A study published in Journal of Educational Psychology investigates the effectiveness of a content literacy intervention – the Model of Reading Engagement (MORE) – on first grade students’ science subject knowledge, reading engagement, and reading comprehension.
The MORE intervention aims to help young children acquire conceptually-related vocabulary while learning subject-specific content. In this study, classroom teachers taught first-grade children about science knowledge while they conducted literacy lessons. MORE lessons consisted of one unit on the life science topic of Arctic animal survival, taught over ten 60-minute lessons. Prior to the intervention, teachers participated in two-hour after-school professional development workshops.
A total of 674 pupils from 38 classrooms across 10 elementary schools took part in a randomized controlled trial. Classrooms were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: MORE at school (MS); MORE at school plus home condition (MS-H), which included reading at home in addition to the MS lessons; or usual lessons. However, as there were minimal differences in procedures between the two intervention groups (MS and MS-H), the main analysis combined these two groups.
The results indicate positive effects for pupils in MORE classrooms in science subject knowledge and reading comprehension. Pupils in the MORE classrooms scored higher on The Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) reading post-test compared with pupils receiving lessons as usual (ES +0.11), and performed as well as control pupils on basic literacy as measured by Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS).
Source: Kim, J. S., Burkhauser, M. A., Mesite, L. M., Asher, C. A., Relyea, J. E., Fitzgerald, J., & Elmore, J. (2020). Improving reading comprehension, science domain knowledge, and reading engagement through a first-grade content literacy intervention. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. DOI:10.1037/edu0000465