Constructions of Comprehension in Middle Grades Classrooms
Funded by the International Reading Association
This study investigates the ways teachers use language to mediate student understanding during reading comprehension instruction. Using a variety of data collection strategies, the study details teacher talk during comprehension instruction. There is consensus in the field surrounding the importance of explicit comprehension strategy instruction and teacher modeling. However, there are few research-based guidelines for coaching teachers to provide more effective models or explanations for their students. Fewer studies examine construction of reading itself and students’ identities in teachers’ everyday talk about what it means to understand. This study seeks to build upon existing research on the role of teacher language in order to identify features of language that effectively support comprehension growth, especially for struggling readers.
Rachael Gabriel is an Assistant Professor of Reading Education at the University of Connecticut. A former classroom teacher and literacy specialist, she holds a Ph.D. in Education with a focus on Literacy Studies and graduate certificates in both quantitative and qualitative research methods. Rachael is an associate of the Center on Education Policy Analysis (CEPA) and the Center on Postsecondary Education and Disability (CPED) at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on the intersections of literacy, disability studies, and teacher quality. Within each she attends to the constitutive use of language and the formation and implementation of related policies. Her current research addresses three areas of focus: teacher development and disciplinary literacy in secondary school settings; teacher evaluation policies and related practices; and the role of language reading comprehension instruction in the middle grades.