Description: Many interventions for reading are focused at the younger elementary grades; however these researchers looked at a strategy to enhance the reading comprehension skills of a group of ninth grade students both with and without disabilities. The study was designed to answer the question: Can story-structure components be taught to heterogeneous groups of learners, in general education settings, to improve reading comprehension without sacrificing the learning of the higher achieving peers? The Embedded Story-Structure Routine (ESS) focuses on: improving student use of reading comprehension strategies, knowledge of strategy components and literary terms, comprehension of stories, and satisfaction with the routine. The ESS routine focused on 3 main strategies: self-questioning (used during pre-reading), story-structure analysis (used during reading), and summary writing (used after reading).
Materials: Overhead projector, large presentation screen, ESS organizer (a graphic device), 2 side-by-side whiteboards, eight short stories (9-18 pgs in length), and one folktale
Teacher sets-up the classroom so all students can see the presentation screen and whiteboards
Teacher chooses 8 short stories and one folktale to be used for ESS instruction
Teacher explains to students how to use the ESS organizer and provided practice with the device
Steps in Implementing this Intervention:
Step 1: The teacher should conduct some type of pre-test to see what level of reading comprehension skills the students currently possess. This could be a unit test from some type of reading textbook or it could be a more formal strategy such as one of the tests used by the researchers (The Strategy-Use Test, The Knowledge Test, etc.).
Step 2: Before students begin the first story, they use the self-questioning device. Teachers have students walk through 7 questions to ask about the story ("who," "what," "when," "where," "which," "how," and "why"). These help the students remember the 8 critical components to the story (main character, initiating event, time, place, central conflict, climax/turning point, resolution, and theme).
Step 3:Then the teacher has the students read the short story or folktale.
Step 4: While reading the story, the students fill in a Story-Structure Diagram on their ESS organizer while answering the 7 critical questions about the story. This helps the students analyze the story structure as they are reading the story.
Step 5: After students have completed the story, they write a short written summary of the story. Students use their answers to the 7 critical questions as well as their Story-Structure Diagram to write this summary.
Step 6: After teaching the students the ESS Routine and implementing this strategy in the classroom, the teacher would then want to conduct some type of post-test to see whether this was an effective intervention. The teacher could use the same instrument from the pre-test and compare the results.
The researchers also used a Student Satisfaction Survey to assess the students’ satisfaction with their reading skills. They also administered a Satisfaction with Instruction survey to assess the students’ satisfaction with the ESS procedure they were taught.
The article breaks down exactly what the teachers in the study did during each day of instruction with the ESS routine. This would be helpful to give to teachers who might be interested in implementing this in their classrooms.
References: Faggella-Luby, M., Schumaker, J. S., & Deshler, D. D. (2007). Embedded learning
strategy instruction: Story-structure pedagogy in heterogeneous secondary
literature classes. Learning Disability Quarterly, 30(2), 131-147.