A Comparison of Multiple-Strategy Methods: Effects on Fourth-Grade Students’ General and Content-Specific Reading Comprehension and Vocabulary Development


In this study, authors compared the effects of two experimental multiple-strategy approaches (content-area comprehension and vocabulary) to typical fourth-grade social studies instructional practices. An 18-week, cluster-randomized study was conducted to estimate effects measured by normative-referenced reading comprehension and vocabulary measures and researcher- and district-developed measures of social studies vocabulary and content. Forty-eight teachers and their respective 903 students from 15 schools were randomly assigned by school to one of three conditions: content vocabulary, content reading comprehension, or typical practice. Experimental teachers participated in 6 professional development sessions over 21 weeks. Structural equation modeling results indicated reliable differences favoring both experimental conditions over typical practice on the social studies content measure and substantively important effects on content and standardized vocabulary measures. Students in the vocabulary intervention also outperformed typical practice peers on the curriculum-based vocabulary assessment. Effects of the comprehension and vocabulary conditions were comparable except for the significant effect of vocabulary on the curriculum-based vocabulary measure. Effect sizes for teaching quality on the standardized comprehension measure ranged from d = 0.26 to 0.32; however, these effects were not statistically significant.


Simmons, D., Hairrell, A., Edmonds, M., Vaughn, S., Larsen, R., Willson, V., . . . Byrns, G. (2010). A comparison of multiple-strategy methods: Effects on fourth-grade students’ general and content-specific reading comprehension and vocabulary development. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3(2), 121–156. doi:10.1080/19345741003596890