Integrating Evidence-Based Practices in Middle Science Reading
Stephen D. Kroeger | Cathy Burton i Christopher Preston
"Stop, you missed a word. Can you figure it out?'" The student-coach waited four seconds. "No, I don't know how io say thai word," the reader responded. "That word is kilometers. What is the word?" the coach prompted again. "Kiiometers." Thereader said the word correctly this time. "Good! Read that sentence again." After the reader fluently read the paragraph, the student-coach guided the reader in constructing a statement of the main idea: "What is the main 'who' or 'what' of this paragraph?" The reader quickly stated, "The Lightning flash." Remembering not to supply the correct answer, the coach responded, "That is not quite right. Skimthe paragraph and try again." "OK. I see it. It's about a tornado. I've never seen one though, ' the reader replied. "Me neither. I remember having to go to the basement one night because the sirens were going off." The coach continued to prompt. "Tell me the most importan! thing about tornadoes in the paragraph." The reader replied, "There is a terrible sound like a train coming, and winds torethe small town apart." The partners both wrote the sentence "The tornado made a terrible soimd like a locomotive, and winds tore Ihe small town apart" in their science journals and tben edited the sentence to 10 or fewer words.
6 COUNCIL FOR EXCEPTIONAL CHILDREN
Reading comprehension is often a concern for students who are struggling or reluctant readers (Higgins, Boone, & Lovitt. 2002). Thechallenge is most significant in the content areas, with textbooks that are often beyond the reading level of those students, that include new vocabulary, and tbat are not organized in an intuitive way (Baker, Gersten, & Grossen, 2002). Reading science text is perhaps most challenging because of its many new concepts and words. A significant gap also exists between the previous knowledge of thestudent and tbe new information introduced in the class. Furthermore, constructing new knowledge often depends on the student's understanding wbat he or she has read (Barton, Heidema, & Jordan, 2002), so the student wbo struggles with reading
tion itself (NBPTS. 2007). Inquiry, tbe heart of the scientific process, requires that students be engaged [National Research Council, 1996). If students areto reach higher levels of engagement and reflect on scientific concepts and processes, then teachers must find ways to encourage student engagement. Peer-mediated instructional practices may support a more holistic approach to science learning. The scientific process requires planning, hypothesizing, predicting, designing, carrying out investigations, interpreting, inferring, and communicating(Topping, Peter, Stephen. & Whale, 2004). An understanding of scientific terms is crucial in all these processes; this understanding constitutes a metacognitive challenge that requires practice and application (Barton et al.
If students are to reach higher levels of engagement and reflect on scientific concepts and processes, then teachers must find ways to support student engagement.
the textwill have more difficulty forming concepts. Students have many scientific misconceptions because of bigh-stakes testing and its emphasis on memorizing isolated pieces of information (Walpole, Justice, & Invernizzi, 2004). Teachers often depend on covering material through lectures; however, science understanding stems from sensemaking ratber tban from the informa2002; Harvey & Goudvis, 1999). Whenteachers avoid these complex processes, instructional content and pedagogy tend to focus on facts and description instead of cause and reason (Ward & Wandersee, 2001, 2002; White & Frederiksen, 1998). Tbe language in science textbooks challenges students wbo have difficulty with text comprehension (Higgins et al., 2002). Technical terms such as
deciduous mix witb ordinary words that have...