in a traditionally taught language arts class?

  • Do middle school students who are taught SYR employ strategies more frequently before, during, and after reading than students in a traditionally taught language arts class?

Field-Test and Pilot Work
A preliminary field-test was conducted with SYR to test the steps and language of instruction with more than 60 middle school and high school students. Major revisions in the framework were made as a result. Pilot studies have been completed at a middle school, high school, and several juvenile justice facilities with more than 110 students to further refine the instructional protocol.

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