A) Restatement of problem
The problem stated in the Action Research Project was that 66% of third grade students lack the ability to draw conclusions and make inferences to answer comprehension questions correctly. This was evident by the state reading test scores, specifically the inference test given by their teacher. This indicated a need for increased student achievement in making inferences and drawing conclusions. Third grade students were not proficient at making inferences to gain a deeper understanding of the texts read and thus answer open ended questions correctly. Therefore, they did not get all the inference based comprehension questions correct based on the end of grade test scores that these third grade students are required to take. This indicated a need for additional support making inferences through direct instruction, peer discussion and independent practice in the classroom setting. Students had previously been taught how to make inferences through discussion and worksheets.
B) Review of main strategies
The basic strategies used in this project included interactive read aloud, a reading response journal, and making inferences with photographs. An important component used in the implementation plan was the integration of the read alouds with the reading response journal as well as a great deal of modeling. The teacher gave the students time before, after, and during reading to write responses in their journals. They were encouraged to make predictions, connections, share reactions, opinions, visualizations, ask questions and make inferences. By having the students use those various strategies, they were learning how to really think about what they were reading in order to get a deeper understanding of their texts. Using these various strategies would ultimately increase their understanding and thus improve their ability to make inferences about what they read. The students were given time before reading to make predictions about what they thought might happen and any reactions or opinions from the previous reading. While the teacher was reading, the students were encouraged to make connections and inferences. They also began a section of vocabulary words they found challenging or interesting. This list of words was ongoing and the students had to find the definition that went along with their word. The teacher also listed those words on chart paper during the reading time. Once the teacher had ended the read aloud time, the students had time to reflect on what they read. They might make inferences based on what they had learned or share how they visualized the scene taking place. The teacher also modeled what she was thinking as she came to different parts of the story.
C) Description of post implementation data collection tools
Post implementation, the teacher used a variety of tools to test the effectiveness of the ARP. Students took a teacher created “Inference Assessment” (Appendix A, p. 7) that consisted of two reading passages and ten short answer questions. The students had to read each short story and then answer five questions based on each story. The questions to the answers had to be inferring from the short passages. Students needed to get eight of the ten questions correct to receive a passing score. The assessment was scored by hand and scores were recorded as a percentage.
The class completed a “Charles Assessment” (Appendix B, p. 8) Students had to read a short story by Shirley Jackson entitled “Charles,” and answer several questions and write a short essay based on their interpretation of the story. Their interpretation of what they read showed how well they were able to infer what the story was about. Students had to complete the various questions and tasks to the best of their ability based on their interpretation of the story. Students’ answers were scored based on their vocabulary answers, ability to create an...