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Reading comprehension strategies: Teaching second and third grade students to draw inferences and identify main ideas

26 June 1997


I have found that students have difficulty deriving meaning from the material they read. Other teachers share this concern. My research study focused on ways to help my second and third grade students· develop strategies that enabled them to effectively comprehend words in text by drawing inferences and identifying the main idea. Literature regarding comprehension strategies was reviewed. This qualitative study is based on data collected in the classroom and from parents. I conducted student-surveys, recorded classroom observations, collected questionnaires from both students and parents, interviewed students, and documented student assessment. Information on reading strategies already used by the students, as well as examples of activities I used to enhance and expand these comprehension strategies, were identified. Strategies that benefited both beginning and veteran teachers were included. My findings supported the view that reading comprehension skills needed to be broken down into smaller steps. I also, found that the teacher must focus on motivation as well as cognitive strategies. Providing a model and guiding the students. as they attempted to use each skill were important. My findings showed that children had difficulty ( drawing inferences and identifying main ideas. However, my research identified instructional strategies that I used to help my students learn these two skills and improve comprehension.


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