The paper 'Improving Reading Skills in Middle School Students' is a great example of a research proposal on education.
The main purpose of the study is to find the significance of reading skills in middle school students and the ways to improve the skills. With the growing competition, the need for fluent readers is growing in the US and in the coming years, the demand is going to increase further.
The study includes references to some of the published works to stress the need for improved reading skills and strategies that can help students become fluent readers. Ensuring advanced literacy achievement for all students is no longer a luxury but an economic necessity1 (Snow, C., Burns., S., & Griffin, P., 1998).
With the growing demand for technology and skilled services, the demand for literacy skills is growing. Many middle and high school students have difficulty reading and understanding academic texts, which limits their ability to meet today's high learning standards2 (P. David Pearson, John A. Hannah).
Reading skills are essential to the academic achievement of middle and high school students after seven or eight years of elementary education, however, many students still lack sufficient proficiency as readers3 (John H. Holloway).
It has been indicated that substantial experience reading complex texts in high school is a key indicator of college success (eSchool News staff reports). The use of computers and the internet is a basic necessity for getting a good job opportunity and professional growth. This makes the demand for excellent reading and literacy skills all the more important. To become an expert reader, it is vital for a student to practice and improve reading skills from the middle school itself.
According to Guthrie, Alao, and Rinehart (1997), as students move from junior level to middle school their motivation towards reading and other academic subjects. Teachers can play an important role here to ensure that students do not lose their spirit and motivation, and to a horn, their reading skills by, however, can help students regain their motivation and improve their reading performance by connecting reading assignments to real-world learning experiences 4.
The lack of reading skills is a common problem in middle school students. However, it is incorrect to say that such students require some special or different approaches to reading to become fluent readers. They need to be taught with the same strategies as other students, just that they need more of it, with more care and precision because they find reading and writing more confusing5 (Kevin Feldman, 2003).
Improving Reading Skills
Students in middle school and high school "ready to learn." Reading below grade level in the secondary grades can impair a student's success in other areas of school 6 (Betty McCartney). Various researches have indicated ways to improve reading skills in middle school students.
A research conducted by Blue Ribbons School indicates four key practices for improving reading skills in middle school students:
a-Organization Support- Organizational support that can help students improve their reading skills includes support from staff members. By involving students in professional development skills and integrating reading skills across various subjects, their reading skills can be improved.
b-Teaching-Use of techniques such as shared and guided reading can help improve the reading skills of middle-level students.
c-Assessments- Ongoing formative and evaluative assessments targeting skills and development level can also be vital in improving student’s reading skills.
d-Student Support-Support from parents, friends, teachers, and early intervention can be the key to help the student improve their vital skills.
Another study indicates seven prerequisites for successful reading comprehension- (1)Good oral language skills, (2) well-developed knowledge in variety of subjects, (3) social interaction, (4) opportunities to practice reading skills, (5) exposure to different kind of reading materials, (6) specific instructional practices, and (7) instruction based on an appropriate and well-articulated alignment between curriculum and assessment can help students horn their reading skills and become fluent readers7 (Catherine E. Snow, Henry Lee Shattuck ).
Few simple reading strategies have been suggested by Laura Robb, to help students become fluent readers and move forward for a bright future. 8(1)Before reading strategies like brainstorm, skim, assessing prior knowledge, learning crucial knowledge, (2) reading strategies during studies like rereading, summarizing, questioning, and (3) after reading strategies like synthesizing, reflecting and confirming predictions can be very useful in helping the middle-level students in becoming expert readers.
As Nancy Collins (1996) says, "The only way to improve reading skills is to read." Mentored guidance with proper intervention and the right use of motivational strategies can help students become expert readers9.
Fluent reading skills are vital for the growth and overall success of a student. Students with low reading skills always lack behind than others with fluent reading skills. "Reading skills are essential for success in the early grades, in high school, in college, and in the workplace," 10 said Senator Kennedy.
Low reading skills can have an overall negative impact on the personality and growth of the students as they will always find them lacking behind the fluent readers in all phases of their life- as a student or as a professional. Thus it becomes very important for parents and teachers to intervene at th right stage and explain to students, the importance of fluent readings and take measures to horn reading skills in the students.
Right care and strategies will definitely ensure that all the students become fluent readers.
Snow, C., Burns., S., & Griffin, P., 1998, Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press
P. David Pearson, John A. Hannah, Professor of Education, Michigan State University, A Guide to Improving Reading in Middle and High School Classrooms
John H. Holloway, Improving the Reading Skills of Adolescents
Guthrie, J. T., Alao, S., & Rinehart, J. M. (1997). Engagement in reading for young adolescents. Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy, 40(6), 438–446.
Kevin Feldman, 2002, Created- 2003 Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation
Betty McCartney, Supervisor, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, Division of Special Education, Effective Practices Section
Catherine E. Snow, Henry Lee Shattuck, Harvard school of graduate
Laura Robb, Teaching Reading in Middle School
Collins, N. D. (1996). Motivating low performing adolescent readers. Bloomington, Ind. ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading, English, and Communication. (ERIC Document Reproduction No. EDO-CS-96-06)
Senator Kennedy, March 3, 2006, SPRINGFIELD, MA- Today, Senator Edward M. Kennedy and Margaret Spellings, the United States Secretary of Education