Date of Award

8-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Advisor

Gillis, Victoria

Committee Member

Dunston , Pamela

Committee Member

Reinking , David

Committee Member

Bridges, Jr. , William

Abstract

This mixed-methods study explored third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers' perceptions of their role in teaching content literacy in the elementary science and social studies classroom. The rationale for this study was the growing number of studies questioning the reliance on the inoculation theory for content area literacy comprehension. The study was a mixed methods study so as to provide insight into the participants' thought processes in decision making and instructional planning. Data sources included timed instructional observations, tiered checklist to identify strategy instruction, and prompted critical reflections. The three-tiered observation instrument categorized strategies used by teachers in tiers according to the focus of the strategy. Tier I strategies were those identified as strategies good readers use, typically taught with narrative text. The inoculation theory posits these skills transfer to reading informational and expository text. Tier II strategies were those identified as strategies appropriate for informational or expository text. Use of these strategies acknowledged that narrative and informational/expository text require different strategies, but does not differentiate between expository text drawn from particular content area. Tier III strategies were those identified as strategies particularly suited to informational or expository text drawn from specific content areas. These strategies embody cognitive processes used to comprehend text drawn from specific content areas. The findings showed the participating teachers used a preferential Tier of strategy instruction. Some participants felt that reading comprehension was more important than content. They viewed reading as a subject instead of an integral part of science and social studies instruction.

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