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


  1. After one year of instruction in the SYR strateroutine, treatment groups at all grades demonstrated significant gains in either (or in sixth grade both) the asking of self-prompting questions or the use of strategies before, during, and after reading. However, no significant gains were made on the standardized reading measure (DRP). A plausible explanation is that learning metacognitive behaviors such as self-questioning and strategy use may take more time to generalize to standardized testing than the dosage (14-39 hrs.) facilitated. An equally plausible explanation is that the format of the DRP did not lend itself to the use of the SYR packaging strategy, which was designed to promote strategic reading in authentic classroom reading tasks.

  2. In Year One, the sixth-grade control group out-performed the treatment group, albeit not significantly and with a small effect size. Although the sixth-grade treatment group did significantly better in self-questioning and strategy use, fidelity checks revealed sporadic attention to overall reading comprehension with a low dosage (14 hrs.) of SYR instruction in the treatment class.

  3. The most dramatic results were seen in Year Two with eighth-grade students in the treatment group, who made significant gains with large to very large effect sizes on the standardized reading comprehension measure as well as self-questioning and strategy use. It is reasonable to suspect that maturation with these older students may enhance their ability to engage in metacognitive tasks and apply metacognitive behaviors to a broad array of reading tasks, including standardized tests.

  4. In Year Two, neither sixth- nor seventh-grade adolescents in treatment groups had significant increases in reading comprehension scores, with only seventh-graders who had received SYR instruction for two years making significant gains in metacognitive behaviors with medium to large effect size (.75) in self-questioning, even with higher dosages in Year Two (sixth=68; seventh=90). Interpretations proffered in #1 may apply. Additionally, fidelity may be an issue; a more detailed approach to fidelity checks is warranted in future research.

  5. Both high and low achievers appear to benefit from SYR instruction in terms of metacognitive behaviors and reading comprehension but more so after two years of instruction with larger effects for the low achievers. Both favored self-questioning.

  6. SPED students and the LD subset showed gains in strategies after Year One, with large effects for the LD group. The LD group also showed gains in self-questioning with medium effect size. After Year Two, only the SPED group as a whole showed significant gains in use of strategies with a large effect.

  7. The SYR instructional protocol calls for equal attention to the self-questioning prompts and strategic actions associated with each step of the strateroutine. It is therefore interesting to note that in some instances, the adolescents evidenced better use of one over the other. It is possible that teacher emphasis on one could account for those results. It is also possible that students may favor the use of one metacognitive behavior over the other. Future research might explicate the relationship of self-questioning and strategic action in metacognitive reading tasks.


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