Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Help Wanted - Choosing my action research question

 I would love some feedback please:
I work in a residential treatment facility for juvenile offenders.  My kids are court ordered for up to 18 months in this particular facility, and we have a new program where kids can be sentenced for up to 3 years (kid prison really).  I've been here for 11 years, and the first 7 were spent teaching Reading in the Juvenile Detention Center next door.  One of the biggest problems that I see are high school kids reading significantly below grade level.  By significant I mean K-3rd grade reading levels.  This affects their ability to learn in all subjects, and all of these students are behind in all other subjects.   
I've wanted to implement some type of reading intervention program on this campus for some time (can you believe we don't have one?), and this year I asked if we could utilize title 1 funds for an intervention.  I was told that I could work with a tutoring company that was contracted with the district, and was budgeted a specific amount to spend.
 So, here are my possible action research questions.  They are all similar, just worded differently which I feel changes the focus somewhat.

1.  What is the effectiveness of a new in school tutoring program for reading intervention?

2.  How can we effectively increase reading levels in the short amount of time that our students are enrolled?  I know that some of the kids getting the tutoring will be released before the end of the program, so I am going to have students with different amounts of time spent tutoring. I wonder if this will be a problem for the research.

3.  Given the relatively short amount of time that students are enrolled in my school, will the new in school tutoring program for reading intervention be effective at increasing student reading levels?

Of the above 3 questions, which do you think is the best one to use as my research project question?

Or do you have another suggestion?

I would appreciate any feedback!  

Thank you so much!


  1. Christa, questions numbered 1 and 3 seem to focus on the tutoring program while number 2 focuses on the reading levels of the students. So in your decision making, decide whether you are interested in increasing reading levels or the effects of the tutoring program. You can't go wrong with either choice, as they are both really good topics.

  2. Christa,

    I think you got your 2 most important concerns: the effectiveness of the tutoring program and the reading level of the students. I believe that your program will work with the proper planning and support. Perhaps use what they have available to them to enhance their reading. I do not know much about a juvenile center, but if they have access to televisions, request the captions be put on. This is something I strongly suggest to the parents of my students. This will not only force my students to read the captions, but it will also force them to read at a quick speed. Now, in regards to the different reading levels and your students coming and going in between, perhaps separating the students into different reading levels. I know this may sound childish, but when I was growing up, we were on different levels of DISTAR (I believe that is how its spelled). Maybe you should try that reading program or check it out.