When Script meets Innovation: The impact on the acquisition of reading comprehension strategies of teacher experimentation with America’s Choice in Boston
Sarah Meacham

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Harvard University

Primary Discipline

Literacy and/or English/Language Education
This study will analyze teacher decision-making around the planning of reading comprehension activities in middle school classrooms in Boston that have begun adopting the America’s Choice English Language Arts curriculum. Ethnographic research will document how classroom activities that result from these decisions relate to the socialization of reading comprehension strategies. Hence this study will produce general knowledge about the impact of instructional conditions on reading comprehension with two goals: a) to correlate discrete classroom activities with greater natural use of comprehension strategies (e.g. predicting, clarifying, and critical thinking), construal of meaning, and engagement with text, and b) to define these effective activities – their affective, grammatical, spatial and temporal structures – and their emergence and development over the school year. The routine integration of language, space, time, and artifacts will be analyzed as poetic structures that support certain orientations toward text and routes into comprehension. An important further goal of the study is to highlight the inevitable role of teacher innovation even within a scripted program and to codify the successful adaptations teachers make. Innovated activities will be compared with activities that remain closer to the America’s Choice script in the way they correlate with students’ natural use of comprehension strategies and affective engagement with text. This will provide valuable information for the district about how to make the program more situated and responsive.
About Sarah Meacham

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