Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Frances Moroney


The purpose of the study was to investigate the effectiveness of the structured overview when used as a prereading activity with fifth and sixth grade social studies students. The study investigated the effects of the structured overview on the students' ability to answer questions which required recall of factual information, understanding vocabulary concepts and inferences to be drawn. The secondary purpose of the study was to determine if all students benefit similarly from the use of the structured overview.

Both the treatment and control groups consisted of 42 fifth and sixth grade social studies students. Their teachers had indicated whether the students were reading on or above grade level or below grade level. The treatment and control groups were found to be comparable using scores from the Stanford Achievement Test. The students were given a pretest which was researcher designed. The groups were found to have similar amounts of prior knowledge about the content to be studied. The treatment group used structure overviews throughout the unit. Both groups were administered researcher designed post and delayed posttests.

The data was analyzed at the .05 level of significance using a series of t tests. The treatment group scored significantly better on the posttest in recall of factual information, recall of vocabulary, and ability to draw inferences. The treatment group also had better retention of content material as measured by the delayed posttest. An analysis of variance indicated that below grade level readers benefited most from the use of the structured overview.

It was concluded that the structured overview is an effective teaching strategy when used with fifth and sixth grade social studies students. It was found to increase students' comprehension and retention of content materials. It is most effective when used with students reading below grade level.

Suggestions for classroom applications and implications for further research were discussed.