Improving Reading Comprehension and Social Studies Knowledge in Middle School


This study aimed to determine the efficacy of a content acquisition and reading comprehension treatment implemented by eighth-grade social studies teachers. Teachers taught the same instruction content to both the treatment and comparison classes, but the treatment classes used instructional practices focused on teaching essential words, text as a source for reading and discussion, and team-based learning approaches. Students in the treatment conditions scored statistically higher than students in the comparison conditions on all three outcomes: content acquisition, content reading comprehension, and standardized reading comprehension. Findings demonstrate support for the treatment in improving both knowledge acquisition and reading comprehension within content area instruction.


Vaughn, S., Swanson, E. A., Roberts, G., Wanzek, J., Stillman-Spisak, S. J., Solis, M., & Simmons, D. (2013). Improving reading comprehension and social studies knowledge in middle school. Reading Research Quarterly, 48(1), 77–93. doi:10.1002/rrq.039