Preservice teachers' attitudes, familiarity, use, and perceived applicability of content area reading strategies
The influence of field based-experiences in K-12 classroom and grade level licensure area on preservice teachers' attitudes, familiarity, use, and perceived applicability of content area reading instruction was examined for 597 participants from three state-supported universities in a southeastern state in the United States. These participants who were seeking either K-6 or 7-12 licensures represented three levels of field-based classroom experience: (a) no field-based experience, (b) some non-sustained field-based experience, and (c) a full-semester of field-based experience. Data were collected using a demographic questionnaire and two instruments, the Attitudes toward Content Area Reading (ATCAR) questionnaire and the Content Area Reading Strategies (CARS) questionnaire. A mulitvariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) statistical procedure was used to investigate differences in preservice teachers' attitudes, familiarity, use, and perceived applicability of content area reading instruction. Comparisons were made among groups defined on their level of K-12 classroom field experience and the grade level licensure sought. Analysis of the data showed statistically significant differences between experience groups in preservice teachers' attitudes toward content area reading instruction and reported familiarity and use of specific content area reading strategies. There was no statistically significant difference in perceived applicability of strategies used in teaching reading in content areas. Comparisons of elementary and secondary teachers' attitudes toward integrating reading instruction into content areas revealed a statistically significant difference, reflecting that elementary teachers tended to possess a more positive attitude. Quantitative analysis of data suggests preservice teachers across experience groups and licensure areas remain neutral in overall attitude toward integrating reading into content areas. Close examination of the data showed that courses in teacher education programs increased preservice teachers' attitude in a more positive direction and increased their overall knowledge of content area reading instruction, but after completing a full semester of teacher candidacy preservice teachers' attitudes and reported familiarity, use, and applicability of content area reading regressed slightly.