What impact does using trade books, in conjunction with basal readers have on the reading comprehension of third grade students?

This study was conducted to explore the impact of supplementing the adopted reading curriculum (basal reader) with theme based studies and author studies on the reading comprehension ofthe students. The assessments used in this study were from the Accelerated Reader system and the Houghton selection tests. Three procedures were used, one with no supplement, one with an author study and one with theme studies. The study was conducted with 17 third grade students at a small, one-school school district in Southern California. Results found that the supplemental studies did not improve reading comprehension. A discussion ofthe reasons for this result include the limits ofthe assessments used because they fail to capture the richness ofwhat the author and theme studies provide and could actually interfere with literal level comprehension which is what Accelerated Reader and Houghton Mifflin tests tend to assess. Key Words: reading, comprehension, author study, theme study, basal reader, trade books