A Universal Design for Learning (UDL) based Literature Circle (LC) model: effects on higher-order reading comprehension skills and student engagement in diverse sixth-eighth grade classrooms

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Bendu, Charles Gibao
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Outcomes related to students’ reading comprehension and higher-order critical thinking skills, and students’ academic and intellectual engagement following the implementation of a Three-Block Model of UDL-based literature circles pedagogical model were investigated. Fifty-nine (59) students attending three suburban public middle schools took part in the study. The study adopted a mixed-design approach to data collection and analysis, with quantitative data collected from all students, and qualitative data collected from a purposively selected sub-sample of 24 students (12 in each of treatment and control classes). Intervention and control groups were assessed pre and post for measures of reading comprehension using classroom-based assessments, which were triangulated by qualitative data from pre and post semi-structured student interviews to explore students’ academic and intellectual engagement. Quantitative data were analyzed using repeated measures MANOVA’s to determine treatment effects for both groups while qualitative data were transcribed and analyzed thematically using a case study approach. Quantitative results showed a small but significant increase in reading comprehension outcomes for proficient and typical readers in treatment groups compared to their counterparts in control classes, and showed a significantly greater increase in reading comprehension outcomes for students in treatment classes who are culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) and struggling readers. These findings were corroborated by the qualitative results, which showed that students’ academic and intellectual engagement increased in the treatment classes both for proficient readers and struggling readers.
Three-Block Model, Literature Circles, UDL, Universal Design