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Learning Strategies

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A Learning Strategy is a person’s approach to learning and using information. Students use Learning Strategies to help them understand information and solve problems. Students who do not know or use good learning strategies often learn passively and ultimately fail in school. Learning Strategy instruction focuses on making students more active learners by teaching them how to learn and how to use what they have learned to be successful.
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Learning
Strategies
A Learning Strategy is a person’s approach to learning and using
information. Students use Learning Strategies to help them understand
information and solve problems. Students who do not know or use good
learning strategies often learn passively and ultimately fail in school.
Learning Strategy instruction focuses on making students more active
learners by teaching them how to learn and how to use what they have
learned to be successful.
No single strategy is a panacea. We have read-
a combination of instructional models involving
ing strategies that help students figure out what a general education teachers and special education
word is, comprehend what they’re reading, acquire teachers, both individually and collaboratively.
vocabulary, and understand the structure of text.
All of these strategies are essential for a well-inte-
grated, balanced reading program. Likewise, an STRATEGIES RELATED TO
array of strategies in other areas is necessary for READING
student success.
The Strategic Instruction Model® Learning Fundamentals oF ParaPhrasing and
Strategies have been successfully field tested with summarizing
students judged to be at risk for academic failure. The Fundamentals of Paraphrasing and Summarizing
Research has demonstrated that consistent, inten-
is designed to teach the fundamental skills students
sive, explicit instruction and support are key ingre-
need to be able to identify and paraphrase main
dients for instructional success. Our research took ideas and details. Fundamentals contains lessons
place in public schools, primarily in middle and on paraphrasing words, phrases, and sentences,
high school settings, and the strategies were field as well as lessons on identifying main ideas and
tested by teachers. We have successfully tested details in paragraphs and short essays.
To learn more about the Strategic Instruction
Model®, contact the University of Kansas
Center for Research on Learning
Joseph R. Pearson Hall
1122 West Campus Road, Room 517
Lawrence, KS 66045-3101
785.864.4780 • 785.864.5728 (fax)
crl@ku.edu • http://kucrl.org
http://kucrl.org/sim
April 2009

inFerence strategy
Word identiFication strategy
The Inference Strategy is a set of procedures read-
The Word Identification Strategy provides a func-
ers can use to comprehend written passages and tional and efficient strategy to help challenged
answer inferential questions (questions that are readers successfully decode and identify unknown
not answered directly in the text). Research results words in their reading materials. The strategy is
showed that students who learned the Inference based on the premise that most words in the Eng-
Strategy improved their ability to make infer-
lish language can be pronounced by identifying
ences and to identify different types of questions. prefixes, suffixes, and stems and by following three
Students performed significantly better on tests—
short syllabication rules. In a research study, stu-
including standardized reading assessments—after dents made an average of 20 errors in a passage
learning the strategy.
of 400 words before learning this strategy. Having
learned the Word Identification Strategy, students
ParaPhrasing strategy
reduced their errors to an average of three per 400
The Paraphrasing Strategy is designed to help stu-
words. Reading comprehension increased from 40
dents focus on the most important information in percent on the pretest to 70 percent on grade-level
a passage. Students read short passages of materi-
passages.
als, identify the main idea and details, and rephrase
the content in their own words. Using grade-level
materials, students performed at a 48 percent com-
Reading Programs
prehension rate before learning the strategy. After
learning the strategy, these students comprehended structure your reading
84 percent of the material.
STRUCTURE Your Reading is a strategic reading
approach that begins as a teaching routine and
selF-Questioning strategy
develops into a strategy. Students learn what they
The Self-Questioning Strategy helps students create need to do before, during, and after reading to
their own motivation for reading. Students create improve their reading comprehension. The pro-
questions in their minds, predict the answers to gram is designed for a variety of implementation
those questions, search for the answers to those scenarios, including collaboration among read-
questions as they read, and paraphrase the answers ing and content teachers and among general and
to themselves. Research results have shown aver-
special educators. We have conducted a variety of
age gains of 40 percentage points in reading com-
studies to test its effectiveness in improving read-
prehension on grade-level materials after students ing comprehension.
have learned the strategy.
Visual imagery strategy
STRATEGIES RELATED TO
The Visual Imagery Strategy is a reading comprehen-
STORING & REMEMBERING
sion strategy for creating mental movies of narra-
INFORMATION
tive passages. Students visualize the scenery, char-
acters, and action and describe the scenes to them-
First-letter mnemonic strategy
selves. Research results showed that students who The FIRST-Letter Mnemonic Strategy is a strategy for
demonstrated a 35 percent comprehension and independently studying large bodies of informa-
recall rate before learning the strategy improved to tion that need to be mastered. Specifically, students
an 86 percent comprehension and recall rate after identify lists of information that are important to
learning the strategy.
learn, generate an appropriate title or label for each
set of information, select a mnemonic device for
each set of information, create study cards, and use
2
The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning • http://kucrl.org

the study cards to learn the information. Research Word maPPing strategy
results showed that students who learned the The Word Mapping Strategy involves breaking
FIRST-Letter Mnemonic Strategy received test grades words into their morphemic parts (prefix, suffix,
that increased from an average of 51 percent to 85 root); attaching meaning to each word part; making
percent.
a prediction about the meaning of the unknown
word based upon the meaning of each part; and
lincs Vocabulary strategy
checking the dictionary for the definition. The mne-
The LINCS Vocabulary Strategy helps students learn monic MAPS helps students learn and remember
the meaning of new vocabulary words using pow-
the names of the steps.
erful memory-enhancement techniques. Strategy
steps cue students to focus on critical elements of
the concept; to use visual imagery, associations STRATEGIES RELATED TO
with prior knowledge, and key-word mnemonic EXPRESSING INFORMATION
devices to create a study card; and to study the card
to enhance comprehension and recall of the con-
error monitoring strategy
cept. Research results showed that in a social stud-
Students use the Error Monitoring Strategy to inde-
ies class in which the LINCs Vocabulary Strategy was pendently detect and correct errors in their written
taught to the students, the students with learning work to increase the overall quality of their final
disabilities performed at a mean of 53 percent in the product. Instruction stresses the importance of
pretest and at a mean of 77 percent correct answers proofreading written work for content and mechan-
after learning the strategy. In the control class in ical errors and eliminating those errors before
which students did not learn the strategy, the mean
percentage of correct answers decreased from the
pretest to the posttest.
Paired associates strategy
The Paired Associates Strategy is designed to help
students learn pairs of informational items, such
as names and events, places and events, or names
and accomplishments. Students identify pairs of
items, create mnemonic devices, create study cards,
and use the study cards to learn the information.
Research has shown that before students learned
this strategy, they correctly answered an average
of only 8 percent of test questions related to paired
information when the paired information was iden-
tified for them. After they mastered the strategy,
they correctly answered an average of 85 percent
of the questions about paired information that was
identified for them. When given reading passages
to study on their own, they answered an average of
22 percent of test questions correctly before instruc-
tion in the strategy versus answering 76 percent
correctly after mastering the strategy.

The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning • http://kucrl.org
3

work is submitted. This strategy also includes the ParagraPh Writing strategy
development of personal strategies to avoid future The Paragraph Writing Strategy is a strategy for
errors. Research results demonstrated that students organizing ideas related to a topic, planning the
who mastered this strategy dramatically increased point of view and verb tense to be used in the para-
their ability to find and correct errors in their writ-
graph, planning the sequence in which ideas will
ten products. Before instruction, they were making be expressed, and writing a variety of topic, detail,
one error in every four words. After instruction, and clincher sentences. The program consists of two
they made only one error in every 20 words.
products: an Instructor’s Manual and a Student Les-
sons Manual. The Instructor’s Manual features a sys-
insPect strategy
tematic sequence of instructional procedures; the
Students use the InSPECT Strategy to detect and Student Lessons Manual features exercises that cor-
correct spelling errors in their documents either respond to the instructional procedures. Research
by using a computerized spellchecker or a hand-
results showed that students earned an average of
held spelling device. Research results showed that 40 percent of the points available when writing a
students corrected 41 percent of the errors in their paragraph on the pretest and an average of 71 per-
compositions before learning the InSPECT Strategy cent of the points available when writing a para-
and corrected 75 percent of the errors in their com-
graph on the posttest.
position after learning the strategy.
theme Writing strategy
sentence Writing strategy
The Theme Writing Strategy focuses on the funda-
The Sentence Writing Strategy program comprises mental skills associated with writing themes and
two parts: Fundamentals in the Sentence Writing Strat-
provides learning sheets to accompany instruc-
egy and Proficiency in the Sentence Writing Strategy. tion. Research studies show the quantity and qual-
Together, these components constitute a strategy ity of students’ expression of information greatly
for recognizing and writing 14 sentence patterns improves as a result of instruction in the Theme
with four types of sentences: simple, compound, Writing Strategy. In one study, although experimen-
complex, and compound-complex. The program tal students earned pretest scores that were signifi-
consists of two products for each part (Fundamentals cantly lower than those of comparison students,
and Proficiency): an Instructor’s Manual and a Student they earned significantly higher scores at the end of
Lessons Manual. The Instructor’s Manual features a the semester. In addition, there were no significant
systematic sequence of instructional procedures; differences between experimental and compari-
the Student Lessons Manual features exercises that son groups’ English 101 grades and overall grade-
correspond to instructional procedures. Research point averages, even though experimental students
results showed that students wrote an average of entered college with poorer skills.
65 percent complete sentences on the pretest and
an average of 88 percent complete sentences on the
posttest.
4
The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning • http://kucrl.org

STRATEGIES RELATED TO
tion they know, write their answer with a specific
DEMONSTRATING COMPETENCE
structure, and revise with edits to create a polished
product.
assignment comPletion strategy
The Assignment Completion Strategy is designed to strategic tutoring
enable students to complete and hand in assign-
Strategic Tutoring describes a new vision of the tutor-
ments on time. The package consists of two books: ing process in which the tutor not only helps the
the Instructor’s Manual, which provides step-by-
student complete and understand the immediate
step instruction for teaching this strategy, and the assignment but also teaches the student the strat-
Quality Quest Planner, a spiral-bound notebook egies required to complete similar tasks indepen-
designed specifically for student use with the strat-
dently in the future. Research results showed that
egy. Each Instructor’s Manual comes with one Qual-
the students in Strategic Tutoring improved their
ity Quest Planner and contains the materials needed achievement test scores in reading comprehension,
to teach the strategy, including blank copies of the written expression, and basic math skills. On aver-
forms used with the planner. The planner con-
age, their grade-level achievement scores increased
tains sufficient forms for recording, scheduling, by 10 months during a four-month instructional
and evaluating assignments for an entire academic period. In contrast, the students in the comparison
year. Performance results in general education group without the Strategic Tutoring instruction
classes showed that the number of students who experienced a mean gain of only 3.5 months during
simply turned in their assignments before learn-
the same period.
ing the Assignment Completion Strategy was 43 per-
cent, with the percentage increasing to 77 percent test-taking strategy
after students learned the strategy. Before learning The Test-Taking Strategy is designed to be used
the strategy, the number of student who did the while taking classroom tests. Students allocate time
assignment correctly was 45 percent. After learning and priority to each section of the test, carefully
the strategy, the number of students who did the read and focus on important elements in the test
assignment correctly increased to 73 percent.
instructions, recall information by accessing mne-
monic devices, systematically and quickly progress
essay test-taking strategy
through a test, make well-informed guesses, check
The Essay Test-Taking Strategy is designed to help their work, and take control of the testing situation.
students deal effectively with the complex test-
The emphasis is on teaching adolescents and adults
taking demands of courses in school as well as the who struggle with learning. In studies, students
essay test-taking demands associated with state who learned the Test-Taking Strategy achieved an
competency tests, including high-stakes tests, and average 10-point increase on tests.
college entrance exams. Students are taught to
analyze the essay question, organize the informa-

The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning • http://kucrl.org
5

STRATEGIES RELATED TO SOCIAL
Research results indicated that students in the
INTERACTION
experimental classes performed a significantly
higher percentage of study behaviors than compar-
slant: a starter strategy For class
ison students in their cooperative study groups at
ParticiPation
the end of the school year. Experimental group pre-
SLANT: A Starter Strategy for Class Participation is a test scores averaged 18 percent with posttest scores
simple, easy-to-teach strategy designed to help stu-
averaging 70 percent. The comparison group pre-
dents learn how to use appropriate posture, track test score average was 27 percent with the posttest
the talker, activate their thinking, and contribute score average 35 percent.
information.
build strategy
Cooperative Thinking Strategies
Students use the BUILD Strategy to work together
think strategy
to resolve a controversial issue. The purpose of the
Students working together in teams use the THINK strategy is to enable students to work together to
Strategy to systematically solve problems. Our make decisions using a process similar to a debate.
research studied the use of this strategy in situa-
Research results showed that the average score for
tions in which school improvement goals targeted students in the experimental group from observa-
problem solving, reasoning, and communicating. tion and products written by students as they dis-
Results showed that the mean percentage of points cussed the issue was 21.4 percent on the pretest and
earned by groups in the study before instruction 80.1 percent after learning the BUILD Strategy. The
was the same for experimental and comparison comparison group, which did not learn the strat-
groups at 34 percent. However, at the end of the egy, scored 15.1 percent on the pretest and 19.6 per-
school year, the mean percentage score for the cent on the posttest.
experimental groups was 84 percent and for the
comparison groups 39 percent.
score skills
SCORE Skills: Social Skills for Cooperative Groups
learn strategy
describes a set of social skills that are fundamental
The LEARN Strategy was designed to enable stu-
to effective groups. Students learn to share ideas,
dents to work in teams to learn together. Each compliment others, offer help or encouragement,
step promotes creative cooperation; students think recommend changes nicely, and exercise self-con-
together to generate ideas to help them learn. trol. Research results showed the mean percentage
of cooperative skills used by students in coopera-
tive groups in class before learning SCORE was 25
percent. The mean percentage increased to 78 per-
cent after learning SCORE. The students in the com-
parison group that had no instruction in SCORE
had average scores of 25 percent and 28 percent for
the cooperative skills they used in the cooperative
groups.
teamWork strategy
The Teamwork Strategy provides a framework for
organizing and completing tasks in small groups.
Students analyze an assignment and divide it into
specific tasks, equitably assign those tasks to indi-
viduals, offer and request help to complete the
6
The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning • http://kucrl.org

individual jobs, ask for and give feedback to other FolloWing instructions together
group members, assemble the individual jobs into Following Instructions Together is designed to teach
one product, and evaluate the process used to com-
students concepts and strategies associated with
plete the project and assess the interpersonal skills following instructions effectively. In a field test
of group members. In field tests, students in experi-
involving 20 elementary teachers and their stu-
mental classes increased their use of cooperative dents, significant differences were found between
skills dramatically, from one-quarter to one-third of students who participated in the Following Instruc-
identified skills to three-quarters of the skills. Some tions Together program (experimental group) and
groups chose not to use the strategy for some tasks. students who did not (comparison group). Experi-
When students used the strategy, cooperative skill mental students answered significantly more ques-
performance was close to 100 percent.
tions correctly about community concepts and
followed complex instructions significantly more
Community Building Series
accurately than comparison students.
In this series, the general goal is to create safe and
supportive learning environments for students organizing together
with disabilities in inclusive classes. This is done Organizing Together can be used to provide instruc-
through teaching students about concepts such as tion in basic strategies associated with keeping
respect and tolerance and providing each student a notebooks, schedules/calendars, desks, lockers/
partner who can provide support during the learn-
cubbies, and backpacks organized. In a field test
ing process.
involving six elementary teachers and their stu-
dents, significant differences were found between
Focusing together
the students who participated in the Organizing
Focusing Together is an instructional program that Together program (experimental group) and those
promotes self-management skills in association who did not. Experimental students answered
with a set of classroom expectations that defines significantly more questions correctly about com-
responsible work habits, respect, and emotional munity concepts, they understood and could more
and physical safety. Students learn how to live by accurately use a weekly calendar, and their note-
a set of learning community expectations; how books, desks, backpacks, and lockers were signifi-
their choice of whether or not to abide by those cantly more organized than those of comparison
expectations affects their personal power; and how students.
to follow a self-management strategy for staying
on task when they must work independently or taking notes together
in small groups. In research studies, students in Taking Notes Together is a program that can be
experimental classes reduced the number of off-
used to teach students a simple strategy for taking
task behaviors during the time they were expected notes in response to a variety of stimuli, includ-
to work independently (from a mean of 21 to a ing lectures, demonstrations, movies/videotapes,
mean of 4.5 per 45-minute period; comparison class and reading assignments. In a field test involving
means were 21.9 and 18.3). Students in experimen-
12 teachers and their elementary students, sig-
tal classes were more pleased with the classroom nificant differences were found between students
management procedures used by their teachers. who participated in the Taking Notes Together pro-
Teachers in experimental classes reported a 72 gram (experimental group) and students who did
percent reduction of rule infractions, while com-
not (comparison group). Experimental students
parison teachers reported no change. Teachers in answered significantly more questions correctly
experimental classes also were more satisfied with about community concepts, and they understood
the program and their students’ behavior.
and could more accurately and comprehensively
take notes related to lectures, reading assignments,

The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning • http://kucrl.org
7

videotapes, and demonstrations than comparison identification. In one study, at the end of six years,
students.
the students in the Possible Selves group had earned
higher grade-point averages than the students in
talking together
other groups.
Talking Together is an instructional program
designed for introducing the concept of learning
community to students and for teaching them how STRATEGIES RELATED TO MATH
to participate respectfully in class discussions. In a
research study involving 20 teachers and 377 stu-
strategic math series
dents, results showed that students in experimen-
The Strategic Math Series focuses on how to teach
tal classes that had participated in Talking Together basic math facts and operations to students of
lessons knew significantly more about how to any age. Content is built upon the concrete-repre-
create a classroom community, participated more sentational-abstract method of instruction. In this
frequently, and engaged in fewer behaviors that approach, understanding of mathematics is devel-
would disrupt a discussion than the comparison oped through the use of concrete objects, represen-
classes.
tational drawings, and an easy-to-learn strategy
that turns all students into active problem solvers.
The series includes Addition Facts 0 to 9, Addition
STRATEGIES RELATED TO
Facts 10 to 18, Subtraction Facts 0 to 9, Subtraction
MOTIVATION
Facts 10 to 18, Multiplication Facts 0 to 81, Division
Facts 0 to 81, and Place Value.
selF-adVocacy strategy
Students use the Self-Advocacy Strategy when pre-
About KU-CRL
paring for and participating in any type of confer-
From our beginning in 1978 as the Institute for Research
ence, including education and transition planning in Learning Disabilities, we have grown to encompass six
conferences (IEP or ITP conferences). Strategy steps research institutes and multiple lines of research.
provide a way of getting organized before a con-
ference and provide effective communication tech-
adVanced learning technologies in education
consortium (altec)
niques to use during the conference. When students http://altec.org
learned the Self-Advocacy Strategy, 86 percent of the
goals they most valued were found in their IEPs. diVision oF adult studies (das)
Students who had not learned the Self-Advocacy http://das.kucrl.org
Strategy had only 13 percent of their desired goals
in their IEPs.
e-learning design laboratory
http://elearndesign.org
Possible selVes
institute For research on adolescent learning
Possible Selves is designed to increase student moti-
http://iral.kucrl.org
vation by having students examine their futures
and think about goals that are important to them. kansas coaching Project
Students think about and describe their hoped-
http://instructionalcoach.org
for possible selves, expected possible selves, and ProFessional deVeloPment research institute
feared possible selves. They set goals, create plans, http://pdri.kucrl.org
and work toward their goals as part of this pro-
gram. In research studies, students in the Possible
Selves condition scored significantly higher than
students in the control group on measures of goal
Joseph R. Pearson Hall 1122 West Campus Road, Room 521 Lawrence, KS 66045-3101
© 2009 The University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning

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