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MAKING STUDENTS PARTNERS

IN THE COMPREHENSION PROCESS:


ORGANIZING THE READING POSSE
C arol S u e E nglert a n d Troy V. M an ag e

Abstract. This article reports on a com prehension procedure that m akes visible
to students their prior knowledge about a topic and the structures in expository
text. The procedure used reciprocal-like teaching form ats for the design of group
interactions during instruction, as well as sem antic m apping to make text struc
tures ap p aren t to students. Results suggested that strategy instruction using this
procedure significantly affected recall of expository ideas and knowledge of com
prehension strategies am ong students with learning disabilities. More im portantly,
it was the extent to which teachers were able to transfer control of reading strate
gies to students that appeared to affect students developing strategy knowledge.

Students' background knowledge, knowledge success of reciprocal teaching


of text structures and reading strategies, and self 1. Reciprocal teaching is based upon devel
regulation of reading strategies provide an im opmg students proficiency In a small set of
portant basis for developing a comprehension reading strategies that are related to compre
curriculum. The number of successful training hension (Palincsar & Brown. 1986). Research
studies that concentrate on the combination of supports the effectiveness of activating back
these factors Is relatively small, with the recipro ground knowledge through prediction activities
cal teaching procedure as a notable exception (Bos & Anders, 1990; Wilson & Anderson.
(Brown. Armbruster. & Baker. 1986) 1986); actively rehearsing the ideas in text
Reciprocal Teaching through summarization (Armbruster. Anderson.
Reciprocal teaching refers to the process & Ostertag. 1987. Winograd. 1984); asking
whereby students take turns assuming the re questions about major ideas (Wong, 1979;
sponsibilities of the teacher for leading discussion Wong & Jones. 1982). and monitoring and reg
about short sections of the text by using four ulating comprehension by clarifying ambiguities
reading strategies: questioning, summarizing, and vague concepts (Baker &. Brown, 1986;
clarifying, and predicting text information (Bos & Bos & Filip, 1984: Reis & Spekman. 1983)
Anders, 1990; Palmcsar & Brown. 1986), For 2, Reciprocal teaching develops comprehen
example, the student leading the discussion sion abilities by creating a social community
poses a question about the main idea to the where students collaborate in using strategies.
reading group for other students lo answer The
student leader summarises the Information in
the section by including the main idea and details
in a summary statement The student leader and CAROL SU E EN G LERT. Ph D., ts Associate
other students clarify their understanding of the Professor, Department of Spectal Education.
text. resolving questions about unfamiliar words Michigan State University
or unclear referents Students also make predic TROY V M ARIAGE. Ph D . Is a Research As
tions about the content of the next section of sistant, Department o f Special Education.
text Three features of the process promote the Michigan State University.
AH members of the rt*^dir>g group actively parlk1 tory text structures include description, problem
ipate in the comprehension process by answer solution, and compare/contras: (Armbruster,
ing The discussion leaders' questions, leading the 1984, Armbmster et al. 1987; Meyer, 1975},
comprehension diKUS$k>n, and contributing to With naturally occurring expository te^rs, text
the discussion to support if*; group In arriving at structure Is more likely to be vjrldble jnd repie-
i butler uryJeisijndirkg of the text's meaning. sented by categories of superordinate and subor
Students assume the roie of discussion leaders, dinate details related to a topic. For example, an
responsibility for implementing anti monitoring expository text about an animat is likely to con
strategy me is handed over from teacher;; ro stu tain information pertaining to iuch categories of
dents. Thus, the reciprocal teaching format pro information as. Where does it liue^ Whii does
vides <i built in mechanism for transferring it Look like? What does it eat? What are its
control for Srategy use and regulation. Teachers habits?"
gradually cede responsibility to students for the Knowledge ol these text structures not only
selt-talk. and inner dialogue related to the com .Gems to be related to overall reading compre
prehension process, as students directly empkw.'. hension (Hnglert Sc Hiebert. 1934). but format
direct, and monitor strategy use while reading. instruction in test structures can improve stu
3 Students actively collaborate in sensp- dents' comprehension of expository texts (Arm
meJdrcg o cflu iil to construct new iiK\jnJrhg,.s bruster et al,, 1987; Taylor & B<jach, 19S4).
Tn reciprocal teaching, meaning is conceived of Specifically, by using graphic representations of
as a social process In which students negotiate these structuies and by mapping ideas onto text
and reach consensus about the text's meaning struclure maps, teachers can make text strUC
1see Aivermann. 19S5). as opposed to tech lures and relationships vUible to students iBos (i
niques whereby meaning is conceited of as a Anders. 1990). However, text structure instruc
form of objecliue realny that resides In the words tion rind mapping need to be incorporated into
of the text For example., in remprocal reaching (he reading lesson sc that students understand
siuderils buikl U[X>n each other s ideas. :nontor their use within an entire reading process involv
answers, and contribute new understandings as ing: before, during, and after reading strategies.
they Jointly work to frame an answer to a ques Furthermore. Instruction needs to promote stu
t>on or to comprehend ideas. Comprehension, dents' abilities to internalize text structures so
therefore, is based upon mutual collaboration, that thev can independently ijoritrol and itguJuiK
with Lexl serving as the medium for creating the Jitrategy even w,hen the teacher is unavail
meaning and arriving at shared understandings able to guide them in making graphic repri^en
Jn this way, the existence of meaning is believed taiinns thrcujgh mapping.
to be fundamen rally social rather than residing POSSE
within an individual, an author, or a teacher The purpose of this article is to report on the
(Bruffee, 1986) Moreover, the students social effectiveness of an instructional procedure
and cognitive histories are considered an impor known as PO SSE, which was developed Ivised
tant facet of comprehension, which Is brought to upon previous research on reciprocal teaching
bear upon the comprehension process is stu with at-nsk students (Palincsar & Brown, 1986).
dents draw upon their rich background of knowl and on teaching expository text structures to stu
edge and experiences to understand and explain dents with learning disabilities (Bos & Anders.
text concepts 1990; Englert. Raphael, Anderson. Anthony,
Text Structure Fear. & Gregg 1988; Englert. Raphael, Ander
The success of the reciprocal teaching proce son, Anthony, & Stevens. In press). In POSSE,
dure has been demonstrated witfi low-achieving students employ a variety of reading strategies,
and at-risk students; however, strategies that such as predicting ideas based upon background
make comprehension processes visible to stu knowledge. Qrganizing predicted textual ideas
dents with learning disabilities need to be and background knowledge based upon text
explored In addition to reciprocal teaching, structure. Searching/Summarizing by searching
instruction in expository text structures holds for the text structure in the expository passage
promise for students with mild handicaps and summarizing the main ideas, and Evaluating
Although the terms may vary, common exposi their comprehension As students apply the stra

224 l~*amine (Xu^trV


tegies. the teacher simultaneously constructs a 1982; Wong St Wilson, 1984}; and monitoring
semantic man of students1ideas to visually repre and regulating their comprehension flios it Filip,
sent rhe lext structure ar*d organization of idea*;. 1984). Experimental and control students wsrte
According to several authors (Bos & Anders. contrasted on two tasks involving their ability to
1990: Graham & Johnson 1989) these are es (a) recall ideas from an expository passage and
sential prere.xting. during reading. nd po^t (I)) apply comprehension strategies (e,g., identify
reading aebvitte for special education students, the main idea, ask questions, make predations)
PO SSE also draws heavily upon Paiincsar s to short, one-paragraph segments uf text. It was
wjork in reciprocal teaching for (he selection of predicted tha students in the POS5F. condition
reading strat^gie^ and for the design of the uyomJd make significantly greater gains m reading
group interactions during reading to promote in comprehension and strategy implementation
ternalization of strategy knowledge. Specifically, than control students
similar to the reciprocal teaching format. PO SSE
students take turns leading the comprehension METHOD
dialogue by asking questions, summarizing, and Subjects
clarifying. Liktr reciprocal teaching, PO SSE re I lAienly-tsight iuurth-, fifth, and sixth -grade stu
lies upon the lesson dialogue and interactions dents with learning dtsahiliiies partir ipa red in the
among group members to promote internaliza study Student* were drawn from five class
tion of strategies development of self-regulation, rooms: two participated in the experimental
and transfer of strategy control from teachers to condition and three in the control condition.
students. Subject* had met slate and local guidelines for
The PO SSE procedure was implemented in LD placement, requiring that they had shown (a)
this study to evatusle a strategy that combined intelectuaJ ability in the average or above avE^r-
text St met ure mapping and reciprocal teaching age range, (bl significant discrepancies between
within the reading process. Furthermore, the expectancies based on intellectual functioning
complexity of the strategies represented in and actual academic achievement: (cl no evi
POS5F. provided an occasion for examining the dence of mental retardation, emotional distur
effectiveness t>f a procedure that immersed slu- bance, or cultural or economic disadvantage;
dents with learning disabilities in a holistic and <ind Idf reteplive or expressive language abilities
integrated reading process That it. rather tlian below mental age expectations. Eleven students
reducing the complexity ul the reading process A'ere assigned to the PO SSE intervention; their
by introducing a few strategies at a rime or pre approximate redding grade level was 3 2 and
senting them in isolation from other strategies mean 10. 95.4; the remaining 17 students were
unilt they are well learned |cf, Pressley, Good in the control conduit in: their approximate read
child, Fleet. Zajthowik], & Fwms. 1989; Press ing grade level was 2.4 and mean JQ 93.6, In
ley, Symons. Snyder, & Carlglla-Bull, 1989 the PO SSE group, 6 of (he students were em

Swanson. 1989}, the strategies were combined rolled In the fourth grade, and 5 in the fifth grade.
in the PO SSt procedure to evaluate the effec In the control group, 3 students were in the
tive ue^ of Jrie-: simultaneous and integrated pft?- lourth grade. 9 in the fifth gmde. and 3 in the
SenlatLon of a com- plex set of comprehension sixth grade.
strategies to students with learning difficulties To determine the comparability of students in
This oombinaiion would permit an examination the two groups, i-tests were performed on their
of the relative effectiveness of an integrated, pretest scores. The results revealed no signifi
multicomponent comprehension procedure cant differences, p > 05. for any of the depen
The effect Iwtiuss of the procedure wafi evalu dent measures, including the ability t<j read!
aied using experimental and control groups of ideas from expository passages or to app!y com
Students with le^rniny disabilities ILDJ, given prehension strategies to short segments of
prior research evident^ Itiul [fxTse students have expository text. Thus, both groups were similar
difficulty activating background knowledge :n their comprehension performance sod itriit^-
(Wong, 1979; Wong & Jones. 1982): reoognir1 gy knowledge prior to participation in the in
ing and employing expository text structures struct!on. The pretest performances of both
(Fnglert & Thomas. 19JJ7: Wong & Jones groups on the targeted dependent variables a
shown Jn TabEe 1 The variable5 are described in measure used by Pa:mcsar fPaimcsar & Brown,
more detail in the following sections. 19R4), consisted of three parts In the first parr
Material* Students u^re asked lo predict the kinds of Infor
/U sn tiem M aterials mat ion they would find in a story about a wild
To ,is>ess their ability to comprehend, students animal (e.g., leopard) Next, students were given
were asked to produce a written recoil alter two posit Ory paragr^phi for which they were
reading an expository texl. The umt t?f this lash asked to generate a iiidi.ii Idea, ask a question
has heen supported by previous research, whitfi about the paragraph, and make a prediction
/tijggesis that successful comprehension perfor shout UlK. V.w in:Ny;r ~.i\ ripjlt Finally
mance is associated with free-recali and summi- students were asked I d kicntify approprit** Trad
rization abilities (Englcrt et si , 3989 Meyer. ing strategies to use before, during, and after
Brandt. & Rluth. 198} However. lo eliminate Teading Students scores on the test were
problems associated with decoding ability, all summed to yield a single score that reflecled
passages were refid aloud lo students. For the their strategy knowledge.
free recall task, students read a passage of POSSE Strategy Sheet and Curriculum
approximately 385 words. Haif of the students M aterials
reitd a passage about ram ek The other half read The PO SSE curriculum contained a strategy
a passage about dolphin*. Th* administration or iheet that was designed to make visible to stu
der W3! balanced within the experimental and dents both the strategies and the te*t structures
control conditions, and from pretest to posttest for performing the reading process. The strate
Average passage readability was 4 4 bawd upon gies uuere aied by (he acronym PO SSE," which
(he Spache readability formula {Spache, 19->3) stood for Predict, Organize, Search, Summarize,
tjich sludenl s written renaJ was assigned three and Evaluate. The strategy sheet served as a
score*, a total recall score hota! number of ideas form o( procedural facilitation, a term applied
recalled rom the onginal passaqes), number ot to specific types of instructional supports thal
main ideas recalled from the passage, and a he]p students organize, structure, and sequence
holistic score that refiefted the degree to which their cogniriw activities until the c<^gnitlw pro
the studeni s written recall matched the primary cesses have been internalized (sec ScardamaEia
trails and structure of the stimulus passage. & Berciter. 19861. A strategy sheet developed
In addnlon to the recall measure, students for this purpose Is shown in figure 1.
took a test that measured their strategy knowl Another type of procedural ifrdfitaTk corvsisl-
edge and application ol strategies to short para ed of a set of cue cards thal teachers could dis
graphs. The measure, adapted from a strategy play during the reading lesson and that the
dents followed along using their own copy of the
Both sides of the card contained a language passage. They then were directed to reread the
stem or verbal cue lo prompt the self-talk and In passage After students had read the free recall
ner language related to a particular reading strat passage, it was collected and students wrote eve
egy. such as predicting, organizing, searching, rything they could remember. They were in
summarizing, and evaluating (These stems are formed that the recall test was not a measure of
shown in Figure 2.) Each card was constructed their word recognition or spelling ability, and
to stand upright on the table so that It was visible that they could receive help If they came to an
to all students The discussion leader either held unfamiliar word while reading, or if they did not
the card in his or her hand or referred to It on know how to spell a particular word when they
the table to guide the group's discussion. were writing However, for all tasks, students
Procedure were told not to be concerned about writing me
Assessment chanics, such as spelling or punctuation If stu
The reading measures were administered in dents' writing was not legible enough to allow
separate sessions In late October arid in Febru accurate scoring, they were asked to read what
ary All students were tested in their resource you have written so that I can make sure ! know
rooms in small group. When administering the what it says.' Teachers provided a written tran
free recal, teachers first gave the directions oral scription immediately below the students' written
ly and then read the entire passage aloud as stu productions.
[h administering thp itralegy knowledge test, PO SSE Instruction
teachers read aloud each question to students After pretesting, the strategy instruction was
twice, Adequate time was given for students to Instituted with the experimental group for two
complete the lest. Questions were repealed months. The PO SSE mslruction consisted of
whenever students needed Additional assistance: several strategies, including predidmg. organis
[his was rarely requested, however. As with the ing. searching for the text structure. summariz
free recall tneasuie, students were informed that ing. and evaluating (see Engtert & Mariage.
writing mechanics were unimportant, and that 1WO). Two of these strategies were prereadinq
the/ should just be concerned with recording strategies (e.g.. Predict. Organize background
their ideas without worrying about spelling or knowtatg?.); rhn-e Irategirs wem during reeling
punctuation. Again, teachers reread II written strategies (e.g.. Search/Sum man ic. Evaluate)
products Lo ensure thdt they were legible When The former weite prestinted by the teacher, who
the writing was not legibJe. teachers asked stu guided the group in making predictions and or
dents Lo die talc theii answers and recorded d ganizing the predictions for the expository pus
written transcnpion immediately above the stu sage. The duringrreading strategies were led by
dents' written answer. student leaders, who took turns as the group i

Predict

i [yeoct ht. .
I'm rerntmMifig .

Qrganize

I thin* ore cfii^ory mighl Gfl

earch/urnrr>arize

I ltiirJc lhtd main i4e4 is

My ujttSliO" dtiOul [Pu? rtiifi idea '5 .

Evaluate
I
I iNr* wrt did icfid not) preici Itits fna.n idoa Ccxftparel
Are ihore any ddttie&tion*?
I predict ttie -rex' part will zte abcuJl

Figure 2 Prompts on strategy cue cards

I S l.rTiT~nmjj f~fi|irlhrPifg. QlMMTCrVl


leader to guide discussion of the artide (see Pal you make that prediction9" (Anders & Bos.
incsar & Brown. 1986. 1989). In the next sec 1984. Langer. 1981) To help students internal
Hon of this discussion, these strategies are ize the self talk and activities related to predic
described in greater delail. tion, teachers also directed students' attention to
Predict. Activating background knowledge. the verta] prompts on the strategy cards ('M y
The Inlrcduction to a reading article in POSSE prediction is . . ." "I'm remembering that. . '}.
began with activating backqround knowledge Since the relevance of one S background knowl
(see Englert Sr Manage, 1990) To Predirt, stu edge cannot be iicUy ascertained before marling,
dents used cues from a variety of sources, indud but mq$i be hcJd in teniative form until it is con
ing the title, headings, pictures, or initial pan firmed or disconfirmed by the text, teachers
graph* to predict what the article would be about. tried to accepl alt predictions tliat seamed n lit
Using the-sc clues, students simply brainstormed ed to the passage topics (fcwsed upon clue* from
relevant information based upon what they knew the passage title and pictures), ti sludents gener
about the fMSiiign's topics, Teachers helped sti> ated totally irrelevant predictions, teachers either
denih become more aware of the xnetacogiiitKie guided them to self-evali^te their comments m
processes related ro predicting by directing them jqhr of the passage topics, or helped them make
to "Brainstorm ideas about this topic, and then mon? relevant predictions hy prompting them to
asking such queslions as 1Where did that idea connect fheir predicted ideas to the anticipated
come from? or ~Whai tlnei or strategies helped set of passage topics
Whenever students made predictions, the represented a mental set or anticipation for
timber acted as a scnb* in. recoidinq the group's reading, but did not result in a new entry on the
brainstormed ideas and predictions on the stra PO SSE strategy sheet.
tegy sheet, which wa* shown either on an m.*C!r In the Summarize1 step, however, stiidents ac
bead projector or on a Large shcei of paper dis- tually began to identify the text structure for shori
piduil in the classroom. This procedure minimuad segments of the article (i.e.T one paragraph m
the time that students pent on Writing rather length or longer) by Identifying the main idea
than on the more important activity of readcng. and by generating a question about the main
The top section of Figur e 3 shows an example of idea. To summarize, the discussion leader litigan
the predictions generated by one of the PQSSh the dialogue by naming ihe main idea for the sec
groups for the topic "The Bermuda Triangle " lion of the article being discussed ('] think the
O rg a n iz in g b a c k g ro u n d kno w ledg e* The main idea is . ."). Oncc shidcnts discussed and
Organize step prepaid students for reading by agreed upon their reasoning lor selecting a par-
prompting iliem to organize (heir brainstormed ticulai main idea, the teacher recorded the main
Ideas into a semantic map. To employ this strat idea in one of the category circles in the Search/
egy. students looked back at iheir brainstormed Summarize stations of the semantic map.
ideas and considered whether any of them v>venl Alter ihe discussion leader had identified the
togeiher and, if so. what those ideas might be main idea he or she completed the summariza
called. The teacher facilitated this process by tion process by asking the other group member
asking questions (e.g , "Do you see any ideas a question about the mam idea, editing relevant
that go together?' What can those ideas be details. To do thi$ the leader simply transformed
called?'). The teacher again acted a* a scribe, his or her summary of the main Idea into a ques
recording the group's details and category labels tion i My question about the main Idea Is . . ."
in the Organize portion of ihe semanlit map Students' responses to this question were re
iinti! a.J the brainstormed l^eas iij*i been catego corded by the teacher as details in the semantic
rized and labeled (see Figure 3) When students map correspond inq to a given category. At the
had difficulty Identifying categories, leathers conclusion of Search/Summarize, ihi- reading
prompted them lo ihink of categories that might group had created a semantic map of the text
begin with Wlvquestions (Who, Where. What. information (see bottom portion of Figure 3).
Why, When). Finely, teachers and students re* Evaluate. The tvatuate slip included three
viewed the semantic map by discussing what leading strategies to furtheT guide ihe grcvp s>
new. information tad been tamed (Lartger. 1991). discussion and comprehension ol short sections
Teachers also pointed out information about of text: comrmre, clorifv. and eredrci.
the topic that was still unknown by reviewing ca In the compare step, the semantic maps gen
tegories for which few details had been generat erated during the Organize and Search/Summa
ed, or about which students had raised ques rize phases were compared As the two maps
lions, These questions were recorded on a sepa were compared, the group's leader directed a
rate sheet to represent the prereading questions discussion regarding the new information that
that students wished to have answered by the had been learned from the text and specific
author of the text. For example the teacher aspects of prior knowledge that had been con
teaching the lesson about the Bermuda Tnangle firmed and disconfirmed (Englert & Manage,
recorded several student questions about the 1990). In this way, the reading group directly
topic, including 'What does it look like9" Why examined and summarized the relationship be
do people disappear [in the triangleP" Who dis tween their predictions and text outcomes, while
covered the triangle?" and What is rhe Dragon elaborating upon their knowledge by making
Triangle?" These questions were intended to relational statements linking textual ideas and
help students distinguish information they al prior knowledge This procedure was supported
ready knew about the topic from Information by prior research, which has shown the impor
they wished to learn about the topic (see Figure 3). tance of encouraging students to make semantic
Search/summarize. In the Search step, stu connections between new and old knowledge
dents began reading the passage as they searched (Bos, Anders. Filip. & Jaffe, 1989).
for the author s text structure The Search step To clarify, students asked questions about

IX i w u m ; D ita b ittv Q u a r u r t ,
unlamjliar vocabulary and unclear referents and independently read the free recall measures and
posed any questions not answered by [he assigned three stores. First, students were as
authors of the tent This discussion allowed the signed a holistic rating from 03 that indicated
group to clarify ambiguities and stimulated a dis the overall organisation of their recalls and the
cussion ol kicas that were I routed loo lighiJy by degree lo which their recalls reflected the pri
the* author. Thii step helped siudeni& realize that mary traits and structure of the s iIttiuIlj* passage.
ji'any readers questions were left unanswered by A score of "3" was assigned to recalls in which
the author, it also helped them recognize that students recalled groups of maLn ide-ils arid de
there were differences between comprehension tails Irorn Several p^rts of the passage, and where
difficulties due to readers lack of understanding their ideas were? consistenlfy Well Organized nd
and I hose emanating from poorly UTitten texts chunked" into groups of main ideas and subor
In the final Evaluation step, students prccficf- dinate details; a score of '2 was assigned to
ed what I he next section of the lexi would be recalls in which students produced fairly well-
about. Thex* predictions could be based upon organized, bul less complete recalls containing
ne of two sources of Information: |a| the mfor- one or more organised chunks of information; a
tiv^Tpoii provided in the text, or (b) the semantic score of " I was assigned recalls in which stu
map general ed during thf Organize step Stu dents had attempted (o recall one or more
dents then read to confirm their predictions chunks of related details, but where the recall
Finally, after they finished reading the passage, had deteriorated to a mere collection of random
student* summarized the entire selection by exam ideas. Finally, a score of "0 Hwas assigned recalls
ining their texi map and summarizing across the in which students merely recalled random ideas,
categories and details in their map, furthermore with no reflection of the passage s lext structure.
they compared their J'redtction and $eardi/5*im in addition to the holisLic ratings, students
marize maps to draw relationships between their recalls were signed two other scores. One
prioi knowledge and the inlormalion in the text, Kure reflected llie i a t a l n u m b e r of id iiU S fro m
and to address any prior conceptions that were The original pas-sage contajnt^d in ihe recall, the
eillier confirmed or disconfirwed by the text, other the number of main ideas from the pas
Control Classrooms sage
En tf*e control classrooms, teachers and stu Strategy Knowledge Measure
dents engaged In their regular reading routines In scoring the strategy knowledge measure,
As in the experimental classrooms, students re students were assigned a rating from 0-2 points
ceived formal reading instruction and had op based upon the accuracy of then responses. For
portunities to read the same expository text as the question about predicting the kinds of infor
the experimental students. In all control class mation found in a story about a wild animal, stu
rooms. teachers activated students' background dents received 2 points if they provided a
knowledge by asking them to make predictions superordinate idea or category (i e., 'where it
Teachers also checked students' understanding lives), a score of T for each relevant subordi
of passages by asking them to answer questions nate detail, and a score of 0" for ideas that
and participate in a discussion about the exposi were irrelevant or not expository.
tory text s meaning. In fact, in one control class For the second part of the questionnaire, m
room, students were asked to make predictions, which students generated main ideas, questions,
ask teacher like questions, and summarize the and predictions for short paragraphs, students
text However, the differences between the ex again received ratings from 0-2 points General
perimental and control classes lay in their em ty, a score of "2" was awarded for correct main
phasis on text structure and the transfer of ideas, questions, or predictions, a score of 1"
control from teachers to students for implemen for partially correct main ideas, questions, or
tation and monitoring oI comprehension strate predictions (i.e.. a prediction that was accept
gies in the dialogue about comprehension. able, but that focused on a less central idea relat
ed to the topic): and a score of O for incorrect
SCORING PROCEDURES AND RELIABILITY main ideas, questions, or predictions (I.e.. a pre
Written Free Recall diction that was not acceptable because it
To score the free recall measure, two coders focused on an irrelevant idea or topic)
For the third part of the questionnaire, stu experimental students sigraficanth outperformed
dents were asked to identify strategies for use control students when pretest scores were en
before, during, and after reading, When stu tered as the cnuariate, In fact, whereas experi
dents response* Included two or more accept mental students aw raged increases of 7 points
able strategies. thev were signed 2 points: 1 from pretest 10 poshest, control Jitudents' scores
point was assigned to response that included decreased sJightly.
only one acceptable strategy, tvherees 0 pornts Teacher effect. Although students in the
ivere as^gned when the response included no experimental condition surpassed control stu
acceptable ^trategie*. dents on the measure of their strategy knowl
Scoring H i liability edge. the treatment effects for this writable were
Reliability was calculated on 1OSii of the free not distributed uniformly across the students of
recall measure and the questionnaire responses, the two experimental teachers. Despite the
by dividing Ihfl number of agreements by the power of the experimental treatment, teacher
sum of agreements plus diSfayreements On all effect* emerged that warranted more careful
measures, reliability was above SO'^j far each consideration and discussion. In facl, in one
triable. experimental classroom, students made signifli-
cant gains jp-i.01) on the queslionnaire from
RESULTS pretest to posttesl (average mean gam of 12
W ritten Free Recall poinls) ]n comparison, students in Ihe other
For the free recall, analyses urere conducted in experimental classroom made only modest gains
rwo sieps. Flrrt, a Multivariate Analysis of (P-,189) from prrtesi to posttest fawrage mean
Covanance (MANCOVA) was performed on Ihe gain of 2 points), However, these differences did
three dependent measures. COWaryin^ for initial not distinguish the written recall performance of
performances on th.e pretest. Second, if the the two teachers' students insofar as Ixilh sets of
MAhK.'OVA yielded significant findings for a fac experimental students made relatively similar
tor, fhi* wparate univariate ratios were examined preles! posttest gains
for each dependenr variable to determine where In explainlrvj the differences in studenls strat
significant results Lay {The pretest and posrtest egy knowledge. It is Important to note that ihe
means used In the free recall ai'ialytls are shown two teachers differed in their willingness lo
In Table 1.} transfer control for s tra in use to sludents and
The MANCOVA results revealed a signifi to eliminate or fade students reliance on the
cant main effect for instructional condition, POSSE strategy sheets as students became suc
F13.18)=6 77. p< 01. When the univariate F- cessful at implementing the strategies Since
ratk>5 were examined, the results showed that these differences seemed to be Important in
effects seemed lo be attributable to the experi understanding how teachers should implement
mental students performance on all three de strategy instruction, they are described in more
pendent measures, including their total recall detail below
scores. F( 1.20) 18.71. p<.001, and recall of To illustrate the trends in the teacher effects
main ideas. FU .20)*6.3l. p<.05. The experi found in the qualitative analysis of teachers dia
mental group recalled significantly more ideas logue. two transcribed segments from the video
than students in the control group and produced taped lessons of the two teachers are reported.
better organized written recalls In fact, control (These transciptions are taken from lessons con
students recall performance declined from ducted at relatively similar points of time.) In one
pretest to posttcst. experimental classroom, the teacher retained
Strategy Knowledge Measure tight control of the strategies as she prompted
In addition to their writlen recalls, students' the discussion leader when to use a particular
knowledge of strategies was evaluated. Again, strategy, guided students more directly through
the aggregated score was analyzed in a MAN Ihe use of the strategies, and monitored the
COVA. covarying for initial pretest performance. accuracy of their responses. In contrast, the
The results revealed significant effects attribut other experimental teacher was much more
able to the instructional condition, Hl,18)=8 39, skilled in transferring conttol to her students for
p-.OOl Comparison of scores indicated that making decisions about when and how to use

132 Lecmtng D\uzhi'ity Quarter^*


strategies, It was in rh^ lalter eKpenmeniat class |A il'.jtlfir:! named Sue Mart; to w i-interr. bu[
room that tine most iiqnificant gai:~-s were made T halts hei a:id asks ii Pat if done iM w n he
s a ^ yEH, ski? u ^ . Good to drain his brain
in slurients control and use oi strategies as evalt-
first be-fote uiv start on yours " Teacher then
uated on the measure of strategy knowledge. gives Sue permission lo p r e l .|
Video 1 Tighter Teacher Control Sue. Mot* th att lO O Lihips/'pij.nes'h h i w di^ap-
The transcript immediately following shows
how the more directed teacher maintains tight T: I think another detail m tyiii tw "n o one knows
control of the readinq group and students' dia happened "
T: Okay. h ir e iwe go {curt d lK ^M o n leader to
log*^ about the topic, 'The Bermuda Triangle.'
continue)
a=-yhii |aj indicates when students are to proceed Pat. I 1hiiik uw? did pr-fidicl 1his idea
to the next strategy (I.e., by flipping the cue T: I rlvnk w? did. loo. We talked <ibojt planes
cards). (Hi selects s-iudents to amwer questions and -ships What happens to Ihvrri? They dis
rather than allowing the discussion leader to (flips card, lo ctariftcation c-je card)
assume total control of the reading group, and Pat- Ar-e th-TP any clari fkratinns'5 P^ot for m*1
S ue (points touuw di drtappeartid.'
(c) provides feedback to students on the accuracy T You (too'i krKy* u+at that means? What doei
of iheir responses rather than aibwmg the dis that rw a n ?
cussion leader or read mg group to engage in col- Sue-: Varnished . .
lahnrative pmbiem soKing The segment dearly T- Vcs, gone
shows the teacher's dominance as she tries T- So we d o n 't really have any clarifications
hwciiiisj? von reaJli, d o know what thal means
out most of the cognitive work for her reading Pal- I predict the next p^rt m il bf3 a b m i 1W h at is
group, leaving students the task oF merely m aking them dtsap'ie'ar.
answering her questions or directives. The lesson
talk also consistently moves In a unilateral direc As the transcript leveals. this experimental
tion from teacher to student, and then back teacher did not allow her studenls to perform
to the teacher This pattern oilers few opportu significant roles in shaping and contributing to
nities for students to faintly construct text mean the lesson dialogue about srraieijiis Thus, stu
ing or wn monitor each other's iinderslanding, dents were not allowed independence in leading
as mJghl he evident in a lesson talk pattern the group making decisions, and collaborating
involving more frequent occurrences of student with ihe discussion leader In consirucitng mean
to sludent interactions. ing. Further, throughout the lesson. (he teacher
initiated and sustained the lesson dialogue, and
T We re going to Hart he search (process) (Turn
over She card "I think the main idea is . . .")
prompted strategy use. She rigidly managed
Okay. Pat. you are on strategy use by retaining control of the strategy
(Students read the next segment ot texl about cards and by cueing the discussion leaders when
the Bermuda Triangle 1 to employ specific strategies. She also moni
Pat: I think the main idea is about ships and tored the accuracy of students responses, and
planes,
provided feedback rather than fostering a collab
T: W hat about them 0
Pat: That they disappear oratiue problem solving process where students
T- 1 think you are right (she records information) rointly constructed meanings and monitored
I would say the sam e thing I m going to add their own performance
information about people . they disappear Most telling was her directive to Pat, "Can you
T Okav Iprom pting the leader to continue) give me a detail7 Her language and actions sug
Pat: My question about the main idea is How do
people an d ships disappear? gested that she was testing students knowledge
T Does that get answered? I think a better ques and that they were simply to provide her with
tion w ord m ight be this (points to question one word answers or fil-in-the-blanks to give her
word "Where * on board) the answer she sought In fact, when one stu
Pat: W here do ships and people disappear? dent (Sue) tried to volunteer an idea, the teacher
T C an you answer that? slopped her with a response that might discour
Pat: In the Bermuda Triangle
T Good! C an you give me a detail? age other spontaneous student contributions.
Pat: I think one detail is ~planes and ships and peo Later, when Sue suggested that the word disap
pie have never been seen . . .* peared" might need to be clarified, the teacher
T Have never been found did not explore her thinking, but critically sug

VfeJuw 24 S p rt M 1991 133


gested that Sue already knew wh^r the word Ann: Where it bw
meant. T: L:i reel I D circle all the ideas about "Where it
IveS.*
Unfortunately, when the tcachcr takes too
Joe: {What about) Ihe reporter Wrjrtfc? (Trying (o
much control as ihe manager who eisks ques
remind (etcher to put out reporter word* uw*1
lions and retains responsibility for critically evalu to help student1 generate queitiiir.? such
aling response;*. students begm lo carry out tasks whit, foow, when, why."!
wdlh little investment in ihu product or owner T: We don't need them just yet. I think you may
ship of ihe language or strategies Uiichny & know them.
Watsion Gegeo. 1989). !n the segment above T for the Cdiugofy "Where it lines', we ll ^ay It
Ikies . . -in Scotland (circles the ditail with a
only two of the five students participated, and redm-irkd!.
their talk was primarily prompted by (he teacher Ann Oh. I have one" What it does"1 1
rather than other students ideas or th*? problems T Oh, you have another category. Any more
encountered in the text. Through her conirol ot ideas bout where it li^jes first?
the lesson taLk. the teacher minimized individual Joe: In Lh Ness Lake
T Okay. Do you think we have them all Ideas
students' opportunities to engage iri decision
atxjut whtre it livesp
making and exercise their problem-solving abili Joe Deep water, rocky al the bottom. [Teacher cir
ties The power and control of strategies and talk cles These ideas.)
remained with the teacher. T; Okay - -in red, I'll write "Where it lines" so
Video 2 More Student Responsibility you iuvsM: ihat th ideas ejreisd ir: red aw all
In contrast, the other leather in ihe experi part of the category "Whtnr it liwrs OK. Itt's
do another cal-egory in peilow.
mental condition encouraged siudents to fade Sue11hiue another category.
theft rdLance on strategy cards. allowing the dis T Joe. you come up and put Sue's category in
cussion leader to make important decisions yeJbu . . .
about when lo use strategies and encouraging Sue. Wwie people litjid it from.
students to monitor each other and even estati Joe (Greks two ideas misted to category, "Where
lish procedures for Their reading group people heard it from.')
Tom 1have another caicc|ory. '"Wihai [does?
In the following videotape segment, tht fa th T. Ann. would you g& up and circle things that
er de-empha^ized the PO SSE procedures and have to do with "What it does?
emphasized the responsibilities of leaders and Ann (thinks- loud *<, Jie circles ihe ideas chf*t an1
group members for sustaining and monitoring related to thts categvry) TJi^v V the h**ad
the dialogue about lext meaning. At the time of . . They haw pictures of it.
Sun; That's not what it does (Ann crosses through
this lesson, ihe leather had already guided stu
rhc iine she had begun to wiiic around the
denis to realize that they no longer needed Ihe detail).
strategy cue cards lo lead their reading dis Ann I have one for Joe that is part of his category
cussion In the portion of the lesson immediately This idea (points to They haw pictures of its
preceding this segment, students had brain head) belongs to his category (Joe sponta
stormed Ideas about the Loch Ness Monster that neously comes up and cirdes that idea . . .).
[Students begin reading the passage for the
included details about the lake where it lived
Search/Summarize and Evaluate strategies
(Loch Ness Lake, rocky bottom, deep water. Peg Is the leader for this segment of text,
Scotland); what it looked like {long neck, possibly which focuses upon the characteristics of the
a plesiosaurus); where they got their information Loch Ness Lake J
(stories, pictures, new accounts), and so forth. In T: What is our main topic that the text is talking
the segment below, students are organizing their about?
Peg The Loch Ness Monster
ideas into categories (Organize) and applying the
T: What was this section about? What was the
reciprocal teaching process (Search/Summarize main idea9
and Evaluate) as they begin to read the exposito Peg Oh the lake I have two questions What is a
ry text about the Loch Ness Monster lake.' and What is in it?'
T Do you mean this particular lake or any lake?
T Oh we have to do one more thing before we Peg This lake Joe7
summarize 1almost forgot What do we do? Joe: It's fogc&>, It's deep, and it is long and narrow .
Ss: Organize. Peg: Don?
T; How can we group these brainstormed ideas Don The land beside the lake, you don't know if it
(into categories)? What are some categories9 is real soft and you could fail through it

IX Learning .'>uai>ii.l, Quarterly


T: So it could be soft and swampy example, after the teacher modeled how to cir
Ann: I think the Loch Ne Monger live* there. cle related details within a category, she invited
T. is Ann answenng your question. Peg?
students to identify categories and circle related
Peg: No
T: What was your question5 details This scaffolded assistance has been well
Peg: There are two of them What was the lake" documented in the reciprocal teaching literature
and What lives n the lake?" (Palincsar. 1986; Palincsar & Brown, 1989)
Joe But they never answered that . . . I have a As the second teacher's lesson continued in
question about the mam idea. Aren't we sup the Search/Summarize phases, she continued to
posed to do a question about the main idea?
cede responsibility to students for carrying on
T: Just about what we read
Joe Yes. but she asked us "What hwed in the lake? the lesson dialogue. Students were mutually
but it doesn t really mention it (what lived tn involved in making sense of text Also, students
the lake) in the book responded to other students and asked questions
T: That s true. The major idea has to do with the of each other as they worked as a group to
Loch Ness Lake and what it looks like A frame answers or ask questions about the text's
mmor Idea that we really inferred rather than
directly read in the article was that the Loch meaning Their involvement in the lesson dia
Ness Monster lived in the lake. logue was evident in the fact that five of the six
Peg. Are there any clarifications? students offered comments about the meaning
Ss No response of the paragraph in contrast to two students in
T I have a clarification You had trouble reading the other expenmental teacher s room Most of
some of these words and I wondered if you these occasions were not directly solicited by the
knew what some of these words were? Ances
tors . .. teacher, but were prompted by the discussion
leader or by other students comments. Even
The segment above shows that group mem though they had not internalized the strategies
bers actively monitored each other and con and required additional teacher support, students
tributed to the comprehension problem solving in the second teacher s classroom showed more
process The leader called upon o th e T students ownership and control of strategies than the first
to contribute to th e dialogue about text, and the teacher's students The degree of ownership
entire group worked together to make sense of and control of strategies seemed to be reflected
the text For example, Ann monitored the accu in the relative changes of the two groups on a
racy of Joe s categorization, and later, Joe inter measure of their strategy knowledge.
ceded when he disagreed with the discussion
leader s main idea. Ann also problem-solved in DISCUSSION
deciding where a detail was to be categorized The PO SSE intervention provided students a
when Sue provided her feedback suggesting that vehicle for guiding them during reading and for
her initial placement decision was incorrect. using text structure as a basis for organizing
Only when the group faltered in the problem their prediction and summaries The question
solving process did the teacher step in to model addressed in this study was whether an integrat
a clarification (e g,. "ancestors"), or provide feed ed comprehension program would be effective
back (e.g . asking Peg if she meant any lake or in a relatively short-term study. More specifical
this particular lake) In fact, the teacher carefully ly. whether such an integrated curriculum would
scaffolded students thinking by asking prompts be effective when implemented with a small
or questions that required them to pause to eval number of students with learning disabilities a
uate their thinking or others' success in using a population for whom many authors recommend
particular strategy (e.g., Is Ann answenng your teaching a few strategies sequentially and thor
question?"). oughly, rather than simultaneously in a multipk'
The teacher also encouraged students to inter component package such as PO SSE (see Press
nalize strategics by eliminating problem-solving ley, Goodchild et al , 1989; Pressley. Symons
crutches as they gained proficiency in the use of etal., 1989, Swanson. 1989).
strategies (e.g . use of reporter words, strategy In this study, students who were trained tn the
cue cards). Furthermore, the teacher actively PO SSE strategies made significant gains in their
sought to transfer control to students for the ability to recall textual ideas Since comprehen
cognitive work that she initially performed For sk>n recall is associated with successful compre

kfolumr 14 . S p n n g 1991 115


hension performance {Meyer el a l, 1980l Spl* members of the group work together to use the
vey, 1984), ihese result a suggest the powerful strategies and provide feedback to each other to
effect* of the treatment on (he reading compre ensure ihat the goals of reading for meaning and
hension oi students with learning disabilities moniioring comprehension are accomplished In
The finding is particularly striking given the doing so. students are challenged to jointly con
short-1erm nature of the study (2 months) and sider strategies for resolving co m p reh en sio n
(he small number oi subjects (Kirk, 1968). In breakdowns, and to employ fix-up strategies
fact, the participation of only 11 experimental (e.g., lookbacks) when breakdowns occur. The
students significantly increased the variance and evidence from this initial study suggests that
reduced the likelihood of treatment effects. when teachers fail to transfer control to students
In addition, the recall measure provided a slhn- for strategy use. instead retaitiing control of the
geni evaluation of changes in comprehension problem-solving process, the success of the
performance, because students in the PO SSE Strategy instruction is diminished isee Palii^sar,
mstnictional condition were never directly taught 1986). This effcct was evident on the strategy
how to summarise texts or to use i he compre knowledge measure, whereas effects on the
hension strategies as a basis for recalling diS' recall measure were lalriy consistent across the
courseUwel Jtts without tin1 benefit of the two experiment! teachers
supported lesson dialogue and mapping proce This latter result raises an interesting question
dures Yet, the tr*)aimen1 ^ffcet* suggested ihat about ihe differential effects of the two teachers
an integrated set of comprehension strategies on students' slrategy knowledge, but not on
enn be effectively taught 1o ^iudents with learn their comprehension retell Two explanations
ing disabilities when a combination of instruc- may be offered for this unexpected result. First,
lional factors are present, such as (a) incorpor the lesson dialogue showed that neither group of
ating reciprocal teaching formats in instruction, students had fully internalized the strategies in
ib) presenting a set of effective comprehension the 2 months of instniition, as the teachers still
strategies, including instruction in Ihe use ol texi had to guide them m the use of the strategies,
structures. and fc> including several forms of pro Over a longer instructional period, performance
cedural facilitation that make visible the compre differences may emerge that arc more reflective
hension process and that guide students through of the degree to which students have internal
their dialogue about texts, including the use of ized tin? strategies, find the:r teachers abilities to
strategy sheets and semamiL mapping icf. Bos St empower them with their use. An alternative
Anders. 1990), expl.-ination i& that the ability to talk about strate
Similar results were obtained when students' gy knowfedge is not necessarily reflected in stu
performance on the measure of strategy knowl dents abilities to employ the strategies in the
edge was examined TJie ability to use and iden service of comprehension and recall In other
tify strategies increased significantly for ex* words, students declarative or statable knowl
perimental students, whereat 1 decreased for edge about strategies may not be related to their
control students Thus, students who received actual comprehension performance. At ihis
instruction in (he PO SSE strategies made Kjriifi point, both of these explanation* are only con
cant gains in their understanding of the compre' jectures that need to be addressed in a longer
hension strategies they could use before, during, term study Invoking more subjects, and permit
and after reading. ting a closer examination of the relationship
The teacher effect* for strittegy knowledge between instructional practices students star-
suggested that instruction in which teachers able knowledge about reading strategies, and
retain control of strategies may not he as suc comprehension.
cessful as when students are assigned significant On Ute basis; uf ih^se findings, it sterns unnec
idles in shaping and contributing to the lesson essary to decompose or reduce the reading pro
dialogue about strategies. In PO SSE, students cess to a .iquenllfll set of strategies that are
are exp^cied to assume significant roles in lead learned and practiced in isolation. Instead,
ing the group and collaborating with die leader inslructkm in the reading process and expository
to construct meaning. This meaning is shared text structures can be effective when these are
and negotiated among group members. That Is, embedded in an instructional framework that
emphasizes reciprocal teaching, scaffolded assis Brown. A L . Armbruster B B . & Baker, L (1986)
tance, procedural facilitation, and peer collabora The rote of metacognition in reading and studying.
In J Orasanu (Ed,), Reading comprehension
tion. Nevertheless, the results also suggest that
From research to practice (pp 49-75) Hillsdale.
the lesson dialogue and students' control and NJ; Erlbaum
contribution to the dialogue about the compre Bmffce, K A. (1986) Social construction, language,
hension process seemed to promote students and the authority of knowledge A bibltographkr
strategy awareness essay College English. 48. 773 790.
Teachers play an important role in teaching Englert. C.S., & Hiebert. E.H. (1984). Children's
developing awareness of text structure in expository
students to make use of background knowledge, materials Journal of Educational Psychology. 76.
text structures, and comprehension strategies In 65-74
expository reading. PO SSE provides one type of Engtert. C S.. 8t Mariage. T. (1990). Send for the
structure for making these processes visible to POSSE Structuring the comprehension dialogue
students, and offers one example of how such a Acodemic Therapy. 25, 473-487.
dialogue can be conducted within the curriculum Englert. C.S . Raphael, T.E.. Anderson. L M , Fear,
K . & Gregg. S L (1988) A case for wnting inter
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ditional research needs to be conducted to exam Learning Disabilities Focus, 8. 98 113
ine the effects of such instruction with a larger Engtert. C.S , Raphael. TE., Anderson. LM ., Antho
group of students with learning disabilities and ny. H M , & Stevens, D D (in press) Making ant
over a longer instructional period. Also, exami ing strategies and seif-talk visible: Cognitive strategy
instruction in wnting in regular and special educa
nation of teacher effects would be helpful in pin
tion classrooms American Educational Research
pointing the specific instructional facets of scaf Journal
folded instruction that promote comprehension Englert. C.S . Raphael. T.E.. Anderson. L M , Gregg,
success S.L . & Anthony. H M (1989) Exposition Read
ing. wnting. and the metacognltlve knowledge of
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Ui/tmv /4 Spn/iy 1991 137