Effective theory for teaching and learning nonfiction text structures

In this study, direct instruction of nonfiction text structures and its effect on reading comprehension of second grade students is examined. This study took place in an upper class elementary school with a large student population. The test sampling, gathered from two second grade classrooms, included two high, two medium, and two below grade level students. In addition, six English Language Learners (ELL) ranging from generally nonverbal to moderately proficient English speakers participated in the study. The teaching strategy consisted primarily of whole class direct instruction to define, teach and identify eighteen specific text structures of expository material. The study was conducted over the course of six months. The evaluation strategy consisted of pre and post assessments. Prior to and following instruction the students were given a teacher-made visual test, in a multiple choice format, of the eighteen structures. These assessments assisted in determining the students' initial ability to identify and define the text structures. A pre and post Independent Reading Inventory (IRI) or Running Record was also administered to help assess the students' reading accuracy and comprehension of expository text. All students showed improved text structure identification and increased reading comprehension. It was concluded from this study that direct instruction of specific nonfiction text structures can improve comprehension of expository text. In order to determine the longevity of sustaining these positive results, future assessment and analysis are indicated.