• Comprehension of visual primary sources in social studies by adolescent English language learners

      Coccagnia, Jordan (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2016-05)
      Adolescent English Language Learners (ELLs) in social studies courses face the difficult challenge of making sense of primary sources which are often complex expository texts and embedded in an American culture foreign to many ELLs. One possible method for helping ELLs make sense of complex expository text is with the use of visuals, especially in the form of pictures, film, or graphic organizers. Thus an appropriate research question is, what does research say about the comprehension of visual primary sources in social studies by adolescent ELLs? An exhaustive literature review found 17 related research studies. The synthesis of these studies produced two findings. First is that using a variety of visuals and images in combination with the instructional strategies of direct instruction and interactive conversation appears to assist adolescent ELLs to accomplish several learning goals: activate content background (prior) knowledge, learn discipline-specific vocabulary, and learn discipline-specific content. The second finding is that within the discipline of social studies, adolescent ELLs of all types appear to benefit from teachers using visually focused conversation-based instruction and Internet technologies to facilitate interaction with primary sources, and using multiple forms of historical primary sources (including digitized) to develop students' social studies comprehension through historical thinking, historical imagination, and historical inquiry. These findings are relevant to high school social studies teachers and will be dispersed to them through a professional development project. [from author's abstract]
    • Unveiling words within a picture

      Wells, Lea (State University of New York College at Fredonia, 2017-05)
      The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) for New York State include a set of standards for Reading Informational texts (RI). RI Standard #7 details the requirements for students from preKindergarten to grade 6 related to the reading of expository texts and their visuals. Moving from requiring an understanding of the relationship of pictures to words to the contribution of pictures to a topic requires some visual literacy skills. This capstone project has explored the question of the role of visual literacy when reading pictures in an expository text, and how educators might tap into this role to assist struggling readers. The most appropriate way to answer this question was with a research synthesis. The exhaustive literature review and subsequent synthesis for this study produced three findings. The first is that the role of visual literacy and the reading of graphics changes as grade levels increase, from connecting to a reader's interest and attention in the preKindergarten to grade 1 levels, to inspiring mental imagery or drawing that increases topic comprehension by the grade 10 level, to providing accurate and detailed information in addition to that provided by the words at the collegiate level. The second finding is that students at all grade ranges appear to benefit from direct instruction on reading comprehension strategies that specifically address reading the visuals in an expository text, and the third finding is that direct instruction and implementation of research based reading strategies increase students' comprehension of expository text structure including visuals. [from abstract]