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Introduction Notes to the Teacher Research Implementation Competencies

Relevant Research

Comprehension Research
According to Research-Based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction, reading comprehension is a strategic process and the strategies can be taught. Many readers are not aware of comprehension strategies and are, therefore, not apt to develop them on their own without instruction. Current research trends reported in Research-Based Principles for Adult Basic Education Reading Instruction indicate that it may be possible to increase reading comprehension achievement in adult learners within a workplace literacy program, a family literacy program, and a functional literacy program.

What is the best way to teach comprehension strategies? Principle 15 from the Research-Based Principles' report states that explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies may increase reading comprehension achievement. The Put Reading First publication offers guidance in how to teach comprehension strategies. In explicit or direct instruction, the teacher tells the learners why and when to use comprehension strategies, what strategies to use, and how to apply them. Normally the phases of explicit instruction include:

Put Reading First also states that effective comprehension strategy instruction can be accomplished through cooperative learning. After the teacher models or demonstrates the comprehension strategies, learners can work in small groups helping each other learn and apply strategies while the teacher monitors progress. A WebQuest can provide the structure for direct instruction, guided practice and independent practice.

Comprehension strategies that might be effectively employed in reading the website evaluation WebQuest include:

Comprehension skills that are addressed in the website evaluation WebQuest include:

Vocabulary Research
Without knowledge of the key vocabulary in the text, readers may struggle to understand what they are reading so comprehension suffers. Therefore, selected vocabulary in the WebQuest is highlighted or targeted so that practitioners can provide explicit instruction and pre-teach difficult words and concepts to the learners prior to reading the selections. According to the Put Reading First publication, K-12 research indicates that although a great deal of vocabulary is learned indirectly, some vocabulary should be taught directly. Teachers can provide both specific word instruction (pre-teaching selected words and their definitions) and word learning strategies (use of a dictionary or thesaurus, use of context clues to determine word meaning, and knowledge of word parts). The highlighted vocabulary words are repeated throughout the resource because a trend in vocabulary instruction research with children suggests that repeated exposure to new vocabulary in rich contexts is important for learning.

Links to K-12 Curriculum
If the adult learners have children, they might want to share the WebQuest with them either in a Family Literacy setting or at home. Current research-based textbooks used for English Language Arts include instruction in evaluating online resources for accuracy, authorship, bias and currency. For adult learners with children that use Open Court Reading 2002 in school, this topic is covered in 6th grade in Unit 6: A Question of Value. For adult learners with children that use Houghton Mifflin Reading: A Legacy of Literacy, this topic is covered in several places. The 6th grade curriculum addresses this topic in Theme 3: Growing Up and in Theme 6: New Frontiers. The 5th grade curriculum addresses this topic in Theme 2: Give It All You've Got, Theme 4: Person to Person and Theme 5: One Land, Many Trails. Finally, the 4th grade curriculum covers website evaluation in Theme 2: American Stories and Theme 5: Heroes. If adult learners have 6th-8th grade children who use Holt Literature and Language Arts in school, website evaluation is taught during Workshop 4 for all three grade levels.

The activities from the website evaluation WebQuest also align to K-12 state standards such as: Note instances of unsupported inferences, fallacious reasoning, persuasion, and propaganda in text. (Reading/Language Arts Framework for California Public Schools, 6th grade English-Language Arts Content Standards, Reading Comprehension 2.8, page 147)