An investigation into the use of scaffolding questions to determine the levels of comprehension of a group of year four children using two diffrent genres of literature.
Davies, Helen Clare
University of Wales Institute, Cardiff.
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This piece of action research was undertaken to investigate levels of understanding among a group of eight year old children. The study was undertaken with a view to assist the class teacher in determining comprehension levels of pupils without using formal , commercially produced reading and comprehension tests. It had been noted by the researcher, in her role as a class teacher, that while some children can de-code texts successfully and read fluently, they were unable to understand what they read. The investigation was designed to assess the child's degree of interaction with texts and thereby determine their degree of understanding. Two story genres were used in the investigation, fairytale and humorous stories. Consideration was given to home background, reading experience and personal reading preferences. The activities the children completed as part of the study were classroom based. The children listened to selected stories and completed activities on each of the stories in turn. Each child retold the story on to cassette tape. They predicted events during the reading, tried to 'picture' themselves in a scene from the story and answered a series of scaffolding questions designed to determine levels of understanding. The study concluded that reading support at home and the ability to relate events in a story to incidents in their own lives was an important issue when considering a child's comprehension of a text. The results of the study complemented the results the children gained in commercial comprehension tests but had the added advantage of being less time consuming for the teacher instigating the assessments' The results suggest a need for further refinement of the processes used in the study and this may point the way forward for future investigation.
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