What can teachers do to improve their students’ reading comprehension?
Page 3: Introduction to CSR
While conducting his research, Mr. Dupree discovers that Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) incorporates the four elements described on the previous page:
Opportunities to practice
CSR is a multi-component reading approach developed to help students improve their reading comprehension. Its overall goal is to improve reading comprehension in a way that maximizes student engagement. Mr. Dupree learns that students with varying reading levels can use CSR to apply comprehension strategies while reading expository text in small cooperative learning groups.
Listen as Sharon Vaughn, a University of Texas researcher and developer of Collaborative Strategic Reading, talks about why CSR was developed and why it is an effective strategy. One of the points that she makes is that teachers appreciate the way in which CSR has helped prepare their students for high-stakes assessments.
Sharon Vaughn, PhD Professor of Special Education Director of the Vaughn Gross Reading Center University of Texas, Austin
CSR, which stands for Collaborative Strategic Reading, was developed as a means to achieve several goals. One is to provide students at risk and with reading and learning disabilities access to content area instruction. Second was a focus on providing opportunities for students to access the general education curriculum particularly in expository texts such as social studies and science. And thirdly was to develop a practical, procedural practice that classroom teachers could implement that would be inclusive of students at risk and with learning disabilities. What CSR really has done is capitalized on the research we have about reading comprehension and cooperative groups and put it together in a way that’s feasible for classroom teachers to implement.
Transcript: Sharon Vaughn PhD
Effectiveness of CSR
There’s several sources of information that allow us to have confidence about the effectiveness of CSR. Probably the most important data would be studies in which CSR is compared with comparison interventions or control interventions. And the effect sizes suggest that CSR is a moderately to highly effective practice with subgroups of students, particularly students who are low-achieving, learning disabled, or English language learners. So one source of data is empirical, based on our studies. A second source of data that would give us confidence that CSR is effective are testimonials, and that is that practicing teachers who have used CSR sort of tout the effectiveness and speak to how it has made them more effective as teachers and their students more effective as learners. And, in particular, they appreciate the way in which CSR has prepared their students for high-stakes assessments, that is those state-wide tests that determine whether students are progressing adequately, like reading comprehension measures, most of which now have at least 50% expository texts. And then a third source of information would be students themselves. As part of our studies we interviewed students to determine what their perspectives have been about using CSR, and they consistently view CSR as a fun practice that they enjoy participating in. They appreciate having the opportunity to learn from their fellow students, and they think the strategies that they are taught are useful to them both in terms of the content area they are reading but also in terms of other courses that they have to take.
For Your Information
Originally developed to improve the reading comprehension of students with learning disabilities, CSR has been shown to be equally effective with average- and high-achieving students, struggling readers, and English learners (ELs). For this reason, CSR is an ideal Tier 1 strategy to use in classrooms that are implementing the response to intervention (RTI) approach.
Considerations for Using CSR
CSR was designed for use with the type of expository text found in subject area textbooks (although some teachers have adapted it to be used with narrative text). Despite the fact that teachers may not be able to select the textbook, it is easier initially to implement CSR if the selected passage:
Consists of several paragraphs
Contains one main idea per paragraph
Is written at an appropriate reading level
Contains clues to help students predict what they will be learning (e.g., highlighted vocabulary terms, headings, illustrations)