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    How can differentiated literacy instruction be improved and thus increase independent reading skills, motivation and confidence in a second class context?

    Murphy, Alison (2018) How can differentiated literacy instruction be improved and thus increase independent reading skills, motivation and confidence in a second class context? Masters thesis, National University of Ireland Maynooth.

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    The purpose of this self-study action research project was to assess the impact of implementing the Reading Workshop on fostering independent reading skills. The initiative was enacted in response to an opportunity to change the researcher’s practice, to improve literacy instruction. The work focused on the use of a “Reading Workshop” (Calkins, 2001) intervention, involving differentiated, explicit teaching of reading strategies. The researcher undertook the study in her own classroom, with her students. The research sample included twenty nine children attending second class of primary school, two critical friends and two validation groups. The research goal was to evaluate the impact of the intervention on the independent reading skills exhibited by the children. A secondary goal was to ascertain the extent to which motivation, engagement and confidence in reading was affected by the intervention. The intervention signified a change in researcher practice and thus, the learning experienced throughout will also be discussed. As such, the content of the thesis incorporates a reflective perspective on the self-study element of the project. The theoretical aspect of the thesis acquaints readers with the main concepts related to literacy development, with support from available literature sources. The relevant literature identified focuses primarily on; the use of a balanced approach to literacy instruction (NEPS, 2016), reading strategies, reading comprehension, reading teaching methods, self-evaluation of reading, the reading environment and reading diagnostics. In alignment with the research goals, a mixed-methods approach was employed for data collection. Data was gathered with the aim of forming a triangulated baseline demonstrating an initial level of literacy skills. The qualitative methods employed to collect data included; the use of a research journal, student questionnaires and teacher observation. The quantitative methodologies used involved; the administration of 2 pre and post-tests, analysing sight words, reading accuracy, reading rate, reading comprehension and reading ages, and recording the reading stamina of the child participants. All appropriate ethical considerations were adhered to. The findings from the research were interrogated under various lenses, in order to expose thematic elements of the research results. It was concluded that the aims of the research intervention were achieved as children were more motivated to adopt independent reading skills in the classroom, according to teacher observation, student feedback and reflective data. Similarly, observational results indicated a correlation between improved reading skills and an increase in the children’s motivation to read, engagement in reading and confidence when reading. The quantitative results supported the qualitative conclusions as the literacy attainment of students increased in all assessed aspects of literacy in the post-tests. According to the research, the subsequent claim to knowledge is that implementing the reading workshop is an effective way to differentiate reading instruction with the aim of fostering independence in a second class. The main contributions to the researcher’s practice have been; the improvement in literacy instruction practices as well as the enhancement of reflective practice skills through the research process.

    Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
    Keywords: Froebel; Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education; Literacy; Reading; Reading Workshop; Reading Strategies; Differentiation strategies; Independent Reading; Reading Comprehension; Reading Self-Evaluation; Reading Diagnostic Tests; Motivation; Confidence;
    Academic Unit: Faculty of Social Sciences > Froebel Department of Primary and Early Childhood Education
    Item ID: 13718
    Depositing User: IR eTheses
    Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2020 10:07
      Use Licence: This item is available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial Share Alike Licence (CC BY-NC-SA). Details of this licence are available here

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