Thesis Title

Impact of a Middle School Reading Strategies Elective on Reading Comprehension Test Scores and Reading Confidence

Graduation Date

Spring 2003

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Madalienne F. Peters, EdD


In the fall of 2001, a local middle school decided to implement a new elective course. This course was designed to assist struggling middle school readers in acquiring the reading proficiency that would be required to succeed in higher level course work. Students remained in their regular English classes but devoted the elective period that their peers spent playing steel pans or learning perspective drawing to improving their reading skills. The central focus of the class was to teach students the strategies proficient readers use and provide a supportive environment for the practice and development of those strategies. Classroom teachers and the school s administrators recommended the students for this course; test scores and classroom performance were the dominant criterion.

This study examined the effect of an elective course in reading strategies on students reading comprehension as measured through the state-sponsored test. Seventeen seventh and eighth grade students participated in the study.

For eighth grade participants, reading comprehension test scores given at the end of seventh grade and at the end of eighth grade were analyzed using t-test. For seventh grade participants, reading comprehension test scores given at the end of sixth grade and at the end of seventh grade were analyzed using t-test. Results indicated that, on average, the reading comprehension percentile scores of the student participants improved 14.3 percentile stanines more than the students at the site who did not participate in the Reading Strategies course.

Additionally, two students from the initial group were interviewed and asked questions pertaining to their perceptions of the impact of the reading strategies elective course on their current reading practices. Results indicated that student participants remember and apply a number of the strategies learned in their high school classes. Importantly, students report that they often approach their academic reading assignments with confidence.

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