An investigation of two reading strategies for science reading comprehension among bilingual and nonbilingual third grade students



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Recent research with English monolingual students indicates that reading comprehension is an interactive process that can be taught explicitly. However, research on how to teach science reading comprehension to English mono- linguals is limited, especially at the primary level. The acquisition of scientific knowledge requires that the learner be taught how to process the context-reduced language of science. Additionally, this processing is more cognitively demanding for the learner who must process the content and language simultaneously through instruction in a second language; therefore, the research need exists for effective content teaching strategies with bilingual and monolingual students. The purpose of this study was to examine the differences between two reading strategies: (a) an explicit group strategy, mapping, and (b) a group basal strategy on the reading comprehension of science text among bilingual and nonbilingual third graders. It was hypothesized that students who engaged in mapping the topic prior to reading would obtain statistically significant <p< .05) higher comprehension scores than students who did not. Instruction using the mapping strategy, based .on schema theory, helps students structure and relate prior knowledge (schemata) of the science topic, matter, to new concepts presented about matter. The basal strategy, based on basal series methodology, presents new concepts about matter through definitions. Of the nine randomly assigned teachers who participated, five (two bilingual and three monolingual) used the mapping strategy and four (two bilingual and two monolingual) used the basal strategy.



Reading comprehension, Bilingualism