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    SPRING 2011

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    Table of Contents

    Abstract . 4

    Chapter 1: Introduction

    Contextual Factors.. 6

    Atypical Student One.. 8

    Atypical Student Two. 9

    Atypical Student Three... 10

    Impact of Teaching Skills on Student Learning. 11

    Statement of the Problem 12

    Chapter 2: Review of Literature

    Reading Comprehension Strategies for Struggling, Adolescent Readers. 13

    Chapter 3: Implementation of the Unit and Analysis of Data

    Introduction of Chapter 25

    Description of Unit.. 25

    Accommodations for Atypical Students.. 26

    Measuring the Impact of New Technique 27

    Analysis of Pre-Assessment Data 27

    Analysis of Formative Data. 36

    Day One .. 36

    Day Two.. 38

    Day Three.... 40

    Day Four.. 43

    Day Five.. 46

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    Day Six 49

    Day Seven 52

    Day Eight 55

    Day Nine. 58

    Day Ten... 60

    Formative Assessment Tables. 62

    Analysis of Post-Assessment Data.. 68

    Chapter 4: Summary of Results

    Reflection on Unit and Teaching. 82

    Examination of Research Hypothesis.. 86

    References.. 89


    Appendix A: Journal Entries.. 92

    Appendix B: Copy of Pre-Assessment 103

    Appendix C: Answer Key for Pre-Assessment.. 134

    Appendix D: Copies of Atypical Students Pre-Assessments 141

    Appendix E: Copies of Atypical Students Unit Formative Assessments. 166

    Appendix F: Copy of Post-Assessment. 229

    Appendix G: Answer Key for Post-Assessment 244

    Appendix H: Copies of Atypical Students Post-Assessments.. 253

  • Chapter 2: Reading Comprehension Strategies 4


    Research dealing with the reading comprehension of struggling, adolescent students is limited.

    Research that studies the effects of various teaching methods such as the direct, explicit

    instruction of reading strategies, the use of different types of technology to supplement reading

    instruction, the use of classroom talk moves to facilitate discussion, and the importance of

    fluency instruction and its influence on comprehension. There is statistical data to support these

    specific strategies and techniques to help struggling students in the upper elementary and middle

    school classroom. This action research project studies the effects of using direct fluency

    instruction on a group of 22 lower performing sixth-grade students in order to increase their

    reading comprehension.

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    Chapter 1: Introduction

    In order to understand any action research project, it is important to understand the students,

    classroom, and school involved. Each school has its individual characteristics that make it its

    own, therefore it is necessary to understand the unique characteristics of Mrs. Kelly Celanias

    sixth-grade reading class and Hamilton Elementary School.

    Contextual Factors

    I currently teach at Hamilton Elementary School in the Hamilton Community

    Consolidated School District #328. Hamilton, Illinois is located on the Mississippi River where

    Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri meet. Hamilton is considered a small, rural, bedroom community.

    Our district is made up of 654 total students, 363 of which attend Hamilton Elementary.

    Hamilton Elementary is a pre-K through sixth-grade building. The rest of the students

    attend Hamilton Jr./Sr. High School which is located in a separate building across town.

    I currently teach in a departmentalized sixth-grade classroom. I have taught in the

    Hamilton Community Consolidated School District for 19 years. I have taught sixth-grade

    students for 13 of those years. Our sixth-grade is made up of two sections. I currently teach one

    section of reading, two sections of language arts, and two sections of social studies. I service a

    total of 41 students.

    This project will focus upon my reading class. This class is a homogeneous mixture of

    lower achieving reading students. Students were placed in this classroom based upon AIMSweb

    results and ISAT testing scores. It is made up of 22 students, 13 males and 9 females. Twenty

    of the students are Caucasian. I also have two students of mixed ethnicity. One student is a mix

    of Caucasian and Polynesian. Another student is a mix of Caucasian and African-American. I

    do not service any second language learners. Three students in my reading class do have IEPs.

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    One student is learning disabled and receives tutorial services only. The other two students

    receive speech therapy services only. None of these students receive any special education

    instruction within my classroom.

    Because of the lower levels of reading achievement, I do have one paraprofessional in my

    reading classroom. According to our latest AIMSweb results, 10 of my 22 students are below

    standards. Six of the 22 students are diagnosed with ADHD. I also service five Title I students.

    These students receive Tier II instruction through the RtI model with the Title I instructor for an

    extra 20 minutes each day, five days a week. Eleven, 50% of my students, receive free or

    reduced lunch and 14 of the students live in a single-parent home due to divorce and other

    causes. Currently, Hamilton is suffering a high unemployment rate due to the local economy, as

    well as the current lockout at Roquette America, a factory located in Keokuk, Iowa. I am also

    servicing two students who are at risk of being retained based upon their first semester grades.

    Based on this information, I do have several behaviorally challenged students. Because of these

    challenges, we often do small group work and try to keep activities differentiated based on

    learner interest, style, and readiness.

    This year we have begun RtI at Hamilton Elementary. We currently have a 90 minute

    reading period, five days a week. To coordinate with the RtI model, we have also implemented

    PBIS this year. These two systems are both serving to meet the needs of my students. The 90

    minute reading period is a change for the students. Up until this year they have only ever had a

    50 minute reading block. It has taken some adjustments. We are also encouraging the Cardinal

    Way, our PBIS model, within the classroom to reward positive behaviors. This is very important

    due to the behavior challenges within my classroom. We also use AIMSweb at Hamilton

    Elementary to test and collect data on fluency. Not only do I benchmark my students three times

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    a year, I also progress monitor them every other week. By doing this I am able to monitor their

    growth and discern which students need more strategic interventions.

    Overall my reading class is very needy. I have students who have moved around, seen

    their parents in jail, suffer from ADHD, and come from homes where education is not high on

    their priority list. Out of 22 students, I would say that only a handful have homes where school

    comes first. Developmentally, 10 of my students fall below and well below average based on

    our winter AIMSweb benchmarking. The other 12 are in the bottom half of the average range.

    The class has its challenges but the students are making progress. Most are at or above their

    AIMSweb goals and continue to improve. My challenge is to find ways to continue to make

    those improvements happen.

    Throughout this project I will study not only my entire reading class, but I will also focus

    specifically on three atypical students in my classroom. They each have unique characteristics

    that make them ideal candidates to study in depth. By studying these three students along with

    my entire class, I hope to better understand what my class needs in order to become better


    Atypical Student One

    Student 1 is an 11 year old male. This student is my student with an IEP. His IEP is for a

    specific learning disability in reading. He also qualifies for free/reduced lunch and lives in a

    single parent home with his biological mother and