What are the effects of student-led literature circles versus direct instruction on the reading comprehension of struggling fifth grade readers?
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of student-led literature circles versus direct instruction on the reading comprehension of struggling fifth grade readers. Six fifth grade students participated in this study. Three of these students engaged in literature circles while receiving direct instruction from the basal series while the other three also received direct instruction, but did not participate in literature circles. Data was collected from various sources in order to monitor and evaluate the reading comprehension of each participant. Each of the six participants were administered the DRA and MAP test before and after the study. Role sheets and discussion evaluations from both the researcher and each participant in literature circles were closely evaluated. In addition, the students took reading attitude surveys before and after partaking in literature circles. Furthermore, these students also took reading quizzes after they read each book. This collection of data supports that students find enjoyment in reading as a result of participating in literature circles. The participants benefited from listening to the other students discuss aspects of the story as much as speaking themselves. Because data was only collected for only six weeks, it was hard to assess whether their reading comprehension improved as a direct result of participating in literature circles; however, their attitude toward reading did. Literature circles are a great way to motivate struggling readers to read quality literature. Key Word~: literature circles, struggling readers, reading comprehension, basal readers, direct instruction, mixed methods design