Date of Award

Spring 5-2016

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education

First Advisor

Stacy Reeves

Advisor Department

Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education


Generally speaking, low-income students fall behind their peers when it comes to reading and comprehension. Comprehension is a necessary tool for success, both in school and beyond, and must be taught effectively to these struggling students (Beirne, & Velsor, 2012). Studies have shown the benefit of student discussion and utilization of peer reading strategies in the fostering of comprehension. This study will compare students’ success after reading passages using two peer reading comprehension strategies: Paragraph Shrinking (a component of Peer-Assisted Learning) and Reciprocal Teaching. There are many questions to explore: After using both strategies, does either one encourage greater independent reading comprehension success, or is there no difference after using these strategies? Do both improve, or not improve, reading comprehension as measured by baseline scores? To explore these questions, the researcher will work with a specifically selected population of third grade students who have been identified as low-income based on their residence in government funded housing and participation in free and reduced lunch programs. The researcher will specifically focus on the students’ reading comprehension in the area of non-fiction texts, and after a baseline is established, a comparison model, using pre- and post- evaluations, will be used to show the results in varying degrees of students’ performance with each strategy. Generalizations for this population of students will be described. The final conclusions of this study will be presented to the Honors College for completion of an Honors Thesis; additionally, this information will be disseminated to the parents, guardians, and students in the study group. It will also be presented at conferences in the field of education and research.