This action inquiry project was instigated by the researcher with Year 7 learners because her teaching experience to date highlighted that developing learners’ comprehension skills was an area for research, a ‘professional itch’. In her varied employment settings, a common thread was that reading capability does not always match the level of comprehension. Learners often read fluently and accurately but when questioned to determine understanding they respond at a lower level. Additionally noted were difficulties in understanding non-literal meanings of the text; learners find it particularly difficult to make inferences from what they have read. Having identified the issue of disparity between reading and comprehension, the researcher sought to find ways to address the problem in the classroom with a focus group of learners.
Research identified a particular strategy which could strengthen understanding and retention of what has been read. Survey, Question, Read, Recite, Review (SQ3R) is a structured approach to analysing a text which emphasises a step by step process and allows repeated reviews of what has been read. The potential was noted for this strategy to provide a tool which would enable learners to utilise the information they gather during reading to answer more inferential comprehension questions. A four week intervention was then planned with Year 7 learners to experiment with the strategy.
The project is presented in ten sections which guide the reader through each part of the inquiry, for example beginning with a rationale and focus for the inquiry, progressing to a thorough literature review of the key issues associated with comprehension. A detailed description and analysis of the intervention is then set out and research methods are presented and critically evaluated. Findings are then analysed and to finish the researcher discusses the impact of the project on her as a professional and the wider impact it could have in the future.
© Gill McPhillips January 2016