Content analysis of four core basal reading programs: focusing on comprehension strategies (story structure, summarizing, and the use of graphic organizers)

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University of Alabama Libraries

Core reading programs are typically referred to as basals because they serve as the "base" for reading instruction. A core reading program is the primary instructional tool that teachers use to teach children to learn to read. The purpose of this study was to conduct a content analysis of three comprehension instructional strategies in four first-grade core basal reading teachers' manuals that were the top four highly recommended core basal reading programs of those to be considered for adoption by the Alabama State Department of Education during the 2007-2008 academic year. The content analysis was conducted to answer the overarching question in this study: How are the National Reading Panel recommendations for teaching comprehension instructional strategies in the areas of story structure, summarizing, and the use of graphic organizers represented in four first-grade core basal reading programs? Two sub-questions of the research question were considered: (a) How are the four first grade core basal reading programs teachers' manuals organized and how are the units and lessons within them constructed? (b) What do these strategies look like in the four first-grade core reading programs and how often do the comprehension strategies appear and in what sequence? The results revealed that several themes emerged from the content analysis. These themes revolved around the following core basal reading program components: unit themes, literacy centers, morning message, building background, read-alouds, word work, and guiding comprehension. All four core basal reading programs presented the use of story structure, summarizing, and graphic organizers comprehension instructional strategies.

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Education, Reading, Education, Curriculum and Instruction, Elementary education