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Research @ CEHD

Improving reading comprehension through text structure instruction

Coaching Support for ITSS

Sharon Walpole, SOE, is partnering with Kasualai Wijekumar (Texas A & M) to enhance classroom-based text structure instruction in 4th and 5th grades. This grant will test the efficacy of the Intelligent Tutoring system for the Structure Strategy (ITSS), an online tutor that teaches students about different structures for text (e.g. comparison, cause and effect) to improve reading comprehension outcomes.

One problem that many students who struggle to read may encounter is the inability to understand and remember what they read. The structure strategy is a method of understanding and remembering text by learning to identify different ways text can be organized, which in turn will help students to focus on the important ideas and arguments within an informational text.

Wijekumar has designed a computer-adaptive text structure intervention which has produced stronger gains in achievement when coupled with classroom instruction. Walpole will design model classroom lessons and work with site-based coaches in remote sessions as they support teacher implementation of text structure lessons within the classrooms.  Concurrently, the text structure intervention will be tested in a randomized control trial.

This $3.5 million research project, funded by the Institute for Education Sciences, will last for three years. The evaluation will take place in 36 high poverty schools in Texas and Pennsylvania, with approximately 216 teachers and their 3,888 fourth and fifth grade students  participating in the study.

PI: Kasualai Wijekumar (Texas A & M) 
Co-Principal Investigators: Bonnie Meyer (Pennsylvania State University), Pui-Wa Lei (Pennsylvania State University), Lori Johnson (Pennsylvania State University), Sharon Walpole (University of Delaware)

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