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Taking Notes on Informational Source Text Using Text Structures: An Intervention for Fourth Grade Students with Learning Difficulties

Michael Hebert, Janet Bohaty, J. Ron Nelson, Julia Roehling, Kristin Christensen


Students with writing difficulties may have difficulty when writing informational text with source material due to a) inexperience with such text and b) difficulties reading and understanding source material. Teaching students to take notes related to informational text using text structures (e.g., description, compare/contrast) may help them access source text and improve planning and organization of their ideas. Two pilot studies examining the usability, feasibility, and promise of a note-taking and text structure intervention are presented in this manuscript. In study 1, the researchers employed a multiple-probe design across three 4th grade participants with reading difficulties. In study 2, the researchers employed an underpowered experimental design, comparing the intervention to a narrative-based reading and writing strategies. Fidelity of implementation was acceptable to high in both studies, indicating preservice teachers find it useable and it is feasible to implement the lessons within the 30-minute time frame. However, there were mixed results of the intervention on note-taking outcomes. In study 1, a functional relation was demonstrated for two of three participants for the note-taking measure. In study 2, the intervention group did not statistically outperform the control group on the note-taking measure, but there was a non-significant effect size of 0.75 between the groups. The findings, though mixed, warrant further study of the intervention in a fully powered study. Results on reading outcomes for both studies are also discussed. 

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Writing; note-taking; reading; 4th grade learning disability

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