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Reading Research Quarterly

Vol. 32, No. 1


January/February/March 1997
©1997 International Reading Association
Lesley Mandel Morrow (pp. 54–76)

Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

Michael Pressley
State University of New York at Albany, USA

Jeffrey K. Smith
Michael Smith
Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA

The effect of a literature-based program


integrated into literacy and science
instruction with children from diverse
backgrounds

W
hen teachers and researchers speak of inte- speaking, and viewing; the incorporation of these lan-
grating the language arts, they can mean guage arts into content areas; and using children’s litera-
two distinct things: integrating the teaching ture as a major source for instruction. Children engage in
of reading, writing, listening, speaking, and shared oral reading and writing experiences; the teacher
viewing or integrating the teaching of these language uses literature in guided lessons; and there is time given
arts into the study of content. The general term integra- to social interaction with peers during periods of inde-
tion suggests the interweaving of ideas from different pendent reading and writing (Edelsky, Altwerger, &
processes, subject areas, or domains of human inquiry Flores, 1991; Goodman, 1989; Harste, Woodward, &
(Pearson, 1994). Based on this definition, the purpose of Burke, 1984; Wells, 1985).
integration is to help students realize that what they are The content areas provide learning contexts in
learning in one domain can transfer to another. which reading and writing are used for a purpose.
Proponents of the integrated language arts approach
Integrating the language arts suggest that it will increase students’ literacy abilities and
The integrated language arts perspective is based knowledge of content (Pappas, 1991) by providing a
on the belief that reading and writing are functional flexible framework for concept-oriented instruction
tools not to be mastered in isolation, but to be used in (Gambrell, 1992; Pappas, 1995).
authentic activities (McGinley & Tierney, 1989). Inte- Theoretical and practical support for integration of
gration is a way to avoid acquisition of isolated irrelevant the language arts into content area instruction date back
skills. The integrated language arts perspective involves to the progressive education movement, associated with
the concurrent teaching of reading, writing, listening, the work of John Dewey (1966). In pursuing his concern

54
ABSTRACTS

The effect of a literature-based program integrated into literacy and science instruction with children
from diverse backgrounds
THE PURPOSE of the study was to determine the impact of a statistically significantly better on all literacy measures than children
literature-based program integrated into literacy and science instruc- in the literature-only group. Children in the literature-only group
tion on achievement, use of literature, and attitudes toward the lit- scored statistically significantly better on all literacy measures, except
eracy and science program. Six third-grade classes with children for the standardized reading test, than children in the control group.
from diverse backgrounds (N = 128) were assigned to one control There were no differences between the groups on number of science
and two experimental groups (literature/science program and facts used in science stories written. In the test of science facts and
literature-only program). Both standardized and informal written and vocabulary, the literature/science group scored statistically signifi-
oral tests were used to determine growth in literacy and science. Use cantly better than the literature-only group and the control group.
of literature was measured by asking children to name book titles Observational data collected during periods of independent reading
they knew and had read both in and out of school. Interviews with and writing, when children interacted in social settings, reported
teachers and children determined attitudes toward the literature and the nature of literacy activities that took place.
science programs. Children in the literature/science group scored

El efecto de un programa basado en la literatura, integrado en la enseñanza de la lectoescritura y la


ciencia, con niños de diversas procedencias
EL PROPÓSITO del estudio fue determinar el impacto de un pro- ra/ciencia se desempeñaron significativamente mejor en todas las
grama basado en la literatura, integrado en la enseñanza de la lecto- medidas de lectoescritura que aquellos del grupo de literatura. Los
escritura y la ciencia, sobre los logros, el uso de la literatura y las niños del grupo de literatura se desempeñaron significativamente
actitudes hacia el programa de lectoescritura y ciencia. Seis cursos de mejor que los del grupo de control en todas las medidas de lecto-
tercer grado de niños de diversas procedencias (N = 128) fueron escritura, excepto en la prueba estandarizada de lectura. No hubo
asignados a un grupo de control y dos grupos experimentales (pro- diferencias entre grupos en el número de hechos científicos usados
grama de literatura/ciencia y programa de literatura). Para determi- en los relatos escritos de ciencia. En la prueba de hechos científicos
nar el avance en lectoescritura y ciencia se usaron pruebas y vocabulario, el grupo de literatura/ciencia se desempeñó signi-
estandarizadas y pruebas informales escritas y orales. El uso de la ficativamente mejor que los grupos de literatura y de control. Los
literatura se midió pidiendo a los niños que nombraran títulos de li- datos observacionales recogidos durante períodos de lectura y es-
bros que conocían y habían leído en la escuela y fuera de ella. Las critura independiente, cuando los niños interactuaban en contextos
entrevistas con docentes y niños determinaron las actitudes hacia los sociales, permitieron describir la naturaleza de las actividades de lec-
programas de ciencia y literatura. Los niños del grupo de literatu- toescritura que tuvieron lugar.

Die Wirkung von literaturorientierten Programmen bei der Literarisierung wie bei der
Wissensvermittlung mit Kindern unterschiedlichster sozialer Herkunft
ZWECK DIESER Studie war, den Einfluß von literaturorientierten Literatur-/Wissensgruppe punkteten statistisch gesehen eindeutig
Programmen auf den Unterricht im Lesen, Schreiben sowie auf den besser bei allen Leistungsfestellungen in der Literarisierung als
Sachunterricht zu bestimmen, und zwar im Hinblick auf den Kinder in der reinen Literaturgruppe. Kinder in der reinen
Leistungsfortschritt, auf den Gebrauch von Literatur und auf die Literaturgruppe punkteten statistisch gesehen bei allen Leistungsfest-
Einstellungen zu Literarisierungs- und Wissensvermittlungsprogram- stellungen in der Literarisierung—ausgenommen beim standard-
men. Sechs Klassen der dritten Schulstufe mit Kindern unter- isierten Lesetest—besser als die Kinder in der Kontrollgruppe. Es gab
schiedlichster Herkunft (N = 128) wurden einer Kontroll- und zwei keine Unterschiede zwischen den Gruppen in der Menge an
Forschungsgruppen (Literatur-/Sachunterricht und reines Literatur- Faktenwissen, die bei Sachtexten geschrieben wurde. Bei der Über-
programm) zugeteilt. Es wurden sowohl standardisierte wie in- prüfung von Faktenwissen und Vokabeln punktete die Literatur-
formelle schriftliche und mündliche Überprüfungen verwendet, um /Wissensgruppe statistisch gesehen deutlich besser als die reine
die wachsenden Kenntnisse in der Literarisierung und im Wissen zu Literaturgruppe und die Kontrollgruppe. Beobachtungen, die
bestimmen. Der Gebrauch von Literatur wurde ermittelt, indem die während der freien, selbsttätigen Lese- und Schreibphasen aufge-
Kinder nach Buchtiteln gefragt wurden, die sie kannten und die sie zeichnet wurden, als die Kinder in sozialen Lernphasen miteinander
sowohl in der Schule als auch in der Freizeit gelesen hatten. kommunizierten, lieferten Daten über die Art von stattfindenden
Interviews mit Lehrern und Schülern ermittelten die Haltungen Lese- und Schreibaktivitäten.
gegenüber Literatur- und Wissensprogrammen. Kinder in der

55
ABSTRACTS

L’effet d’un programme intégratif basé sur la littérature dans l’enseignement littéraire et scientifique
d’enfants de milieux différents
LE BUT de la recherche était de déterminer l’impact d’un programme tiquement significativement supérieure dans toutes les évaluations de
intégratif basé sur la littérature dans l’enseignement littéraire et scien- l’écrit à celle des enfants du groupe lettres uniquement. Les enfants
tifique, sur la réussite, la pratique de la lecture, et les attitudes à l’é- du groupe lettres uniquement ont des résultats statistiquement
gard du programme de lettres et de sciences. Six classes d’enfants supérieurs dans toutes les évaluations de l’écrit à ceux des enfants du
de 3° année de milieux différents (N = 128) ont été répartis en un groupe contrôle, exception faite du test de lecture étalonné. On n’a
groupe contrôle et deux groupes expérimentaux (programme de pas observé de différences entre les groupes en ce qui concerne le
lettres/sciences et programme de lettres uniquement). Pour évaluer nombre de faits scientifiques rapportés dans les histoires scien-
les progrès en lettres et en sciences on a utilisé aussi bien des tests tifiques produites par écrit. Dans le test de faits scientifiques et de vo-
oraux qu’écrits, qu’étalonnés et informels. On a mesuré la pratique cabulaire, le groupe lettres/sciences a réussi statistiquement signi-
de la lecture en demandant aux enfants de donner des titres de livres ficativement mieux que le groupe lettres uniquement et que le
qu’ils connaissaient et avaient lus à l’école et hors de l’école. On a groupe contrôle. Les observations effectuées pendant les moments
déterminé les attitudes envers les programmes de lettres et de scien- de lecture et d’écriture autonomes, quand les enfants interagissent en
ces au moyen d’entretiens avec des enseignants et des enfants. Les situation sociale, ont apporté des informations sur la nature des ac-
enfants du groupe lettres/sciences ont une réussite qui est statis- tivités de lecture-écriture qui s’y sont déroulées.

56
Literature in literacy and science instruction 57

with teaching children how to learn, Dewey hypothe- curriculum; and (d) having children share books they
sized that interest drives thought. Because children play have read, respond to literature through written and oral
a role in deciding what they study, he argued, it is the language, and participate in independent reading and
teachers’ responsibility to weave skills through the pur- writing periods (Hoffman, Roser, & Farest, 1988;
suit of topics of interest. Learning experiences, he sug- Morrow, O’Connor, & Smith, 1990).
gested, should include problem solving and discovery in When we improve children’s writing we improve
social settings. their ability to think. Writing facilitates logical presenta-
Current models for learning, such as the integrated tion of thought and allows for reflection upon what is
language arts model, are similar to Dewey’s theories in written. Writing changes the development and shape of
maintaining that knowledge is not just conveyed to the ideas. Many advocate the importance of writing as a
learner; rather, learners construct their own understand- mechanism for thinking deeply about content since
ings, building upon what they already know (Vosniadou thinking skills are best taught when connected to mean-
& Brewer, 1987). Students take responsibility for and are ingful contexts such as an academic subject. Forms of
active participants in their own learning, which is sup- writing that help shape children’s thinking include draw-
ported through social interaction, problem-solving activi- ing on one’s own experience and information in prepa-
ties, and reflection. Teachers guide students by modeling ration for writing, summarizing and reviewing new infor-
behaviors and offering support when needed. mation through writing, and transforming knowledge
As children become capable of working on their and extending it through writing (Langer & Applebee,
own, teachers act as facilitators (Resnick, Levine, & 1987).
Teasley, 1992). Such interactions are intended to foster
critical thinking, with individual children internalizing the Integrating the language arts into the study of
cognitive activities practiced in the group (Vygotsky, science
1978). The combination of modeling strategies for learn- Understanding basic science concepts is essential
ing in a traditional format, joined to opportunities for to participate fully in life; however, there is evidence that
active learning, allows for understanding and transforma- many students do not acquire this knowledge (American
tion of knowledge (Scardamalia & Bereiter, 1987). Inte- Association for the Advancement of Science [AAAS],
gration in content areas rewards knowledge transforma- 1989). When teaching science, 95% of teachers use a
tion in the study of different topics and promotes the science text 90% of the time (Ogens, 1990). Often this
acquisition of a meaningful knowledge base (Lipson, approach leads to frustration for the child, rather than an
Valencia, Wixson, & Peters, 1993). understanding of scientific concepts. Researchers analyz-
ing elementary science textbooks (Baker, 1991; Baker &
Importance of reading, writing, and literature in the Saul, 1994) have concluded that such texts often require
integrated curriculum reasoning beyond the capabilities of students. Because
We believe that combining children’s literature one science text is typically used for all students in a
with related activities can advance attainment of some of class, mismatches occur between reading competence
the goals for learning that Dewey and others envisioned. and reading demands for many children (Chall, Conrad,
The content of children’s literature, for example, lends it- & Harris-Sharples, 1991; Meyer, 1991).
self to drawing on background knowledge as students Reliance on science textbooks tends to favor the
interact with peers and adults during reading, writing, accumulation of factual knowledge at the expense of ac-
listening, and speaking about stories that are interesting tivities that stimulate the process-oriented inquiry needed
to them. Involvement in children’s literature encourages to deal with science-related issues. Although the content
discussions, role playing, and retelling and rewriting of of science textbooks is restricted to avoid controversy
stories, all of which are ways of actively constructing and space limitations preclude attention to many topics,
meaning from text. Children’s literature stimulates con- children’s literature that deals with science topics has
versations that draw upon emotions, and promotes re- few restrictions and can provide the reader with insight
sponses related to children’s life experiences (Jett- beyond factual accounts. Trade books deal with a wide
Simpson, 1989). range of ideas that promote emotional responses, per-
Numerous investigations confirm the benefits of (a) sonal association, imagination, prediction, and evaluation
providing children with daily opportunities to experience (Ross, 1994; Smith, 1994). Students should have varied
literature in active and pleasurable ways by reading and reading and writing experiences with science to stimu-
telling stories to children; (b) dealing with stories late inquiry and enhance their process skills for learning
through interpretive and critical discussions; (c) integrat- (Edmondson & Novak, 1993; Roth, 1991; Santa &
ing literature into themes being studied throughout the Havens, 1991).
58 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

Recently, there has been a movement for reform in treatment rooms recalled more information than students
science education (Santa & Alvermann, 1991). An impor- in control rooms about the social studies themes studied.
tant hypothesis emerging from the movement is that in- When Gaskins et al. (1994) studied processes to
tegration of the language arts and science could have an help students think, read, and write about science to de-
effect on the development of scientific understanding velop conceptual understandings, there were significant
(AAAS, 1993; Dowd, 1991; Gaskins et al., 1994). Learning gains on the measures used. However, there was no at-
science through the integration of authentic reading and tempt to determine whether students would have
writing experiences can provide students with exposure learned better with other methods. The authors suggest-
to and practice with the different genres of literature ed the need for experimental studies to compare text-
about science including fiction written to highlight scien- book strategies to the integrated language arts approach.
tific themes and expository prose that explores scientific This study is based on the need to support positive
principles (Champagne & Bunce, 1991; Glynn, Yeany, & anecdotal reports about the integrated language arts and
Britton, 199l). Bruner (1986) argued that there are two integrating into content areas. It expands upon the limit-
modes of cognitive functioning, the paradigmatic and the ed work about the topic and uses an empirical experi-
narrative. For students to employ the rich diversity of mental design. It builds on earlier work that studied inte-
thought of which they are capable, neither mode should grating the language arts in literacy programs by using
be ignored. In science classes the paradigmatic mode children’s literature (Morrow, 1992). The treatment in the
has been most prevalent. Using children’s literature in study uses a balanced approach to instruction with class-
narrative forms in science instruction could enhance a rooms using integrated language arts strategies concur-
student’s ability to utilize diversity of thought. rently with explicit textbook instruction.
A number of studies have demonstrated that the
use of children’s literature enhances both literacy devel- Purpose of the study
opment and children’s interest in reading (Hoffman et In this study we asked what the impact of a litera-
al., 1988; Morrow, 1992; Morrow et al., 1990). It has ture-based program integrated into literacy instruction
been found that difficult scientific concepts are under- and science instruction would have on (a) children’s
stood by students who are taught scientific content using comprehension of story, (b) children’s ability to write
literature (Moore & Moore, 1989). Careful selection of well-formed original narratives, (c) children’s ability to
quality literature for the science curriculum could pro- create well-formed narratives about science topics, (d)
vide students with more interesting scientific reading children’s use of literature, (e) children’s knowledge of
than that found in science textbooks, thus stimulating science facts and vocabulary, and (f) children’s and
students’ interest in participating in science (Renninger, teachers’ attitudes towards the literature-based literacy
Hidi, & Krapp, 1992). and science programs. We were also interested in de-
A literature review about integrating language arts scribing student participation in activities in the treat-
with content area instruction yields many anecdotal re- ment classrooms to better understand what occurred.
ports that support the perspective and offer strategies for The treatment in this study included: (a) the design
classroom practice. There are few investigations that in- of literacy centers in classrooms to create rich literacy
volve empirical, controlled, experimental evaluation of environments, (b) teacher-guided literature activities in
language arts and science integration or integration of the literacy and science programs, (c) guided activities
language arts with other content areas. When investigat- for writing narratives in literacy and science, and (d) self-
ing the use of integration in elementary classrooms, directed periods of reading and writing in social settings
Schmidt et al. (1985) found that although teachers ex- with peers. In these settings children were actively in-
pressed belief in integrating when interviewed, they volved in practicing literacy through the construction of
spent a small percentage of their instructional time en- meaning about text as they read and wrote stories. The
gaged in integrated language arts activities. Baker and treatment rooms also used traditional textbook instruc-
Saul (1994) described teachers working together for a tion in literacy and science as designated by the school
2-year period to construct their own understanding of district. Therefore, the treatment provided a balanced
integrating the science and language arts curriculum. program of explicit instruction and literature-based
Smith, Monson, and Dobson (1992) studied the ef- strategies associated with the integrated language arts.
fects of using historical novels in an integrated language This treatment is based on Cambourne’s model of learn-
arts approach to social studies and literacy instruction. ing (1988). He suggested that learners must be immersed
The control rooms used basal readers and social studies in varied types of texts; need many demonstrations of
texts while the treatment rooms used historical novels how texts are used and constructed; must interact with
for reading and social studies instruction. Students in the individuals who have high expectations for their success;
Literature in literacy and science instruction 59

must be given the opportunity to take responsibility for literature; and (f) about 7 1/2 hours per week were
some of their literacy learning by having choices and spent on literacy instruction in each classroom.
making decisions about when, how, and what to learn; Prior to this investigation, science instruction con-
and need the opportunity to use and practice what they sisted of (a) the use of a textbook and supporting work-
are learning in authentic situations. sheets; (b) the study of four to five science topics
throughout the year in the form of individual units, such
as “Space” or “The Changing Earth”; (c) a project accom-
Method panying each unit (e.g., construction of a mobile of the
nine planets); and (d) science topics that were alternated
Participants and setting with social studies units each month. There were three
The 128 participants (68 girls, 60 boys) were from 45-minute science periods a week for a total of 2 hours
all six third-grade classrooms at one elementary school. 15 minutes weekly.
The sample was ethnically diverse, including 49 children Administrators and teachers in the district where
of African American heritage, 46 Caucasians, 25 the study took place were interested in changing their
Latinos/as (Cuban and Puerto Rican), and 8 Asian literacy program. They wanted to maintain some tradi-
Americans (Korean, Indian, and Japanese). The distribu- tional textbook-based explicit teaching but were interest-
tion of children was similar in each classroom, with ap- ed in implementing some literature-based instruction in-
proximately 10 African Americans, 8 Caucasians, 4 tegrated into literacy and content areas. The teachers
Latinos/as, and 2 Asian Americans in a class of 24. The were willing to participate in the treatment because they
district has been bussing for many years, and diversity had played a role in deciding upon the staff develop-
within classrooms is the norm. Classes were heteroge- ment focus for the year. The teachers in the control
neously grouped with respect to achievement, with ap- classrooms agreed to serve in that capacity because they
proximately one fourth of the students in each class con- were to be provided with the materials and training giv-
sidered at risk and eligible for Basic Skills classes en to the teachers in the treatment rooms at the end of
according to state criteria (normal curve equivalency on the study.
the California Test of Basic Skills [CTBS, 1980] of 34 or
less in reading and 36 or less in language). Materials
Twenty-eight percent of the children in the study The materials used to measure the results of the
were on free lunches and considered disadvantaged. study were grouped into three categories: literacy and
Eligibility for the free lunch program was determined by science achievement, use of generic and science litera-
the state, using a formula that utilizes the family income ture, and attitudes toward reading and science. They
and number of children in the family. The socioeconom- were administered individually and in groups. Observa-
ic status (SES) of the subjects in each ethnic group in the tional data were also collected to be sure treatments
study ranged from disadvantaged to middle class. All were carried out as intended and to record types of liter-
teachers were female with 5 to 22 years of teaching ex- acy activity that occurred during periods of independent
perience, averaging 12 years. reading and writing in the experimental rooms.

Nature of the reading and science programs prior to the Literacy and science achievement
treatment Informal group tests, individualized tests, and com-
The classrooms in which this study took place mercially prepared group tests were administered as pre-
were quite traditional in their approach to literacy and and posttests to evaluate growth in comprehension, writ-
science instruction. Prior to this study, literature was not ing, science vocabulary, and factual knowledge. Pretests
an integral part of the regular reading or science pro- were administered at the end of September prior to the
grams. Literacy instruction consisted of the following: (a) intervention, which began the third week of October
the basal reading text with workbook materials was the and continued to May. The posttests were administered
main source of reading instruction; (b) four reading in May.
groups were employed during the daily reading instruc- Three of the literacy measures, story retelling, story
tion, which lasted 1 hour 30 minutes; (c) books from the rewriting, and the comprehension test, were curriculum-
school and classroom library were available when chil- tied measures, or authentic measures for the instruction
dren were not in reading groups or working on activity used. This information indicated whether or not the
sheets; (d) occasionally, teachers read to students; (e) treatment strategies had the ability to effect change in
none of the classrooms had well-designed literacy cen- that behavior compared to a control group. A standard-
ters, although they each had a shelf with some children’s ized test and writing science stories evaluated transfor-
60 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

mation of knowledge. The story retelling, rewriting, and hension questions focusing on detail, cause and effect,
comprehension test asked students to summarize and re- classifying, inference, and making critical judgments,
view new information that they learned. Writing science plus eight questions focusing on story structure, includ-
stories allowed for the development and shaping of ing setting, theme, plot episodes, and resolution.
ideas and provided a mechanism for the transformation Research assistants read the questions and recorded chil-
of knowledge through writing (Langer & Applebee, dren’s answers. This instrument had an interrater agree-
1987). ment in the range of 92% and above in previous re-
1. Free-recall story retelling and free-recall story search with children from similar and diverse
rewriting tests were used because they are holistic mea- backgrounds (Morrow, 1985). In this study, six coders
sures of comprehension that demonstrate both retention scored the five pre- and posttests with 92% agreement.
of facts and the ability to construct meaning by retelling 3. The California Test of Basic Skills (1980), a stan-
text. For the oral story retelling and story rewriting tests, dardized instrument, had been administered by the dis-
two different storybooks were used, one for the pretest trict in April of the year before the study began and was
and one for the posttest (see Appendix A for titles). They administered again in April of the year in which the
were chosen for quality of structure, including delineat- study was completed. The language and reading subtest
ed characters, a definite setting, clear theme, obvious results are reported in the Results section of the study.
plot episodes, and a resolution. The stories were similar 4. Written original stories were collected by teach-
in number of pages and words. The testing books were ers. For creating original fictional stories, children were
selected with attention to research on children’s prefer- shown five figures—a boy, a rabbit, an elf, a house, and
ences in books (Monson & Sebesta, 1991) and involved an airplane—and were told they could use all or some
characters and concepts familiar and interesting to third- of the figures to help write their story. The stories were
grade children. Research assistants administered story evaluated for story structure, including setting, theme,
retelling tests individually. Story rewriting tests were ad- plot episodes, resolution, and sequence. Better perfor-
ministered to whole groups by classroom teachers. mance was reflected by stories written in story grammati-
The story retelling and story rewriting tests cal order. This instrument was found to be reliable in
(Morrow, 1985) tapped literal knowledge of stories, spe- previous work (Morrow et al., 1990). Six scorers in this
cific elements of story structure, and story sequencing. study evaluated five child protocols with 87% agreement.
Children listened to a story that was read to them and 5. Science stories about science themes studied were
were then asked to retell it or rewrite it as if they were created by students. The purpose of this test was to de-
doing it for a friend who had never heard the story be- termine if students could use learned science concepts
fore. No prompts were given with the rewriting test. In and transform their knowledge to narrative prose. In
the oral retelling, which was tape-recorded, prompts these narrative science stories, we looked for the inclu-
were limited to “Then what happened?” or “What comes sion of science concepts along with elements of good
next?” Both written and oral retellings were evaluated for narrative plot structure. Classroom teachers administered
the inclusion of story structure elements: setting, theme, this test. The four science topics being studied during
plot episodes, and resolution. A child received credit for the school year were written on the board (space, plants,
partial recall or for understanding the gist of a story animals, and the changing earth). Students were asked to
event (Pellegrini & Galda, 1982; Thorndyke, 1977). select the topic they liked best and to write a story about
The scorers also observed story sequence by com- it. They were told to include in the story as many facts,
paring the order of events in the child’s retelling with words, and ideas as they knew about the topic and to
that in the original, and by determining the child’s ability include a setting, theme, plot episodes, and resolution.
to make relationships between story elements and con- Stories were evaluated for the number of science
struct a meaningful presentation. The interrater agree- concepts included. Science concepts were defined as vo-
ment of the scoring scheme (roughly 90%) and the valid- cabulary, facts, and ideas learned from the featured sci-
ity of the measures have been established in previous ence units. Stories were also evaluated for story structure
investigations with children from diverse backgrounds elements. Six coders scoring tests for the same five sub-
(Morrow, 1992). In this study, seven coders scored six jects yielded 82% agreement.
protocols with 92% agreement for story retelling and Most of the children had difficulty writing in a nar-
96% for story rewriting. rative style for this assignment; they wrote instead in an
2. Probed recall comprehension tests were adminis- expository fashion, simply including lists of facts. Those
tered by research assistants individually to each child af- who did write narratives were unable to weave science
ter he or she read a story (testing book titles are in concepts into their story lines, particularly on the pretest.
Appendix A). The test included eight traditional compre- In order to examine this systematically, we did not score
Literature in literacy and science instruction 61

for elements of story structure as originally planned; in- ing one goal (e.g., memory of factual content) at the
stead, we counted the number of expository pieces writ- expense of another goal (e.g., inferential thought).
ten and the number of narrative pieces before and after Acceptance is a critical determinant as to whether an
the treatment, and counted the number of scientific con- educational intervention will be used after the study is
cepts included in the pre- and posttest writing samples. complete (Rich & Pressley, 1990).
A piece qualified as a narrative if it included three of the Only children in the experimental groups were in-
four story structure elements. A piece was considered ex- terviewed about the literature-based program. Interview
pository when it was a statement of facts about the topic. questions required students to compare their regular
6. The science textbook test for the four third-grade reading instruction to the literature-based program. Since
science units used in this study also measured science the control group children were not involved in literature-
achievement. The tests consisted of 24 questions and based instruction, they couldn’t be expected to make
measured factual information. There were six questions comparisons. Interview questions about science were
for each of the four science units. The questions asked posed to all participants in the study since they were not
children to fill in the blanks or identify statements as true treatment specific.
or false. A sample fill-in-the-blank question was as
follows: Observational data
Mammals are animals that have hair and feed their young Observational data involved monitoring the activity
with _________. in the experimental and control groups to be sure teach-
A sample true or false question was as follows: ers were carrying out their programs as intended. We
True or False? Birds and toads both come from eggs. were also interested in listing the type and frequency of
activities during science lessons, and in finding out how
The test was administered to the groups as a whole by the intervention led to the outcomes. For the science ob-
their teachers. Reliability for test scores using coefficient servations, we observed science lessons in all of the
alpha was estimated to be .84 for these subjects. classrooms. In addition, in the literature classrooms, we
observed the Independent Reading and Writing Periods
Use of generic and science literature (IRWPs). These data were collected by research assis-
To determine if the treatment had an effect on chil- tants who recorded field notes as they observed.
dren’s use of literature (i.e., if they were reading books), Observational data were collected for all rooms via
and the types of literature they were familiar with, chil- videotapes or field notes during 30 science lessons over
dren in the three groups were asked to name favorite the course of the school year. There was a total of 180
book titles. This was looked upon as a measure of litera- hours of observation or 60 hours in each treatment
ture use because it was assumed that a child was more group and 60 hours in the control group. In addition, all
likely to be able to perform this task if he or she were rooms involved in the literature treatment were observed
reading books, looking at books, or being exposed to in the same manner during teacher-directed literature ac-
books by the teachers. tivities and independent reading and writing periods.
Recalling and recognizing names of authors and This was done once a week for 30 weeks for a total
reading materials have been used by other researchers as 120 hours in the four treatment rooms, 60 in the litera-
measures of use (West, Stanovich, & Mitchell, 1993). Use ture/science and 60 in the literature-only. The experimen-
of reading materials, or exposure to print, correlates tal and control groups were also observed during tradi-
highly with literacy abilities. Since the children in the tional literacy lessons. This involved 30 lessons in each
treatment groups had a great deal of exposure to differ- room over the school year. There was a total of 180 hours
ent forms of print, we tested their knowledge of book of observations for these lessons, 60 hours per group.
titles to determine if the treatment had an effect on use.
Design and treatment
Attitudes toward literacy and science The six classrooms were randomly assigned to
For this study, attitudes included teacher and child three treatment groups: two experimental groups and
reactions to the literature/science and literature-only pro- one control. Subjects in the first experimental group (21
grams. The interview data on attitudes were collected to boys and 22 girls) received a literature-based intervention
hear the voices of those involved and to determine the in both their literacy and science programs and are re-
acceptability of the treatment. According to Elliott (1988), ferred to as the literature/science group; subjects in the
even if a strategy fosters an important goal, it may not be second experimental group (20 boys and 20 girls) re-
acceptable to teachers (e.g., a strategy may require too ceived a literature-based intervention only in their literacy
much teaching time); others may be perceived as foster- program and are referred to as the literature-only group.
62 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

The control group (19 boys and 26 girls) continued their Teachers talked about moving their literacy center to a
regular basal reading and science textbook instruction. better spot in their room. They shared how their children
The literature/science versus control comparison were adjusting to social literacy settings and talked about
evaluated the effect of the literature plus science integra- how they adjusted their schedules to fit the program into
tion relative to the traditional basal and science textbook the school day.
instruction that occurred in the control group. The These meetings resulted in teachers learning from
literature-only versus control comparison assessed the ef- teachers. The school principal and reading coordinator
fect of the literature-enriched program relative to tradi- attended our meetings, which demonstrated their sup-
tional basal literacy instruction. The literature/science port. Research assistants made weekly visits to experi-
and literature-only comparison assessed the effect that mental and control rooms to answer questions, listen to
adding literature to the science instruction had on both concerns, and provide additional materials, if needed.
literacy learning and science learning as opposed to During the intervention period, the only minor changes
adding literature to only the literacy instruction. that could be made to the program were based on
teacher input to ensure that the same treatment was oc-
Preparations for carrying out the treatment curring in all of the rooms and was consistent through-
Prior to carrying out the treatment, teachers in the out the study.
literature/science and literature-only groups participated The district used basal materials for reading instruc-
in 3 days of in-service training. An additional day was tion and science textbooks and wanted to continue
spent with the literature/science group. Teachers were doing so; therefore, although the intervention comple-
given a handbook that provided a rationale for the inter- mented or balanced the literacy and science instruction
ventions, and lesson plans for the various activities. In that was in place, it did not change it completely. So as
the training sessions, there were demonstrations, simula- not to confound treatment effects, schedules were adjust-
tions, and question-and-answer periods. The actual treat- ed between experimental and control classes to equalize
ment incorporated moderate change, since the teachers time devoted to reading and science instruction. Thus, a
involved were used to very traditional textbook teaching. true experimental contrast existed at the classroom level.
Therefore, we could begin the intervention with minimal To incorporate the treatment, less time was spent
in-service preparation, since there was minimal distur- with basal reading materials in the literature/science and
bance to usual routines. literature-only classrooms and less time was spent with
Teachers were encouraged to discuss their con- science textbooks in the literature/science rooms to in-
cerns about implementing the program. Their concerns corporate the treatment. The same amount of time, how-
included: (a) How will I fit the additional activities in the ever, was spent on literacy instruction and science in-
program into my school day? (b) How can I make space struction in the experimental and control groups.
for literacy centers in my overcrowded classroom? (c) During the study, all classrooms spent 7 1/2 hours
Will my children be able to work in social settings in a a week on reading instruction. In the experimental
productive manner? (d) If there is less time spent with groups, teachers spent 3 1/2 hours a week with the basal
traditional skill development, will children score well reading materials and 4 hours with literature. In the con-
enough on the standardized measures? trol group, all 7 1/2 hours a week of reading instruction
Together the concerns were discussed and solu- involved basal materials. Similarly, in the control and lit-
tions evolved that seemed to satisfy those involved by erature-only groups, the 2 hours 15 minutes spent on
(a) working through schedules together, (b) designing science instruction a week was with the textbook and
literacy centers to fit into classrooms, and (c) helping worksheets. In the literature/science rooms less time was
children to learn to work in collaborative settings. We spent using textbooks to allow for the treatment.
had the assurance from administrators that they sup- Specifically, 1 hour 15 minutes was spent with the text-
ported the project and were willing to take risks about book and 1 hour with literature enrichment. A detailed
the outcome. allocation of time is described in following sections.
Staff development continued during the treatment.
We met with the teachers in the experimental rooms Reading instruction and science instruction in the
every week for the first month, twice a week for the sec- control rooms
ond 2 months, and once a month for the rest of the Reading instruction and science instruction in the
school year. At these meetings, we discussed problems control group continued as it had in the past, with the
and concerns ranging from classroom management to basal materials and workbooks as the main source for
skill development. We also shared activities the teachers reading instruction and the science textbook and work-
carried out and materials that children had created. book guiding science instruction.
Literature in literacy and science instruction 63

Reading instruction in the control rooms: Time allotments such as making a mobile of the planets during the unit
and activities on outer space.
The control rooms spent 1 hour 30 minutes daily for
a total of 712 hours per week on reading instruction. Reading instruction and science instruction in the
1. There were four reading groups in each room literature-only program
and the children were grouped homogeneously. All four Half the time spent in reading instruction in the
groups used the basal reading materials. literature-only group was done as described in the con-
2. At the beginning of each literacy period, the trol rooms; the rest of the time was with the literature-
teacher taught a 30-minute lesson devoted to a particular enriched program. Science instruction for the children in
reading skill to the entire class. the literature-only program was identical to science in-
3. After the lesson, the teacher introduced and ex- struction in the control group.
plained independent work for children to engage in,
which included silent reading in the basal textbook, re- Reading instruction in the literature-only program: Time
lated workbook pages, and worksheets for the lesson allotments and activities
taught at the beginning of the period. One hour 30 minutes per day for a total of 7 1/2
4. When these tasks were completed, students hours per week was spent on literacy instruction. In the
could choose to read books from a shelf in the class- literature-only program, 3 1/2 hours per week were
room, select a quiet game that reinforced reading skills, spent on basal activities, reading groups, and indepen-
or write a story. dent work as described for the control group, and 4
5. While children were engaged in independent hours were spent on the literature-enriched activities.
work, the teacher met with two of the four reading The literature-only rooms included the following.
groups for 30 minutes each. During this time, she intro- 1. Classroom literacy centers contained open-faced
duced skills, children read orally, and there was pre- and shelves as well as regular bookshelves for displaying fea-
postdiscussion about stories read in the basal. tured books. There were 5–8 books per child at 3–4
The basal materials were from the late 1980s. Of grade levels in varied genres of children’s literature, such
the selections in the third-grade materials, 10 were as biographies, picture storybooks, informational books,
whole pieces of children’s literature and several others novels, and so forth. There was a system for checking
were adaptations from children’s literature. There was books out for use at home.
some overlap in discussion surrounding literature selec- The literature-only and literature/science groups
tions in the experimental groups and the discussions were provided with five titles each for the four science
provided by the basal. For example, both programs em- units in the science program: plants, animals, space, and
phasized learning about structural elements in stories. the changing earth. There were multiple copies of these
books in the rooms. Pillows, rugs, stuffed animals, and
Science instruction in the control rooms: Time allotments rocking chairs added comfort to the centers. There were
and activities literature manipulatives such as feltboards with story
Two hours and 15 minutes were spent on science characters, headsets and taped stories, puppets for story-
instruction weekly in three 45-minute periods. telling, chalktalks, and roll movies.
1. Science instruction relied on the science text- Each center had an Author’s Spot with writing pa-
book with workbook pages and a project for each unit. per, booklets, and writing utensils for writing stories and
Science classes included lectures, discussions, movies, making books. The center made literature accessible and
material displays, and a project for the science theme. introduced children to several modalities for engaging in
Lessons were in whole-group settings. social literacy activities.
2. Lessons began with a review of concepts taught 2. Teacher-guided literature activities were carried
in the last science period. out three times a week, and children were read to daily.
3. The teacher presented a lesson dealing with a Activities engaged children in retelling and rewriting sto-
new concept. ries; creating original oral and written stories; storytelling
4. Some reading from the textbook occurred. using props such as roll movies, feltboard figures, and
5. Discussion about the topic was encouraged. chalktalks; sharing books read; and keeping track of
6. Children completed workbook pages that rein- books read.
forced the concepts taught. During story activities, emphasis was placed on el-
7. The last activity might be a film or filmstrip, or ements of story structure and on styles of authors and il-
children might work together in groups formed by the lustrators. Teachers used culturally diverse stories and
teacher to do an experiment or a prescribed project, discussed different genres of literature. Regular discus-
64 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

sion concerned literal, interpretive, and critical issues re- minute periods. In the literature/science program, 1 hour
lated to stories. Activities included writing related to liter- 15 minutes was spent with activities described for the
ature. The activities demonstrated by teachers provided a control group and 1 hour was spent on literature-
model for children to emulate during periods of inde- enriched activities. The literature-enriched science pro-
pendent reading and writing. Although the science titles gram included two major features.
were present in the literature-only rooms, they were nev- 1. Five titles of children’s literature were provided
er featured. and highlighted for each unit taught in the third-grade
3. Independent reading and writing periods (IRWP) science textbook. These books were used to present
in which children were given the opportunity to choose concepts about science topics studied in the textbook.
from a variety of literacy activities, such as reading a These featured science books had a special spot in the
book, reading to a friend, listening to a taped story, literacy center.
telling a feltboard story, asking someone to read to 2. Teachers involved students in writing stories that
them, checking out books to take home, writing a story, contained science facts studied. The narrative stories in-
and so forth, were held three times a week. Children cluded elements of story structure such as setting, theme,
could work alone or with others; cooperative activities plot episodes, and resolution. These stories were written
were encouraged. They were expected to stay with one as a class first, and then in small groups or individually.
or two activities during the 30-minute period. Each IRWP The literature/science treatment lessons were orga-
emphasized concepts that had been featured by the nized as follows.
teacher during her guided literature lessons. During 1. The entire 45 minutes of the first lesson of a
these periods, the teacher worked along with the chil- week was spent with the textbook and follow-up activi-
dren as a participator or facilitator. ties as described for the control group.
Rules were established during IRWPs to help chil- 2. The second science lesson of the week pre-
dren self-direct their activities. It took about a month for sented concepts about science with a selection of chil-
students to be able to work independently of the dren’s literature that was read and discussed. In the
teacher, deciding which activities to engage in and stay- second half of the period, students would work with
ing on task. Montessori’s (1965) theory emphasizing re- the teacher to write a whole-class science story.
spect for others and materials helped to keep this time 3. The third science lesson in the week began with
productive. the use of the textbook. In the second half of the period,
The weekly schedule was managed as follows. children wrote science stories in small groups or alone.
Two days a week the teacher carried out the reading pe-
riod as described in the control group section: (a) a 30- Procedure
minute whole-group lesson for skill development, and
(b) two 30-minute meetings with two reading groups. Data collection
On the other 3 days, instead of a basal reader skill les- At the end of September all measures described in
son, the teacher did a whole-group literature lesson for the Materials section were administered as pretests, and
30 minutes. Instead of seeing two reading groups on again as posttests in May when the intervention was
these days, she would only see one group for 30 min- completed. The intervention began in the third week of
utes, and then there was a 30-minute period of indepen- October and continued to May. Observations were con-
dent reading and writing in a collaborative setting with ducted in the experimental rooms once a week during
peers. the intervention period. Research assistants visited each
classroom and took field notes during each visit. Classes
Reading instruction and science instruction in the litera- were observed during guided literature activities and sci-
ture/science program ence lessons to be certain that all program components
In the literature/science group, the reading pro- were carried out as intended and to be able to describe
gram was carried out with classroom literacy centers, the nature of the lessons in the experimental rooms.
teacher-modeled literature activities, and periods for in- During IRWPs, collaborative activities in literacy and sci-
dependent reading and writing as in the literature-only ence were recorded. Review of field logs confirmed that
program described in the previous section. treatments were carried out as intended such as time
spent and number of activities.
Science instruction in the literature/science program: Control rooms were also observed once a week to
Time allotments and activities describe the type of activity that occurred during science
Two hours and 15 minutes per week were spent and reading periods. From these observations we found
on science instruction. This was divided into three 45- that teachers in the control rooms were not utilizing the
Literature in literacy and science instruction 65

treatments being used in the experimental rooms. The ing tapes. Field notes included detailed information on
one exception was with respect to storybook reading. It children’s self-selected literacy behaviors during IRWPs
was not possible nor would it have been ethical to re- in the treatment rooms. These notes also included activi-
strict storybook reading entirely. Control teachers, if they ties provided by teachers for children during science or
chose, read stories to their classes, but they did so no literacy lessons, whether in treatment or control condi-
more than twice a week. tions. The observers’ notes included information about
dialogue between children, dialogue between children
Analysis of the quantitative data and teachers, and materials used.
Because individual children could not be randomly Complete interaction episodes were to be followed
assigned to conditions, the intact classroom rather than from beginning to end. This type of note taking and
the child was the unit of random assignment and analy- videotaping is referred to by Baker (1963) as the stream
sis in this study. Consequently, the classroom mean was of behavior chronicle because it records, minute by
used for all measures. This procedure was followed be- minute, what subjects do and say. The data from the pe-
cause the behaviors of subjects during IWRPs were likely riods of independent reading and writing in the literature-
to be interdependent. Such interdependence would vio- only and literature/science groups categorized the types
late the assumption of independence of experimental of activities that occurred and the frequency with which
units that underlies conventional analysis—that is, using they occurred.
the individual child as the unit of analysis.
Given that this approach addresses the unit of
analysis problem, we felt it was the most appropriate de-
Results
sign, even though the approach yields small degrees of
freedom for the error term (Morrow, 1992). There were Literacy and science achievement
three conditions, two experimental—literature/science The literacy and science achievement dependent
and literature-only—and one control. As indicated earli- variables consisted of scores on a free-recall story
er, each group included two classrooms of children. retelling test, a free-recall story rewriting test, a probed
The data were analyzed using a one-way analysis of recall comprehension test, the CTBS, written original sto-
covariance (ANCOVA). In the analysis, the pretests served ries, science stories, and the science textbook test. Data
as a covariate and the posttests were the dependent mea- were analyzed separately for each test using ANCOVA
sures. Post hoc comparisons on pretest-adjusted posttest and the Tukey approach for the set of post hoc compar-
means were carried out for each analysis, using isons, p < .05 (one-tailed comparisons).
Bonferroni’s adjustment on the least square estimate of Table 1 presents the pre- and posttest means and
means to determine which between-group differences standard deviations for all the literacy and science
were significant. On all measures, the tests for homogene- achievement tests listed previously. The Table also con-
ity of the within-group regression, an assumption of the tains the effect size (Hedges & Olkin, 1985) for each
analysis of covariance (Winer, 1971), were nonsignificant. pretest to posttest difference relative to the standard de-
Also, on all measures, pretest means were exam- viation of that difference as estimated from the within-
ined using a one-way ANOVA and found not to be sig- classroom standard deviations of the difference. One in-
nificantly different on any measures (alpha = .10). It dication of the potency of the literature/science
should be noted that this test was not particularly pow- intervention was that the effect sizes (ES) for every mea-
erful given the small sample size that resulted from using sure in Table 1 exceed the corresponding ESs in the
the classroom as the unit of analysis. Pretest means can literature-only and control conditions. In general, this is
be found in Table 1. a conservative approach to estimating ES relative to al-
ternatives (e.g., estimating the standard deviation of the
Analysis of the observational data difference from the standard deviation of classroom
During the first month of observations, the ob- mean estimates of the difference). It has the added ad-
servers and individuals doing the monthly videotaping vantage of mapping the ESs relative to the pretest-to-
familiarized themselves with the classroom setting and posttest changes experienced by individual students.
established their identities within the classrooms. The In the running text, the ES for each post hoc com-
initial field notes and videotapes provided a basis for parison is provided, each of which is a difference be-
clarifying and standardizing the procedures for data col- tween ESs recorded in Table 1, as illustrated for the first
lection. This information was used to develop guide measurement taken up in this results section, the story
sheets that were used by the research assistants while retelling measure (e.g., in the next paragraph). Consistent
observing, writing field notes, videotaping, and transcrib- with Cohen (1988), effects larger than 0.9 SD are inter-
Table 1 Means and standard deviations for literacy and science achievement measures
66
Group
___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Literature/science group (n = 43) Literature-only group (n = 40) Control group (n = 45)


_________________________________ _________________________________ _________________________________

Pretest (SD) Posttest (SD) Pretest (SD) Posttest (SD) Pretest (SD) Posttest (SD)

Story retelling 3.59 (1.24) 10.14 (2.24)a 4.37 (0.70) 7.82 (1.80)b 4.75 (1.94) 5.34 (1.24)c
(ES = 2.5 SD) (ES = 1.4 SD) (ES = 0.4 SD)
Story rewriting 3.46 (1.35) 9.38 (2.14)a 3.02 (1.25) 6.09 (2.12)b 4.03 (1.23) 5.03 (1.98)c
(ES = 2.5 SD) (ES = 2.0 SD) (ES = 1.0 SD)
Probed recall comprehension 13.62 (2.89) 24.45 (3.01)a 12.99 (2.14) 20.41 (3.41)b 14.47 (3.06) 16.09 (2.84)c
(ES = 2.7 SD) (ES = 1.8 SD) (ES = 1.0 SD)

California Test of Basic Skills


Reading 61.30 (10.87) 69.36 (10.10)a 60.67 (11.20) 64.86 (11.11)b 61.87 (10.94) 62.71 (10.44)b
(ES = 2.4 SD) (ES = 1.3 SD) (ES = 0.2 SD)
Language 57.55 (10.91) 65.23 (11.02)a 64.77 (11.10) 64.85 (12.10)b 64.09 (10.81) 63.30 (11.11)b
(ES = 1.3 SD) (ES = 0.1 SD) (ES = –0.2 SD)
Written original story 4.39 (1.57) 10.97 (1.59)a 5.66 (1.13) 8.58 (1.13)b 5.92 (1.13) 5.91 (2.38)c
(ES = 3.2 SD) (ES = 2.0 SD) (ES = 0.50 SD)

Science stories
Proportion of expository vs.
narrative 0.70 (0.46) 0.22 (0.41)a 0.76 (0.43) 0.61 (0.49)b 0.73 (0.44) 0.76 (0.43)c
(ES = 0.8 SD) (ES = 0.4 SD) (ES = 0.1 SD)
Number of science concepts 4.01 (1.05) 7.24 (1.12)a 3.92 (.13) 6.94 (1.61)a 4.51 (.78) 7.12 (.81)a
(ES = 2.6 SD) (ES = 2.5 SD) (ES = 2.0 SD)
Science textbook unit test 8.05 (1.01) 15.14 (1.98)a 8.16 (2.10) 12.27 (2.22)b 7.89 (1.02) 12.38 (1.14)b
(ES = 4.1 SD) (ES = 1.8 SD) (ES = 3.1 SD)

Note. Posttest means are adjusted for pretest scores. Each of the three groups consists of two classrooms. All students in each classroom were tested on pre- and posttests. The classroom mean was used as the
unit of analysis, so the means and standard deviations reported here are based on n = 2. a,b,cPosttest scores are significantly different (p < .05) if they do not share the same superscript. ES = effect size.
READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1
Literature in literacy and science instruction 67

preted as large, between 0.4 and 0.9 SD as medium-sized We tested for the ability to transfer knowledge of
effects, and less than 0.4 SD as small effects. science concepts learned into the writing of narratives.
The ANCOVA for the story retelling measure was Children were asked to create a story that included a set-
statistically significant, F (2,2) = 9.30, p < .01. Post hoc ting, theme, plot episodes, and resolution. To do so,
comparisons revealed that all groups were statistically they were to use science words, facts, and ideas that
significantly different from each other, with the literature/ they had learned in science. We did not expect that most
science group scores statistically significantly better than of the children would write expository pieces on the
the literature-only group and the literature-only group pretest. Therefore, we compared the proportion of ex-
scores statistically significantly better than the control pository pieces to narrative stories written before and af-
group scores. The effect size for the literature/science ter the treatment, as well as the number of scientific con-
versus literature-only comparison was 1.1 SD (i.e., 2.5 cepts included in the pre- and posttreatment writing
SD–1.4; see appropriate cells of Table 1). The literature/ samples.
science versus control ES was 2.1 SD (i.e., 2.5–0.4 = 2.1), The ANCOVA for the type of written piece re-
and the literature-only versus control difference was 1.0 ceived (expository or narrative) was statistically signifi-
SD (i.e., 1.4–0.4 = 1.0). Thus the differences between cant, F (2,2) = 17.81, p < .001. Post hoc comparisons indi-
conditions in story retelling were large. cated that literature/science children were writing
The ANCOVA for the score on the rewriting mea- statistically significantly more narratives than the literature-
sure was statistically significant F (2,2) = 8.98, p < .01. only group (ES = 0.4 SD) and the control group (ES = 0.7
Post hoc comparisons revealed that all groups were dif- SD), and literature-only students wrote statistically signifi-
ferent from each other with the literature/science scores cantly more narratives than the control children (ES = 0.3
statistically significantly better than the literature-only SD). There were no significant differences in the number
group (ES = 0.5 SD), literature/science outperforming of science concepts used between the three groups.
Table 2 presents samples of original pieces written
controls (ES = 1.5 SD), and literature-only doing better
by children in the study about the topic The Changing
than controls (ES = 1.0 SD). Thus, there were large ef-
Earth. In each instance, the child was to select a science
fects favoring the two treatment groups.
topic—such as plants, animals, the changing earth, or
The ANCOVA for the probed recall comprehension
space—studied during the year. They were told to make
test score was statistically significant, F(2,2) = 11.46, p <
a list of the science facts they had learned about the topic.
.001. Post hoc comparisons revealed that the
They were asked to write a story that had a setting,
literature/science group scored statistically significantly
theme, plot episodes, a resolution, and include as many
better than the literature-only group (ES = 0.9 SD) and
of the science facts they had recorded as possible. The
the control group ES = 1.7 SD), and the literature-only first sample is an expository piece by a child in the con-
group scored statistically significantly better than the trol group with many science facts included. The second
control group (ES = 0.8 SD). sample is from a child in the literature/science group. It
The ANCOVAs for the reading score F (2,2) = 8.93, is a narrative including the elements of story structure
p < .05 on the CTBS, and for the total language score, and science facts.
F (2,2) = 6.36, p < .05, were statistically significant. Post The ANCOVA for scores on the science textbook
hoc comparisons revealed that the literature/science unit test were statistically significant, F (2,2) = 5.05, p <
group scored statistically significantly better than the .05. Post hoc comparisons revealed that scores in the
literature-only group (ESs = 1.1 and 1.2, respectively) literature/science group were statistically significantly
and the control group (ESs = 2.2 and 1.5 SDs, respect- higher than those for the literature-only group (ES = 2.3
ively) in both areas. The literature-only group and the SD) and the control group (ES = 1.0 SD). There were no
control group were not significantly different from each significant differences between the literature-only group
other (ESs = 1.1 and 0.3 SDs, respectively). and the control group.
The ANCOVA comparing the posttest performances
of the three groups on the written original stories was Use of literature
statistically significant, F (2,2) = 7.23, p < .05. Post hoc
comparisons revealed that all groups were different from Naming book titles in science and generic literature
each other with the literature/science group scores statis- Data on literature use were measured using an in-
tically significantly better than the literature-only (ES = terview that asked experimental and control children to
1.2 SD) and control groups (ES = 2.7 SD), and the name book titles they knew and had read at school and
literature-only group scores statistically significantly at home. This was looked upon as a measure of litera-
better than the control group (ES = 1.5 SD). ture use, because it was assumed that a child would be
68 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

Table 2 Expository and narrative posttest science stories

An expository posttest piece on The Changing Earth (from control group)

The Many Ways That Our Earth Changes


The Earth has been changing as soon as it came to be. Hurricanes change the earth when the water hits up against the
rocks and changes their shape, or the waters hit up against the sand and washes it away into the ocean. Gravity changes the
earth by pulling rocks off of mountains. Volcanoes change the earth when the lava that runs out if it burns everything in its
way and only ash is left where there was rich dirt and plants. Earthquakes change the earth. The ground starts moving, then
the crust cracks. They can damage buildings. Drought changes the earth. When there is no rain, the ground gets dried out,
plants die, animals die, and everything gets barren. The earth has been changing as soon as it came to be and I guess it al-
ways will.

A narrative posttest piece about The Changing Earth (from literature/science group)

The Treasure Hunt


My friends Amber, Alex, and Kevin found a map of a buried treasure. We decided to look for it. We followed the map to
hunt for the treasure. It said go to a stream and find waters that get rough that made the rocks strange shapes from banging
up against them. We walked for hours and then Kevin shouted, “Look there are the rocks.” We looked for the next clue.
Amber found it carved in the rock. It was hard to read from the wear of the wind and water. It said, “Go to the forest and
find the clearing with the colored flowers.” We walked for hours. It was hot and dry, the ground was hard, it hadn’t rained
for months, the grass was brown, the flowers were dead with no color in them from the drought. Then the sky got dark, the
wind blew 100 miles an hour, the rain came down in buckets, we ran into a cave. This was a hurricane. When the storm
ended it looked like a different place. Trees fell, the lake washed away the beach, but colored flowers were growing. We
had found the spot. We saw a note that said go to the mountain. We saw it ahead. We ran toward it. The earth began to
shake, the mountain rumbled. It wasn’t a mountain it was a volcano. Red hot lava ran down the side. We ran for cover.
When the volcano finished erupting the earth was covered with ash. When it was safe we came out to look for a clue, I saw
a paper. It said go to the forest and you will find it. When we got there, the leaves were green, the flowers were pretty, the
sky was blue, there was a breeze, there was fruit to eat on the trees and birds were singing and the sun was warm. Alex
said, “This is it.” “What,” we said. Alex said, “We saw changes in the earth that were scary like jagged rocks from wind and
water, and a hurricane that blew down trees, and a volcano burned up the ground. Now we can see the beautiful part of the
earth. This is the treasure.” We all agreed and enjoyed the pretty earth.

able to perform this task if he or she were reading us know what is acceptable in the intervention or not
books, looking at books, or being exposed to books by acceptable to those participating. Although our results fa-
the teacher. vor the treatment groups, if teachers and children did
Results of the pre- and postinterview for the total not find the strategies acceptable to them, they won’t be
number of science and generic book titles named by used and they wouldn’t be of much value (Elliott, 1988).
children in the three groups showed that children in the
experimental groups could name more book titles than Teacher interviews
the control group (literature/science group: 151 books; The four teachers in the experimental groups were
literature-only group: 145 books; control group: 110 interviewed individually. Comments were quite consis-
books). The children in the literature/science group tent among them. In general, teachers reported that they
were able to name more science titles than children in were skeptical at first about the amount of time that the
the other two groups. An examination of the book titles program would take away from other classroom activi-
named showed that those from the literature/science ties (e.g., basal reading instruction and regular science
group strongly reflected the four science units studied instruction in the literature/science and literature-only
and the trade books provided about plants, space, ani- program rooms), but that their feelings changed over
mals, and the changing earth. time. By the end of the study, they saw literature as an
integral part of their reading instruction program.
Attitudes toward the literature/science and literature-only All reported concerns about getting children to stay
programs on task during IRWPs, but they were able to work
Attitudes toward reading and science in the through these problems. They reported that they
literature/science and literature-only programs compared planned to continue the program and to further integrate
to the traditional reading and science instruction were literature with their basal instruction. The teachers who
evaluated through interviews with teachers and children participated in the literature/science program reported
in the experimental and control classrooms. As men- the desire to integrate the literature program into other
tioned earlier, we were interested in attitude since it lets content areas such as social studies. It appears from the
Literature in literacy and science instruction 69

Table 3 Literature/science and literature-only teachers’ interview responses

What did you learn from the program that you will continue to use?
• New techniques for reading and writing instruction
• The value of choice in having a variety of books for children to read
• The value of choice in having a variety of materials that motivated children
• Children enjoyed being read to and I enjoyed reading to them
• Children’s participation in collaborative learning was productive
• Self-esteem was enhanced because there was something that everyone could be good at
• Children became more interested in reading and writing

What did children learn from the program?


• Children learned skills by practicing reading and writing during IRWPs
• Specific skills practiced were oral reading, silent reading, comprehension, learning about authors, illustrators, literature
genres, and parts of books
• Appreciation for reading and writing

Comments of teachers about the science program from the literature/science group
• The science program became a part of my total curriculum
• Children combined science with literacy during IRWP, by reading and writing about science topics and using storytelling
manipulatives with science books
• Literacy and science achievement and interest were enhanced because children were doing science during literacy periods
and literacy during science periods
• The integration of science and literacy made my teaching more interesting
• I’m going to try this with social studies next year

data that the treatment was quite acceptable to them, like science? If yes, why? If no, why? In response, 35 chil-
and they would continue to use the strategies. dren in the literature/science group said yes, and 8 said
The responses to the interview questions are listed no; 15 children in the literature-only group said yes, and
in Table 3. The two teachers in the literature/science 25 said no; and 17 children in the control group said yes
program made additional comments that reflected their and 28 said no. Children who responded yes in the
participation in the science program, and these are also literature/science group said they liked science because
included in Table 3. “You learn a lot”; “It’s fun”; “You get to read good
books”; “It’s fun to write the stories”; and “You can do
Child interviews science during IRWPs.” Those who responded no said
To determine their attitudes toward the treatments, they didn’t like science because “It was boring.” In the lit-
children in the experimental groups participated in inter- erature-only and control groups, responses were the
views summarized in Table 4. Children from the control same. Children who said they liked science reported lik-
group were not interviewed because they would not have ing it because “You learn a lot” and “It’s fun.” Those
been able to answer questions pertaining to either treat- who said they didn’t like science said “It’s not fun” or
ment program. A total of 83 children were interviewed “It’s boring.”
from the literature/science and literature-only groups.
During these interviews, similar responses to the
Observational data
questions appeared frequently. These are listed with the
number of children who gave each response recorded
next to the example. Answers that are italicized repre- Observations of science lessons
sent those from children in the literature/science group Thirty science lessons in all the rooms were ob-
only. The data reveal that the program activities were served in the course of the year for types of teacher and
quite acceptable to students who enjoyed participating child activity that took place in the science lessons ob-
in them and recognized what they were learning during served and the frequency of occurrence in the different
their participation. The data also suggest positive atti- treatment rooms. The 12 categories of activities that
tudes toward reading and writing as a result of the re- emerged and were used during science lessons included
sponses received. (a) use of children’s literature; (b) developing literacy
To determine attitudes toward science we asked skills; (c) use of the science text; (d) lecture; (e) discus-
children in all groups the following questions: Do you sion; (f) lessons held in literacy centers; (g) lessons held
70 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

Table 4 Child responses to interview questions

What is the literature program like that you want to continue to do?
• There are many kinds of books to read and time to read them (n = 70)
• There are lots of things to do like roll stories, chalk talks, tape stories (n = 47))
• I like reading on the rug and sitting in the rocker (n = 30)
• You can choose what to do, and who you do it with, and where you do it (n =72)
• It’s fun and makes me happy (n = 70)
• I like reading the books about science and writing stories about science (n = 20)

How would you make the literature program better?


• Add new books and more kinds of books (n = 25)
• Make IRWPs longer and have it every day (n = 34)
• Get more roll movies, puppets, tape stories, etc. (n = 28)

What do you think you are learning during IRWP?


• To read and write better because I practice it a lot (n = 40)
• To read better because my friends help me and I help them (n = 45)
• A lot of new words from reading and writing (n = 20)
• About different kinds of books and authors and illustrators (n = 32)
• How to tell and write stories and poetry that I make up myself (n = 28)
• To understand better what I read (n = 17)
• How to read and write together in groups (n = 22)
• Ways to tell stories with puppets, tape stories, crafts, and others (n = 23)
• More science since we read and write about it in story books in our room (n = 25)

What is regular reading in your classroom like?


• You can only read from one book and they don’t always have good topics (n = 40)
• You have no freedom to choose what you want to do; the teacher tells you (n = 47)
• You have to work at your desk instead of where you want to, like on the rug (n = 22)
• Teachers use workbooks, give tests, ask questions, and check your skills (n = 21)
• It’s not much fun and you feel bad when kids are in higher groups than you (n = 39)
• Regular reading doesn’t make much sense; in IRWPs, you can mix science, reading, and writing and then they are more in-
teresting (n = 15)

How would you make regular reading better?


• Read more stories to the children and let them choose what they want to read (n = 42)
• Do less comprehension checks, less skill checks, use less workbooks (n = 28)
• Let the kids work in groups they choose, give them more freedom (n = 18)
• Have more activities to choose from and make it like IRWP (n = 18)

What are you learning in regular reading?


• How to read better (n = 58)
• How to break words into syllables, vowel sounds, vocabulary, phonics, spelling (n = 30)
• To do worksheets, read flash cards, answer questions, and take tests (n = 52)

Is your teacher the same during regular reading and IRWPs?


• In regular reading she tells you what to do, IRWPs you can decide yourself (n = 35)
• She reads to us a lot more during IRWPs (n = 20)
• She is happier during IRWPs, she yells a lot in regular reading (n = 25)

at desks; (h) use of worksheets; (i) use of experiments; group, followed by the literature-only group, used the
(j) use of movies, demonstrations, and other science ma- least number of worksheets.
terials; (k) cooperative group work; and (l) independent
work. Observation of independent reading and writing activities
In the categories of activities that emerged from We observed periods of independent reading and
observing science lessons, all groups were fairly similar writing in the literature-only program groups and in the
in the amount of independent seat work, cooperative literature/science groups to record the types and fre-
work, demonstrations, movies, experiments, discussion, quency of literacy activities that occurred.
and lectures held. The literature/science group partici- Oral reading. During IRWPs, children chose to
pated the most, the literature-only group was next, and read orally in pairs, in small groups, and alone. They
the control group participated the least in the areas of read books, magazines, and newspapers. Oral reading
use of literature, developing literacy skills, and lessons was sometimes accompanied by manipulatives, such as
occurring in the literacy center. The literature/science feltboard stories and puppets. Oral reading was ob-
Literature in literacy and science instruction 71

served 98 times in 120 observations. The following is a School Bus Inside the Earth (Cole, 1987) orally to each
typical incident. other, they decided to illustrate the main episodes by
Mercedes and Patricia selected the book Bringing making posters for scenes in the story. They each
the Rain to Kapiti Plain (Aardema, 1981) to read, using selected a part of the story they liked best and illustrated
felt figures to illustrate the story. Patricia got the book, it in a poster. They numbered the posters in order to
and Mercedes brought the feltboard and story characters. match the sequence of the story.
Patricia said she would read, and Mercedes agreed to The following example illustrates interpretive com-
place the figures on the board at the right time. Patricia prehension: A group of children had read Sylvester and
read aloud, and Mercedes followed along in the book. the Magic Pebble (Steig, 1969). They made stick puppets
When they finished reading, they discussed that it was to represent the characters and were rehearsing to pre-
good when it finally rained because there was a drought sent it to the class. They discussed voices to use to rep-
in the jungle. resent Sylvester and his mother and father. They gave
Silent reading. Children could decide to read alone one another suggestions for expressions in their voices
silently and sitting close to one another in groups. They for the characters who were happy or sad.
could choose to sit at their desks or curl up on the car- During the observations of literacy activities, it be-
pet in the literacy center. A group of children went to came apparent that children were using science trade
the literacy center to look for books to read. Jovanna books frequently. In 20 of the 98 oral reading episodes,
said, “Hey, you guys, I have an idea. Let’s all read a science books were used; in 25 of the 82 silent reading
book about plants.” She went to the featured plant episodes, science trade books were selected; and in 30
books, which were displayed because plants was the of the 105 writing episodes, topics dealt with science
topic being studied in science, and distributed them to themes being studied in the classroom. In the 115 inci-
group members. “Who wants Miss Harp in The Poison dents where children demonstrated understanding of
Ivy Case? (Lexau, 1983). Phillip took that one. Next she text read, 30 involved the use of science books.
held up A Tree Is Nice (Udry, 1956). Tyshell asked for The treatment rooms, literature/science and litera-
that. The next book was Johnny Appleseed (Moore, ture-only, had all of the featured science books available
1964). Adasha raised his hand, and Jovanna gave that to them. However, in the literature-only rooms, the
one to him. books had not been highlighted by the teachers. Ninety-
There were two left, Discovering Trees (Florian, five percent of the science book selection observed took
1986) and Cherries and Cherry Pits (Williams, 1986). place in the literature/science classrooms. Featuring the
Jovanna said, “Josh, I think you’ll like Discovering Trees, books during science and including literacy activities
and Kendra, you take Cherries and Cherry Pits.” They such as writing in science lessons seemed to transfer into
took their books, found a spot on the rug with a pillow the IRWPs. We had not anticipated such a dramatic dif-
or stuffed animal, and began reading. When they fin- ference between the literature/science and the literature-
ished reading, each took a turn telling about his or her only groups with respect to science book selection.
story. Eighty-two silent reading incidents were recorded
in 120 observations in treatment rooms.
Writing. Children’s literature and the manipulatives
Discussion
such as the roll story box and puppets encouraged writ-
ing. Yassin, Patrick, and Darren decided they wanted to Limitations of the study
write a new episode for the book Space Rock (Buller & This study has several limitations that will be dis-
Schade, 1988). They read the story with their unit about cussed here.
space and decided to think of another adventure. They 1. We used intact classrooms when it was prefer-
wrote the story and when it was finished, they made it able to randomly assign teachers and children to the dif-
into a roll movie to show the class. There were 105 writ- ferent conditions. We were unable to make random as-
ing incidents recorded in the 120 observations of the signments because we were working in a school district
treatment rooms. where they made their own decisions about this.
Comprehension. Children demonstrated under- Although there were a large number of children in the
standing of what they read in activities during IRWPs. investigation, the n was small because the classroom
Most of the time, the comprehension was at the literal was the unit of analysis. Under the circumstances, this
level. There were 120 incidents of children demonstrat- was the correct way to analyze the data, instead of using
ing understanding of texts. Ninety were literal and 30 the child as the unit of analysis. The fact that we had re-
were interpretive. The following incident illustrates literal sults that favored the treatment group with such a small
comprehension. After four children read The Magic n suggests that the intervention was extremely effective.
72 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

2. We were somewhat restricted in implementing In a previous study with a similar treatment, but
the treatment because we were working in a school dis- without the integration of the literature program with a
trict and had to respect the curriculum that was in place. content area such as science, gains were made in many
The intervention put more emphasis on authentic strate- of the same literacy tests used in this investigation; how-
gies for literacy instruction since the administration and ever, there were no statistically significant differences
teachers were more open to and familiar with these between the experimental and control groups on the
changes. The study discussed the impact of the treat- standardized test (Morrow, 1992). In this investigation,
ment not only on literacy measures but on science learn- statistically significant differences did occur, with the
ing as well. Although science instruction is moving to a literature/science group achieving higher scores than the
more hands-on, work-like-a-scientist philosophy, which literature-only group and the control group.
is crucial to good science education, it was not incorpo- It was important to find on tests that were closely
rated in the treatment. This was due to the restraints of associated with the curriculum or the treatment in the
the school district, which was clearly entrenched in the study such as story retelling and rewriting that students
use of textbook and workbook instruction. did better than those in the control group. It is even
The changes that we did make were those that the more important that we found transfer of knowledge
teachers and administration felt comfortable with. when students in the literature/science group scored bet-
Although we were not completely satisfied with the sci- ter than children in the other groups. It appears that the
ence treatment, at least we were making some change integration of literature and language arts activities into
from a total textbook orientation to the use of literature science instruction enhanced performance in the lan-
as an instructional resource and carrying out discussions guage arts more than when the integration into a content
that were open-ended and of a problem-solving nature. area did not exist. Dewey’s (1966) philosophy that inter-
est drives thought as well as problem solving in social
settings could be the reason for these results.
Literacy and science achievement
This study produced support for integrating a Reasons for success of the program
literature-based program into literacy and science in- Consistent with the hypothesis that literature-based
struction at the third-grade level with respect to the de- instruction is motivating, there were indications that stu-
velopment of language arts competencies and knowl- dents in the literature-based groups read more than con-
edge of science. Classrooms using the literature/science trol students read. Consistent with the hypothesis that
program scored significantly higher statistically on all lit- reading of science material would be especially motivat-
eracy measures used in the study. They also produced ed by the integrated literature/science approach, there
higher scores on two of the three science measures. The was evidence that students in the literature/science class-
only measure not showing statistically significant differ- rooms elected to read science on their own more often
ences was the number of science concepts used in the than did students in the literature-only. Since the chil-
science stories. We believed that the literature/science dren in the treatment groups had a great deal of expo-
group would produce strong results in literacy, but the sure to books, we tested their knowledge of book titles
science results show that literacy gains come not at the to determine if the treatment had an effect on use.
cost of science gains, but coupled with them. When the literature/science students were inter-
Comparisons with the literature-only program pro- viewed, their enthusiasm for the approach was apparent;
vide more support for the conclusions reached above. they expressed the belief that the integrated approach
The literature-only program produced higher mean re- made reading and writing more interesting and that the
sults than the control classrooms for all measures except integrated experiences increased their understanding of
the CTBS scores (reading and language), the number of science. One of the most interesting outcomes was that a
science facts used in the science stories, and the science majority of students in the literature/science group re-
textbook test. It is not surprising that the literature-only ported that they liked science, and the majority of literature-
program produced higher literacy means than the con- only and control students reported that they did not like
trol group. What is interesting is that this group per- science. The most common complaint in the latter two
formed better than the control group in the number of conditions was that science instruction was boring, an
narrative science stories written. It appears that they infrequent claim in the literature/science condition.
were able to transform the knowledge gained from the Our literature review suggests that researchers have
narratives written from the literature treatment and ex- found that students find textbook instruction boring and
tend it to writing about science in a narrative mode frustrating and that this type of teaching results in factual
(Langer & Applebee, 1987). knowledge at the expense of stimulating process skills
Literature in literacy and science instruction 73

for learning (Baker & Saul, 1994; Ross, 1994). Our results plementing the literature-based programs to enable the
support these claims as well as those that suggest that children to succeed. In a time when we are concerned
the integration of the language arts and science can have about explicit instruction versus an integrated language
an effect on the development of scientific understanding arts approach, the success of this treatment might be an
and inquiry. Although the results from the literature/sci- indication that a balanced program such as the one used
ence group are encouraging, we must still be concerned in the literature/science and the literature-only groups is
with the reasons for the increased motivation. It must be an important choice to consider.
remembered that intact classrooms were used in this Work is needed to determine qualitative differ-
study and that teachers in the different treatments were ences in the understanding of science concepts learned
aware of the condition they were in. Could there have through literature-based experiences and those acquired
been a novelty effect that might fade with time? Could it by traditional textbook presentations. We hope that the
be that the teachers’ enthusiasm for the new program in- literature-based experience led to concepts being more
spired the children? meaningfully connected with related ideas, but we do
The success of the integrated literature-based pro- not know from the data reported here. We hope that the
gram might also be explained by Bruner’s (1986) sugges- literature/science experiences resulted in students relat-
tion regarding the paradigmatic and narrative modes of ing new science concepts to prior knowledge, but we do
cognitive functioning. He maintains that to ignore either not know that based on the data reported here. We are
of these modes would fail to capture rich diversity of somewhat concerned that the students in the literature/
thought. The treatment in the literature/science group science treatment did not do better than students in the
encouraged both cognitive modes for learning so that other conditions on the one measure in this study tap-
students were able to use rich diverse thoughts on the ping generalizations of the science concepts (e.g., use of
outcome measures. science facts, ideas, and vocabulary in writing stories).
Much remains to be learned about the scientific knowl-
Implications for future research edge acquired in an integrated language arts and science
Although there is a great deal of anecdotal data program relative to the scientific knowledge acquired in
concerning the benefits of integrating literature-based traditional science instruction.
programs in literacy and content areas, there aren’t many Future research must go further than occurred in
experimental studies, especially in content integration. this investigation in its treatment of literature-based sci-
The investigation reported here adds experimentally ence content. For example, there were no hands-on sci-
controlled data to that anecdotal evidence. The out- ence opportunities tied to the literature in this study.
comes produced in this study provide reason for ex- Given the centrality of such experiences in the move-
panded study of integrated science and language arts in- ment for science curriculum reform, there needs to be
struction. Confidence in the approach will increase if it is hard thinking about how much experience can flow
possible to replicate the benefits observed here. from and be articulated with the reading of literature
We need to learn more about the effect of integra- pertaining to science themes.
tion on classroom experiences and students’ perceptions Perhaps the results of this investigation will stimu-
of those experiences. In this study we were able to doc- late others to join us in the exploration of the robustness
ument that the literature-based program reduced the and impact of the integrated approach, providing more
amount of seat-work activities in favor of time in the complete mapping of the strengths and weaknesses of
classroom literacy center, but the analyses did not illumi- integrating literacy and content area instruction. There
nate the interactions that occurred during instruction. It are important questions about the qualities of interaction
would be important to study the interactions during inte- that lead to improved learning (Cazden, 1986; Forman &
grated literature/science instruction in more depth since Cazden, 1985; Slavin, 1983). Is it children explaining ma-
understanding them can possibly address some theoreti- terial to one another? Is it children listening to the expla-
cal issues. nation of others, arriving at joint understandings that
It must be emphasized that it was the combination none would achieve alone?
of literature-based activities with traditional basal reading Detailed analyses of literature-based interactions
and science textbook instruction that was more powerful have the potential to inform us about how students’
than traditional instruction alone. The students in the prior knowledge is used during knowledge construction,
treatment rooms spent less time with traditional instruc- as students discuss, question, and reflect on what they
tion than did students in the control rooms. An impor- read (Jett-Simpson, 1989). Consistent with Vygotsky’s
tant question remaining to be explored is the role that (1978) theory, analyses of academic interactions could
the more traditional explicit instruction played in com- help us better understand the development of thought,
74 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

distributed models of cognition, and cooperative learn- ences (Rev. ed.). Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
ing models of instruction. DEWEY, J. (1966). Democracy and education. New York: The Free
Press.
It is also important to know if a treatment will have DOWD, K. (1991). Storybooks: Stimulating science starters. School
long-term effects. Therefore, future investigations of this Library Media Quarterly, 24, 105–110.
type should consider a longitudinal component. Al- EDELSKY, C., ALTWERGER, B., & FLORES, B. (1991). Whole lan-
though we believe there would probably be some long- guage: What’s the difference? Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
term effects from the treatment used here, we also think EDMONDSON, K.M., & NOVAK, J.D. (1993). Moving from the old
to the new research on reading comprehension instruction. Journal of
that it would need to continue for the effects to be as ev- Research in Science Teaching, 30, 547–559.
ident over time. ELLIOTT, S.N. (1988). Acceptability of behavioral treatments in ed-
Although teachers did have input into this investi- ucational settings. In J.C. Witt, S.N. Elliott, & F.M. Gresham (Eds.),
gation during the in-service training, as they got to know Handbook of behavior therapy in education (pp. 121–150). New York:
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FORMAN, E., & CAZDEN, C.B. (1985). Exploring Vygotskian per-
change. We could not incorporate all of their ideas dur- spectives in education: The cognitive value of peer interaction. In J.
ing the study, since there needed to be conformity in the Wertsch (Ed.), Culture, communication, and cognition: Vygotskian per-
treatment. Because we continued the program as part of spectives (pp. 323–347). Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.
the curriculum after the study ended, we did incorporate GAMBRELL, L.B. (1992). Elementary school literacy instruction:
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school literacy: Critical issues (pp. 227–239). Norwood, MA: Christopher
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GLYNN, S.M., YEANY, R.H., & BRITTON, B.K. (1991). The psychol-
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HEDGES, L.V., & OLKIN, I. (1985). Statistical methods for meta-
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76 READING RESEARCH QUARTERLY January/February/March 1997 32/1

APPENDIX A
Storybooks used for testing

Probed comprehension test


Pretest: Hurd, R. (1980). Under the lemon tree. Boston: Little, Brown.
Posttest: Steig, W. (1986). Brave Irene. Toronto: Collins.
Free recall story retelling test
Pretest: Lobel, A. (1982) Ming Lo moves the mountain. New York: Greenwillow.
Posttest: Brown, M. (1979). Arthur’s eyes. Boston: Little, Brown.
Free-recall story rewriting test
Pretest: Cooney, B. (1985). Miss Rumphius. New York: Puffin.
Posttest: Anderson, H.C. (1985). The nightingale. New York: Harcourt, Brace.