Literacy challenges faced by students using scientific texts
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Student perceptions of science text impact on their ability to read and understand; highly developed literacy skills are needed to understand the complex language, and scientific descriptions.Textbooks play a big role in science education: these include complex text features, such as diagrams, charts, tables etc and offer many distractions for students in understanding the information presented here. The skills are also different from those required to read and understand fiction text.The study investigated students’ perceptions and attitudes of changing text types (fiction to non‐fiction) in their transition to secondary school. It also identified challenges they faced in making meaning of science text. There was also a focus on the impact on student achievement as a result of targeted action with identified student groups around the use of non‐fiction text in the classroom.The findings included higher achievement gains for the targeted groups of students, and improved achievement for students in the study. Students were reported to be engaged more fully in the classroom and enjoying learning science as their skills developed. Students, however, appeared to show more enjoyment in reading fiction compared to non‐fiction text.
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