ERG SES E 10, Didactics and Education
Reading comprehension, which is considered to be one of the most important educational objectives for primary school students, builds a solid foundation for future learning in school and full participation in society (Droop, van Elsäcker, Voeten, & Verhoeven, 2016; Spörer, Brunstein, & Kieschke, 2009). However, not all primary students achieve acceptable grades for reading comprehension that is considered sufficient for the demands of school and society and children frequently struggle to comprehend what they read. Consequently, they lack the ability to identify information, make inferences, or examine arguments from the texts they read (Li, Murphy, Wang, Mason, Firetto, Wei, & Chung, 2016).
According to Paris, Wasik, and Turner (1996), reading strategies are defined as “tactics that readers use to engage and comprehend text” (p. 610). Not surprisingly, proficient readers have a good mastery of cognitive and metacognitive strategies and use these strategies to facilitate what they read (Baker & Brown, 1984; Pressley & Allington, 1999). However, not all primary students spontaneously utilize various reading strategies when attempting to comprehend the texts they read (Hartman, 2001). Several studies have concluded that the explicit instruction of reading strategies is one effective way to improve students’ reading comprehension achievement when they cannot master and use reading comprehension strategies effectively on their own as reading strategies instruction delivers knowledge about various cognitive and metacognitive strategies to cultivate students’ self-regulation in reading texts (De Corte, Verschaffel, & van de Ven, 2001; Pressley, 2000; Spörer & Schünemann, 2014).
Recent studies have shown that the types of comprehension strategies that teachers instruct in their reading lessons and the way in which they teach those strategies have significant effects on their students’ reading achievement (McKeown, Beck, & Blake, 2009; Oakhill & Cain, 2012; Spörer et al., 2009; van Keer, 2004). Specifically, it has been found that reading achievement is related to various reading strategies instructed in reading lessons (Ness, 2011), as well as the frequencies of providing reading strategies to students and the time for students to internalize these strategies (Duke & Pearson, 2002; Sonnenschein, Stapleton, & Benson, 2010). Moreover, previous literature suggested that strategy trainings are highly effective for students in the upper primary grades, whereas mixed results were presented with regard to students in the lower grades (Müller, Mayer, Richter, Križan, Hecht, & Ennemoser, 2015).
Furthermore, educational researchers have explored the effects of gender and motivational factors (e.g. intrinsic/extrinsic reading motivation and reading self-concept) on students’ reading achievement (e.g. Aunola, Leskinen, Onatsu-Arvilommi, & Nurmi, 2002; Becker, McElvany, and Kortenbruck, 2010; Marks, 2008; Wang & Guthrie, 2004). However, relatively little is known about the relationships between reading strategies instruction, intrinsic/extrinsic reading motivation, reading self-concept, gender and students’ reading achievement under cross-national/cultural settings. Therefore, the overarching purpose of the present research is to investigate the essential issue of the possible effects of reading strategies instruction on students’ reading literacy outcomes through analyzing the relationships among reading strategies instruction, reading motivation, reading self-concept, and students’ reading achievement across countries. Specifically, the current study is guided by the following research questions:
1. To what extent do various reading strategies taught in reading lessons have impact on the reading achievement of primary school fourth grade students in England, Finland and Hong Kong?
2. To what extent do various reading strategies taught in reading lessons have impact on the reading achievement of primary school fourth grade students when student gender is taken into account?
3. What relationships exist between various reading strategies taught in reading lessons and reading motivational factors such as intrinsic/extrinsic reading motivation and reading self-concept?
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