Educational Research and Reviews Vol. 6(1), pp.

102-109, January 2011
Available online at http://www.academicjournals.org/ERR
ISSN 1990-3839 ©2011 Academic Journals

Full Length Research Paper

Effects of cooperative integrated reading and
composition (CIRC) technique on reading-writing skills
Erhan Durukan
Department of Turkish Education, Faculty of Fatih Education, Black Sea Technical University, Turkey.
E-mail: erhandurukan@gmail.com. Tel: +905327013400.
Accepted 29 December, 2010

The aim of this study was to analyze the effects of the cooperative integrated reading and composition
(CIRC) technique and the traditional reading and writing pedagogical methods for primary school
th
students. The study group was composed of 45 7 grade students enrolled at a primary school at the
centre of Giresun Province in the 2009/2010 academic year. “Pre-test-post-test control group” model
was adopted in the present study. Experimental and control groups were randomly assigned: 24
students were grouped into experimental group and 21 students into control group. Written Expression
Achievement Test (WEAT) and Reading Comprehension Achievement Test (RCAT), both developed by
the researcher, were used to collect data related to the study groups’ writing skills and reading
comprehension skills, respectively. Results were analyzed via 2-way ANOVA test in the SPSS program.
WEAT and RCAT were applied as pre-, post- and retention-test to the control and experimental groups.
At the end of the statistical analysis, it was revealed that there was a statistically significant difference
between the reading and writing skills of the experimental and control groups in terms of academic
achievement and retention. This difference was discovered in favour of the cooperative integrated
reading and composition technique.

Key words: Reading, writing, cooperative integrated reading and composition technique, traditional teaching.

INTRODUCTION

Reading and writing skills are very important in the teacher can teach by reading and writing or having
context of language teaching and use. Writing is the most students read or write (Bloom, 1979; Yalçın, 2002).
concrete and systematic of the language skills. The more Pedagogy to be adopted in the teaching process should
developed the writing skill, the more systematic the ensure both accurate comprehension and correct and
individual’s overall use of language. By this way, a effective self-expression by students during reading and
person can speak, read and listen in a more accurate and writing activities. Teachers need information and
effective way (Bryson, 2003). Writing is to individual experience to choose appropriate teaching methods for
expression what reading is to comprehension. Among specific learning environments (Kapka and Oberman,
language skills, reading together with writing is the first 2001).
skill to be learnt. It is also known that, in the learning Curricula renewed according to student-centred
process, there is a high correlation between reading teaching approach require use of strategies, methods
comprehension and academic achievement. and techniques complying with a constructivist approach
Reading and writing are two basic language skills that and involving active student participation in the learning
are important from the first phase of primary education. process. One of the approaches parallel to this teaching
These skills fall in the context of mother language approach is cooperative learning.
learning. Students can learn by writing and reading and a Cooperative learning can be defined as a learning

2005. Hanze such as knowing individuals well. mixed student groups form both Detection of successful groups: Individual and group in-the-class and out-of-the-class environments to ensure assessment of the student scores are entered on a group students help each other in learning an academic subject scoreboard and the resulting scores are summed. 1980). writing primary actor who realises. all basic components MATERIALS AND METHODS of cooperative learning ensure realization of personal An experimental method of “pre-test-post-test control group” was responsibility (Senemo lu. where their self-esteem group with the highest final score is rewarded (Yaman. Thus. Lin. asking questions. 1995). performing basic skill-building activities (such as oral Slavin et al. cooperation (Stevens and Slavin. 2005). equal change for achievement. skills or information learnt by students in comprehension skills of primary school students. increases and their communication. 2007. Siegel. researchers. Reading comprehension achievement test (RCAT) Assessment: Depending on the features of the selected To assess the effects of the adopted methods on the reading technique. 1999). Firstly. critical thinking skills develop. Skilful increases not only opportunities for direct teaching in performance of reading (silent and oral) comprehension reading and writing but also applicability of composition activities as well as expressive activities (such as writing writing techniques (Açıkgöz. Reading relation to course content are assessed by students Comprehension Achievement Test (RCAT). is designed to develop reading. contextual guessing. using 2001. Yaman. group support for achievement. team books pedagogy. Levine. 2007. Other members also Data collection tools control the answers and the process continues this way. 1997. Doymus. Maloof and White. The study group was composed of 45 7th grade students enrolled at a primary school in the centre of Giresun Province during the 2009/2010 academic year. In light of the results reading. Next. In general. groups. composition and grammar activities) via worksheets CIRC technique is developed to support traditionally. 2005. teacher shares basic information with classroom. (CIRC) technique. used in this study. When the Studies in life and social science fields show that teacher works with a reading group. organized as per the principles of CIRC technique is used “skill-based reading groups” approach. problem-solving and 1999). They help each other in this scope (Doymus. Implementation process of CIRC technique Study group Introduction by teacher: Firstly of all. Gillies. CIRC summarizing. 1995. The instructor’s experience and knowledge are education. 2006. students can collectively answer the method. Internal structure of CIRC technique consists of elements 2000. 2006). Eilks. couples try to teach cooperative learning techniques are used to test different each other meaningful reading and writing skills by using problems and are recognised to have positive effects in reciprocal learning technique. 2006. Students in the study group were Group work: 4 or 5 student groups were established. Depending on the composed of 21 students to be taught via traditional teaching content of the work. Durukan 103 approach in which small. The teacher is the on cooperation. developed by the individually or cooperatively. writing a composition based on the story. Experimental group students were taught via CIRC technique while control group students were taught via traditional teaching methods. 1992. proportional to the teacher’s guidance and close reading groups are established in the classroom. randomly sampled into an experimental group composed of 24 Worksheets and other materials prepared by teacher students to be taught via CIRC technique and a control group were handed out to group members. supporting groups. Teams are The present study aimed to compare the effects of rewarded for all reading and writing assignments on the CIRC technique and traditional teaching methods on basis of the average performance of group members. 2007. regulates and supports these and other language skills in the upper grades of primary phases. was used in this study. Slavin. reading and writing skill. one of the learning techniques based group and individual assessment. Hennessy and Evans. fostering cooperation. and the performance. A 40 item pool was created for . obtained in the studies on cooperative learning. and where they actively participate in the teaching-learning process (Bowen.. students are paired off within the groups. are published at the end of this process. ensuring inter-group communication. technique can be suggested to be effective language revising-correcting composition). The in the scope of a common goal. materials appropriate for the content in a timely and Cooperative integrated reading and composition orderly manner. questions and answers can be checked by each member and conveyed to other groups. establishing proper and Berger. CIRC technique presents a structure that important for achieving success in these activities.

Two questions were asked to each in the pool to 25. The researcher entered the results first development phase was to create a 50 item pool. To find if there was a statistically significant difference between the achievements of the experimental group (taught with CIRC Procedures related to control group technique) and control group (taught with traditional methods) in terms of reading and writing skills. assigned a value of “1 point”. Data analysis obtained intonation. Implementation was undertaken by the researcher in experimental and control groups by applying appropriate method and technique Pre. In the fourth week of implementation. The pool was composed of standardised examination the worksheets handed out to students were read in the scope of questions from previous years. oral reading and reading comprehension skills. they were performance exerted by groups in the previous activities on each omitted. application on 20 primary school students. Procedure Achievement status of groups is shown in Table 3. checked the group readings in terms of sound utilisation.32 to 0. WEAT was assessed the answers of other groups. stress. Names and slogans of the groups are listed in Table 2. method. both the experimental and Courses were managed by the researchers via traditional teaching control groups were applied RCAT and WEAT as pre-test. The test’s sentences written on the board. 4.83 range and that the test’s were meant to be answered together. Schematic appearance of test process. The test’s internal consistency on the group’s scoreboard. thus. Teacher checked the standardised examination questions of previous years.24 to 0. etc. Students in the experimental group were informed of the group works required by CIRC technique. achievement test was analyzed by Turkish teachers. spelling and punctuation and asked student to make from pre-application resulted in a reduction of the number of items corrections whenever required. techniques such as questions-answers and brain-storming were adopted and group work activities (such as discussion. We explained how the groups would be established. In the second week of implementation. This process aimed to develop students’ reliability coefficient was calculated to be 0. reducing the number of items to 25. The difficulty level of group’s scoreboard and the most successful group was awarded in the test items was found to be in the 0. Taking into consideration various student Table 2. Rev. In the third week of the implementation. The develop students’ “accurate writing” skill and “making meaningful achievement test’s reliability was verified via a pilot application on sentence” skill. Table 1. Groups Name Slogan two successful. After the Data related to students’ written expression skills were collected via copyists wrote the group answers on the board.50 level. Res. Reliability of the resulting 30 item test was tested via a pre. 20 students. Given answers were entered average difficulty was at 0. Each group selected a copyist. test’s internal consistency reliability coefficient of the test was 0. the researcher entered showed that 5 items on the test had low reliability. These questions items was heterogeneous in 0. all groups “Written Expression Achievement Test” (WEAT). Pre-tests were made in the first week of implementation. the experimental group was divided into 46 member groups according to CIRC technique. Group B Hunters Binocular 2. achievement. sentences and texts in RCAT. Each of these questions and activities were assigned value of “1 point”. Hunters and The Unrivalled answered 9 of 10 questions and activities correctly and were awarded “Achievement Certificate” as the most successful groups in class. interest.79 via KR-20 formula. This process aimed to of items was reduced to 30 after consulting expert opinions. Analysis showed that difficulty level of the test group in relation to reading comprehension skill. Each item of RCAT was assigned a value of “1 point”.85 groups were asked 10 questions and activities related to reading (via KR-20 formula). Students were sub-divided into pairs. age and culture. Implementation Post. Group names and slogans. After the first draft of the 40 item reading skill development. skills. The number of these practices on the scoreboard. Reliability analysis made after the pilot application 5. two unsuccessful and two improving students were Group A A Team Clapping assigned to each group. On the basis of previous report cards. groups were asked to write down the sentences written by the teacher on the blackboard to improve their writing skill. Firstly. In the fifth week of implementation. duties would be assigned and the activities would be carried out. In the scope of Group D Detectives Magnifying the preparatory works. Groups opposed to the developed by researchers who selected test items from among the answers offered reasons for their opposition. for 5 weeks on a basis of 2 h/week (Table 1). Groups Retention test process test RCAT Traditional RCAT RCAT Procedures related to experimental group Control teaching Experimental WEAT CIRC WEAT WEAT 1. deciding on the name of the group. 10 questions These couples tried to read accurately first the texts in their own were eliminated by also taking into consideration the subject-related worksheet and then the texts in others’ worksheets. pre-tests were made and students were . In the first week. characteristics such as sex. the different groups and the Written expression achievement test (WEAT) researcher checked their sentences. Each item on the achievement test was and writing skills. 3. preparatory works were Group C The unrivalled Dance carried out in relation to the subject and cooperative learning before actual initiation of CIRC technique implementation.90 range and the class in the fifth week. The researcher called each group’s copyist to the board. In the overall implementation process.104 Educ.) were carried out. The researcher gains.

RCAT and WEAT were re-applied as experimental group students were found to achieve 53% retention test.52 (54%) 2. post-test and retention-test. 86) = 463.42. 43)=18.95(80%) 1. + + - 9 + + + - 10 + + + + Total 6 points 9 points 9 points 5 points Table 4. + + 2 . Two-way ANOVA technique was used in the analysis of a statistically significant difference between the pre- the data obtained from RCAT. * * * Experimental 24 13. limited to the activities listed in student workbooks. + + - 3 + + + + 4 + + + - 5 .42(53%) 2. respectively. pos- Data obtained from the pre. This .95 and Turkish Language Teaching Plan) for each objective to be taught via traditional teaching method. Group scoreboard.05). mean scores of After the implementation.d.55 19.92 (75%) 2. were recorded to achieve 54.92 in the retention test. WEAT so as to find if there was a statistically significant difference between experimental and control implementation and post-implementation RCAT pre-test. Durukan 105 Table 3. Pre test Post test Retention test Groups n S. on the other hand.29 in the post-test and decreased to measurement effect) (F (2. respectively. 19. Four weeks When considered in terms of absolute achievement level. Study findings were analyzed at (p) 0.816. were = 13. The researcher prepared a daily = 19. experimental and control group both experimental and control group students increased.and post- implementation).52. It control group) as well (in relation to the basic rose to = 23. Reading and writing works were 16.d.05). + .722. S.88 16. after the implementation. However. S. arithmetic RCAT of students without any group distinction (experimental or pre-test mean of the experimental group was = 13.09 19. + + + 7 + + + + 8 .d. This finding shows that there is a difference between the mean scores of experimental and control group students FINDINGS without any measurement distinction (pre. the table also suggests that Findings related to reading comprehension skills there is a statistically significant difference between the pre-implementation and post-implementation mean scores As can be understood from Table 4. According to these findings. control groups (F(1. post and retention-test of the test and retention-test. students were applied RCAT and WEAT as post-test. 80 and 67% of the target in the pre-test.94 *Absolute achievement level= mean/maximum score. 93% of the target in the post- test and 73% of the target in the retention test.29 (93%) 1. - 6 . Question and activities A team Hunters The unrivalled Detectives 1 + .05 post-test and retention-test results of experimental and significance level. on the other hand. group students. informed about the objectives. p<0. Mean scores of the control lesson plan (in such a way to include the gains specified in the group. Control Data analysis group students. Experimental-control group RCAT mean scores and standard deviation.02 23.062 * * Control 21 13. experiment and control groups were analyzed via SPSS package Examination of the data presented in Table 5 points out program. of the target in the pre-test.86 in the pre-test. p < 0.86 (67%)* 1.

215 44 Group (CIRC-traditional) 147. RCAT ANOVA results of experimental and control groups. Figure 1. 17. of the target in the pre-test. were recorded to control group.000 Error 139. on the other hand. there was a statistically achieve 52.216 0. test]) on the mean student scores (F(2.894 Intra-Sample 1731. at experimental group students were found to achieve 49% a statistically significant level.54 in the post-test and decreased to = relationship in terms of the common effect (of being in 19.627 Total 2218.784 18. in favour of the experimental Examination of the data presented in Table 7 points out group. Control RCAT pre-test scores did not differ from those of the group students.00. Mean scores of the control different groups [experimental and control groups] and group.722 0. on the other hand. According to these findings. mean scores of p<0. arithmetic WEAT that of pre-test. were = 13.05).431 43 7.106 Educ.05.073 2 41. post and retention. it Table 5 also reveals a statistically significant rose to = 22. Source of variance Sum of squares Df Mean squares F Sig.08 in the retention test. Rev.629 2 754. respectively. scores of the two groups. no statistically significant difference between the . respectively. post-test and retention-test. This finding proves that change in the mean both experimental and control group students increased. Inter-sample 487. pre-test mean of the experimental group was = 12.13. Table 5. finding can be interpreted such that pre-test and post-test Findings related to written expression skill achievements of experimental and control groups increased and that their retention levels were higher than As can be understood from Table 6. 86)= 25. scores of experimental group students was different from When considered in terms of absolute achievement level. 20.658 90 Measurement (Pre-post-retention) 1509. Res.816 0. that in the mean scores of the control group students.05 in the pre-test.62 and different measurement periods [pre. Change in mean RCAT scores of experimental and control groups.037 25.956 86 1.873 134 *p<0.000 Error 339.814 463.784 1 147. 82 and 68% of the target in the pre-test. However. pos- significant difference in the post-test and retention-test test and retention-test. 90% of the target in the post- Figure 1 shows that the experimental group’s mean test and 76% of the target in the retention test.000 Group*measurement 82.216.

204 0.560 674.882 44 Group (CIRC-traditional) 35. * * * Experimental 24 12. Figure 2 shows that the experimental group’s mean This finding can be interpreted such that pre-test and WEAT pre-test scores did not differ from those of the post-test achievement of experimental and control groups control group.119 2 925.000 Group*measurement 60. retention- implementation). increased and that their retention level was higher than test.371 Total 2619. Inter-sample 589. S.449 22.13(49%) 2.946 0.12 17. However.d.493 2. Source of Variance Sum of squares Df Mean squares F Sig.00 20. Change in mean WEAT scores of experimental and control groups.05(68%)* 2.05. p<0. basic measurement effect) (F (2.897 2 30. Table 7. S.05). post-.831 134 *p>0.949 90 Measurement (Pre-post-retention) 1851. Experimental-control group WEAT mean scores and standard deviation.08(76%) 2.d. there was a statistically . However. post-test and retention-test results of experimental that of the pre-test. Pre test Post test Retention test Group n S.00(52%) 2.753. 86)= 22.000 Error 117.13 *Absolute achievement level= mean/maximum score.893 Intra-Sample 2029. 43)=2.389 43 12.54 19. Durukan 107 Table 6.05). at (experimental or control group) as well (in relation to the a statistically significant level. pre-implementation and post-implementation WEAT pre. This finding proves that change in the mean pre-implementation and post-implementation mean scores of experimental group students was different from scores of students without any group distinction that in the mean scores of the control group students.204.493 1 35.05). there was a statistically significant difference between the p<0. p>0.946.40 22. WEAT ANOVA results of experimental and control groups. different measurement periods [pre-.62(82%) 2. 86)= 674.104 Error 554. and control groups (F(1.d. the table also suggests that test]) on the mean student scores (F(2.39 * * Control 21 13.753 0. This finding The table also reveals a statistically significant shows that there was no difference between the mean relationship in terms of the common effect (of being in scores of experimental and control group students different groups [experimental and control groups] and without any measurement distinction (pre and post.54(90%) 2.933 86 1. Figure 2.

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