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Title:Dialogical-thinking reading lessons: Promoting critical thinking among "learning-disabled" students
Author(s):Commeyras, Michelle
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pearson, P. David
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Special
Education, Reading
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This research investigated whether reading instruction that emphasizes critical thinking would benefit "learning-disabled" fifth grade students. Seven students were assigned to the instructional group and seven to the comparison group. The instructional group participated in a program of ten dialogical-thinking reading lessons while the comparison group remained with their classroom teacher. Each lesson involved reading a story and discussing a central issue. Two alternative hypothesized explanatory conclusions regarding the central issue were considered. Students were asked: (a) to identify reasons to support each hypothesis; and (b) to evaluate the truth and relevance of each reason. Vignettes of the program lessons chronicle the procedures used and the modifications made in order to meet the students' needs. The vignettes provide examples of the critical thinking that occurred.
Two reading comprehension tests and one critical thinking test were administered to both groups of students. Each group participated in a base-line and post dialogical-thinking reading lesson. In addition, an individual assessment interview, designed to match the dialogical-thinking reading lesson, was conducted with each student.
Differences were found between the two groups on the post dialogical-thinking reading lessons. The instructional group was better at arriving at sound defensible evaluations of the reasons they had generated to support the two hypothesized conclusions. They also gave better final conclusions regarding the central issue than did the comparison group. There was no evidence of improvement on the paper and pencil tests of reading comprehension and critical thinking for either group. Comparing the students performance on paper and pencil tests with their performance in discussion settings revealed significantly differing views of competency.
This study lends support to two major conclusions: (a) assessing "learning-disabled" students' reading and thinking should be re-examined from a contextualist perspective; and (b) "learning-disabled" students should receive reading instruction that calls for critical thinking.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Commeyras, Michelle
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9136574
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9136574

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