An academic study based in Windsor is now published in the longest-running journal in elementary education.
Dr. Erin Washburn from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Candace Mulcahy from Binghamton University, and Palmer Elementary teacher Sheri Abdullah collaborated on a study to improve reading comprehension among students. The results are now published in The Elementary School Journal.
The study focused on the TRAP strategy (Think about what you are about to read, Read a portion of the text, Ask yourself what that portion of the text was mostly about, Paraphrase that portion of the text.) Dr. Washburn had experience working with the Windsor Central School District in her previous position at Binghamton University.
“I was noticing that I had a group of students who could decode text, but who could not recall or discuss what they had read. I had taken a class with Dr. Washburn and as part of that class we learned about Self-Regulated Strategy Development. TRAP was one of those self-regulated strategies,” said Abdullah.
Three pairs of 4th grade students participated, receiving 30 minutes of instruction every other day for six weeks.
“Learning the TRAP strategy had an immediate effect on student ability to recall main ideas and details from a nonfiction text. All participants’ retell levels improved immediately following instruction,” wrote Dr. Washburn.
“This strategy helped my students in recalling what they read independently. It also helped them to be able to answer questions about the text,” said Abdulah. “At Palmer I continued to use this strategy with 4th and 5th graders who could decode, but could not recall what they had read. I used this strategy in intervention groups and I shared the strategy with other 4th and 5th grade teachers who also used it with striving readers and also experienced success with it.”
Abdullah credits the district’s Professional Learning Community (PLC) model for allowing her to allow other members of her teacher team to meet the needs of her other students while she participated with those in the study.
“As a New York State Master Teacher, I have the opportunity to meet and work with teachers all across New York state. I can tell you from those experiences, that teachers in most other districts would not have the structures in place to allow them to be part of research like this. In addition, the district fully supported this project, which is also something that is not a given in other districts within the state. It is an example of Windsor’s forward thinking and commitment to getting it right for kids, no matter what it takes,” said Abdullah.