Effects of using thinking before, while and after reading strategy with digital text annotation on science comprehension of students with autism
Howorth, Sarah Katherine
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When reading science text, children need to be able to infer connections that may not be explicit. Presenting text in digital format with annotation supports relieves some of the cognitive load that may hinder the inferential comprehension of texts for students with comprehension deficits, however it must be included in a pedagogical framework of cognitive strategy use. Science texts are particularly difficult, as the content may not be within the knowledge repertoire of a reader. In addition, many schools are implementing e-texts and digital tablets as part of instruction. Little is known about how these interfaces affect the understanding of what students with autism spectrum disorder read. Research indicates it may serve a scaffolding role for students with reading comprehension deficits by providing cognitive strategy supports not available in paper-based formats. A pilot research study indicated a functional relationship between the one to one instruction in Thinking before, While and After reading (TWA) strategy use and expository reading comprehension for student with high functioning autism spectrum disorder. However, the strategy is not practical unless feasible in a classroom setting. The purpose of this study was to teach the TWA strategy to students with high functioning autism spectrum disorder in grades six through the use of digital text and annotation software, as a means of making the curriculum more accessible to students who may not be able to mark up grade level paper-based textbooks or authentic science text used in the classroom. When used in this way, the TWA strategy in a digital form provides a learning tool that serves as an accommodation that allows greater access to the curriculum for this population.