Date of Award


Degree Name

M.S. in Education


High school is but another obstacle for many of the inner-city youth this writer sees, on any given day, during any given school year. 'At risk' is the tag these students carry with them through the ninth grade. They are 'at risk' because they do not read well. Some of them read at levels considered average for third graders. Most of these ninth grade 'at risk' students do not comprehend what they read and because they do not, their ability to succeed in other classes is limited. The challenge for the researcher, therefore, was to take his classroom and turn it into a medium for students to learn how to read and comprehend what they were reading. Traditional language arts classes at the high school level assume that students can understand the reading tasks presented them and the commensurate writing assignments. A student who might be experiencing difficulty in understanding what is happening in a particular piece of literature usually turns off to the possibility of learning about it, even other pieces of literature, and eventually the student dismisses the exercise as unimportant. The needs of THAT student become secondary to those of the rest of the class; and failure is the end result. At the elementary school level, teachers teach the skills of reading using whole language, basal reading approaches, or a combination of these techniques, with varying degrees of success. However, as a student matures and progresses through the middle school years, he or she is expected to have mastered certain basic reading skills; if he or she has, then success in high school is expected; if he or she has not, well, perhaps with additional help of a reading teacher, the student might succeed. The writer, as a teacher of reading, has witnessed many degrees of inability of his students to comprehend, and he has tried a wide variety of methods to teach comprehension skills. The method used in this study took into account what teenagers like about stories. They like their stories to be short (Nilsen, Donelson, 1993); they like the language they read to be natural and flowing like that which young adults use in everyday conversations (Nilsen, Donelson, 1993). So much of what students view on television and listen to on the radio is short, succinct, and relevant to their lives. It is a natural assumption that this could be the way they learn best as well.


Children with social disabilities Education (Secondary) Ohio, Reading comprehension Ohio, Urban schools Ohio, Ninth grade (Education)

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Copyright © 1995, author