How does building background knowledge by previewing vocabulary and creating context through pre-reading activities affect English language learners’ reading comprehension?
English language learners (ELLs) make up an increasingly large population of students in the United States. While many ELLs come to school with little background in the English language, No Child Left Behind (2001) mandates that they demonstrate grade-level reading skills. This study takes place in a rural Northern California school where a majority of the students are English language learners. The research focuses on a group of seven third-grade students whose reading test scores indicated a need for supplemental instruction. The intervention took the form of a small group lesson at the start of each day, four days a week. Research pointed to building background knowledge by previewing vocabulary and creating context through pre-reading activities as a way to improve reading comprehension. These strategies were implemented during the small group intervention. Data for the study included test scores, anecdotal notes, and feedback from the students. This data was collected throughout the intervention and analyzed using the grounded theory. The results of this research were inconclusive. Triangulation of data did not show significantly that the strategies employed in the small group intervention improved reading comprehension.