Using Reading Strategies To Reduce the Failure Rate in the Content Area. Subject: Social Studies. Grade Level: 6-7-8.
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Content area reading instruction includes two elements: the information presented in subject matter text, and the plan that teachers use to help students understand the content. According to research and interviews with social studies teachers, there is a high failure rate in the social studies content area because children have problems understanding text material, poor study skills, and lack of motivation. Strategies can help teachers participate in as well as facilitate students' learning. Teachers should become familiar with learning styles of students, since knowing how students learn can help the content area teacher plan instruction to help student improve their comprehension and learning. This paper provides a social studies lesson outline. It first outlines four strategies for activating prior knowledge: DRTA (Directed Reading/Thinking Activity); KWL (What I Know, Want to Learn, Learn); Anticipation Guide; and Problematic Situations. It next outlines strategies for vocabulary development: Semantic Mapping; Context Clues; and Sentence Completion. It then outlines how to preview the text for organization, offering examples of Chronological Sequence; Comparison and Contrast; Generalization Principal; and Process Cause Effect. The paper also outlines activities that focus on metacomprehension strategies, including Making Predictions; Confirming or Revising; Proposition/Support; Reciprocal Teaching; Summarizing; Questioning; Clarifying; Note Taking; and Think Alouds. It concludes by suggesting post-reading activities: Semantic Mapping; Support Outline; Search Strategy; Concept Question Chain; Learning Logs; Writing to Learn; Discussion Webs; and Summarizing. (Contains 25 references.) (NKA)