Language Teaching Strategies’ Impact on Third-Grade Students’ Reading Outcomes and Reading Interest

Main Article Content

Maile Kasper Krista Uibu Jaan Mikk


Primary school students have difficulties with text comprehension, and therefore support from teachers via proper language teaching strategies is needed. The aim of the study was to determine the impact of language teaching strategies on students’ reading outcomes and reading interest. In the current paper, two reading outcomes – vocabulary knowledge and understanding text – and students’ interest in reading were considered. In the study, 220 Estonian-speaking primary school students and their native language teachers (N = 12) from 12 schools participated. The results revealed that interest in reading, vocabulary knowledge and text comprehension were positively correlated. Path analysis indicated that the strategy of developing reading interest had the strongest impact on both reading outcomes and students’ reading interest. In addition, the strategy of developing vocabulary had a positive effect on students’ vocabulary knowledge. Surprisingly, the strategies of teaching text comprehension and teaching grammar rules had negative effects on students’ reading outcomes and reading interest. The findings emphasise the importance of proper usage of teaching strategies in primary school language lessons.



Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
KASPER, Maile; UIBU, Krista; MIKK, Jaan. Language Teaching Strategies’ Impact on Third-Grade Students’ Reading Outcomes and Reading Interest. International Electronic Journal of Elementary Education, [S.l.], v. 10, n. 5, p. 601-610, july 2018. ISSN 1307-9298. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 20 july 2018.


Applegate, A. J., & Applegate, M. D. (2010). A study of thoughtful literacy and the motivation to read. Reading Teacher, 64(4), 226–234. doi:10.1598/RT.64.4.1
Arbuckle, J. L. (1995). AMOS for Windows Analysis of Moment Structures (Version 3.5) [Computer software]. Chicago: Small Waters Corp.
Becker, M., McElvany, N., & Kortenbruck, M. (2010). Intrinsic and extrinsic reading motivation as predictors of reading literacy: A longitudinal study. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(4), 773–785.
Byrne, B. (2001). Structural equation modeling with AMOS: Basic concepts, applications, and programming. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Cain, K., & Oakhill, J. (2007). Reading comprehension difficulties: Correlates, causes and consequences. In K. Cain & J. Oakhill (Eds.), Children’s comprehension problems in oral and written language: A cognitive perspective (pp. 41–76). New York, London: The Guilford Press.
Cain, K., & Oakhill, J. (2011). Matthew effects in young readers: Reading comprehension and reading experience aid vocabulary development. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 44(5), 431–443. doi:10.1177/0022219411410042
Cambria, J., & Guthrie, J. T. (2010). Motivating and engaging students in reading. The NERA Journal, 46(1), 16–29.
Catts, H., Adlof, S., Hogan, T., & Ellis-Weismer, S. (2005). Are specific language impairment and dyslexia distinct disorders? Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 48, 1378–1396. doi:10.1044/1092-4388(2005/096)
Cohen, L., Manion, L., & Morrison, K. (2007). Research methods in education (6th ed.). London, New York: Routledge.
Eisenschmidt, E. (2011). Teacher education in Estonia. In M. Zuljan, & J. Vogrinc (Eds.), European dimensions of teacher education – similarities and differences (pp. 115−132). Ljubljana: University of Ljubljana.
Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2008). Better learning through structured teaching: A framework for the gradual release of responsibility. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Foorman, B. R., Schatschneider, C., Eakin, M. N., Fletcher, J. M., Moats, L. C., & Francis, D. J. (2006). The impact of instructional practices in Grades 1 and 2 on reading and spelling achievement in high poverty schools. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 31(1), 1–29. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2004.11.003
Gambrell, L. B., Hughes, E. M., Calvert, L., Malloy, J. A., & Igo, B. (2011). Authentic reading, writing, and discussion. The Elementary School Journal, 112(2), 234–258.
Gleason, J. B., & Ratner. N. B. (2009). The development of language (7th ed.). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
Guthrie, J. T., Klauda, S. L., & Ho, A. (2013). Modeling the relationships among reading instruction, motivation, engagement, and achievement for adolescents. Reading Research Quarterly, 48, 9–26. doi: 10.1002/rrq.035
Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., Barbosa, P., Perencevich, K. C., Taboada, A., Davis, M. H., Scafiddi, N. T., & Tonks, S. (2004). Increasing reading comprehension and engagement through concept-oriented reading instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 96(3), 403–423. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.96.3.403
Guthrie, J. T., Wigfield, A., Metsala, J. L., & Cox, K. E. (1999). Motivational and cognitive predictors of text comprehension and reading amount. Scientific Studies of Reading, 3, 231–256.
Hamre, B., & Pianta, R. (2010). Classroom environments and developmental processes: Conceptualization and measurement. In J. Meece & J. Eccles (Eds.), Handbook of research on schools, schooling, and human development (pp. 25–41). New York & London: Routledge.
Hattie, J. (2015). The applicability of visible learning to higher education. Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in Psychology, 1(1), 79–91. doi:10.1037/stl0000021
Hirsch, E. D. (2003). Reading comprehension requires knowledge – of words and the world: Scientific insights into the fourth-grade slump and the nation’s stagnant comprehension scores. American Educator, 27(1), 10–20.
Hu, L., & Bentler, P. (1999). Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structure analysis: Conventional criteria versus new alternatives. Structural Equation Modeling: A Multidisciplinary Journal, 6, 1–55. doi:10.1080/10705519909540118
Hulme, C., & Snowling, M. J. (2015). Learning to read: What we know and what we need to understand better. Child Development Perspectives, 7(1), 1–5. doi:10.1111/cdep.12005
Hutcheson, G. D., & Sofroniou, N. (1999). The multivariate social scientist: An introduction to generalized linear models. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Kaalep, H.-J., & Muischnek, K. (2002). Eesti kirjakeele sagedussõnastik [The Estonian frequency dictionary] Tartu: TÜ kirjastus.
Kerge, K., Puksand, H., Sulkunen, S., & Uusen, A. (2016). Literacy in Estonia, Country Report, Short Version.
Kigel, R. M., McElvany, N., & Becker, M. (2011). Effects of immigrant background on text comprehension, vocabulary, and reading motivation: A longitudinal study. Learning and Instruction, 35, 73–84.
Kikas, E., Soodla, P., Pakarinen, E., & Lerkkanen, M. (2017). Associations between reading skills, interest in reading, and teaching practices in first grade. Scandinavian Journal of Education Research, 1–18. doi:10.1080/00313831.2017.1307272
Kärbla, T., & Uibu, K. (2016). Assessment of the Students' higher level text comprehension skills in basic school. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 5, 31–37.
Lerkkanen, M.-K., Kiuru, N., Pakarinen, E., Viljaranta, J., Poikkeus, A.-M., Rasku-Puttonen, H., … Nurmi, J.-E. (2012). The role of teaching practices in the development of children’s interest in reading and mathematics in kindergarten. Contemporary Educational Psychology, 37, 266–279. doi:10.1016/j.cedpsych.2011.03.004
Marzano, R. J. (2004). A six-step process for teaching vocabulary. In R. J. Marzano (Ed.), Building background knowledge for academic achievement. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
McGeown, S. P., Johnston, R. S., Walker, J., Howatson, K., Stockburn, A., & Dufton, P. (2015). The relationship between young children’s enjoyment of learning to read, reading attitudes, confidence and attainment. Educational Research, 57, 4, 389–402, doi:10.1080/00131881.2015.1091234
McRae, A., & Guthrie, J.T. (2009). Promoting reasons for reading: Teacher practices that impact motivation. In E. H. Hiebert (Ed.), Reading more, reading better (pp. 55-76). New York: Guilford Press.
Mikk, J. (2015) Explaining the difference between PISA 2009 reading scores in Finland and Estonia. Educational Research and Evaluation, 21(4), 324−342. doi: 10.1080/13803611.2015.1062400-
Müürsepp, T. (2017). 2017 Aasta 3. Klassi Eesti Keele Tasemetööst [Results from Estonian National Replacement Tests 2017: Third Grade; in Estonian]. Retrieved from
Nagy, W. E., & Scott, J. A. (2000). Vocabulary processes. In M. L. Kamil, P. Mosenthal, P. D. Pearson, & R. Barr (Eds.), Handbook of reading research (Vol. 3, pp. 269–284). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Oakhill, J., & Cain, K. (2012). The precursors of reading comprehension and word reading in young readers: Evidence from a 4-year longitudinal study. Scientific Studies of Reading, 16, 91–121. doi:10.1080/10888438 .2010.529219
OECD. (2014). Talis 2013 results: An international perspective on teaching and learning, OECD Publishing. doi:10.1787/9789264196261-en
OECD. (2015). PISA 2015 results: Results in focus. PISA, OECD Publishing. Retrieved from
O’Flahavan, J. F., Stein, C., Wiencek, J., & Marks, T. (1992). Interpretive development in peer discussion about literature: An exploration of the teacher’s role. Paper presented at the 42nd Annual Meeting of the National Reading Conference, San Antonio, TX.
Perfetti, C. A., Landi, N., & Oakhill, J. (2005). The acquisition of reading comprehension skill. In M. J. Snowling., & C. Hulme (Eds.), The science of reading: A handbook (pp. 227–247). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Pianta, R. C. (2006). Classroom management and relationships between children and teachers: Implications for research and practice. In C. M. Evertson, & C. S. Weinstein (Eds.), Handbook of classroom management: Research, practice, and contemporary issues (pp. 685–709). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Põhikooli riiklik õppekava. (2011). [The national curriculum for basic schools of Estonia; in Estonian]. Government regulation passed 6th of January 2011.
Retelsdorf, J., Koller, O., & Möller, J. (2011). On the effects of motivation on reading performance growth in secondary school. Learning and Instruction, 21(4), 550–559. doi:10.1016/ j.learninstruc. 2010.11.001
Rockoff, J. E. (2004). The impact of individual teachers on student achievement: Evidence from panel data. The American Economic Review, 94(2), 247-252.
Ruus, V.-R., Henno, I., Eisenschmidt, E., Loogma, K., Noorväli, H., Reiska, P., & Rekkor, S. (2008). Reforms, developments and trends in Estonian education during recent decades. In J. Mikk, M. Veisson., & P. Luik (Eds.), Reforms and innovations in Estonian education (pp. 11−26). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Publishers House.
Saxton, M. (2010). Child language. Acquisition and development. London: Sage Publications.
Sekelj, A., & Rigo, I. (2011). Teaching English grammar in primary school. Tabula, 9, 188–199. doi:UDK 371.3:811.111’36>:373.3
Silva, M., & Cain, K. (2015). The relations between lower and higher level comprehension skills and their role in prediction of early reading comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107(2), 321–331. doi:10.1037/a0037769.supp
Smith, H. P., & Dechant, E. V. (1961). Psychology in teaching reading (2nd print). New York: Englewood Cliffs.
Tang, X., Kikas, E., Pakarinen, E., Lerkkanen, M.-K., Muotka, J., & Nurmi, J.-E. (2017). Profiles of teaching practices and first and third graders’ reading skills in Finland and Estonia. Teaching and Teacher Education, 64, 150−161.
Uibu, K., Kikas, E., & Tropp, K. (2010). Teaching Practices, Their Dynamics, Associations with Self-Reported Knowledge and Students’ Language Achievement. In: Toomela, Aaro (Ed.). Systematic Person-Oriented Study of Child Development in Early Primary School (pp. 47−71). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang Verlag.
Uibu, K., & Männamaa, M. (2014). Õpetamistegevused ja õpilaste tekstimõistmine üleminekul esimesest kooliastmest teise astmesse. [Teaching practices and the students’ text comprehension in transition from first school stage to the second; in Estonian]. Eesti Haridusteaduste Ajakiri, 2 (1), 96−131. doi:10.12697/eha.2014.2.1.05.
Wang, J. H. Y., & Guthrie, J. T. (2004). Modeling the effects of intrinsic motivation, extrinsic motivation, amount of reading, and past reading achievement on text comprehension between US and Chinese students. Reading Research Quarterly, 39, 162–186.
Wigfield, A., Eccles, J. S., Fredricks, J. A., Simpkins, S., Roeser, R. W., & Schiefele, U. (2015). Development of achievement motivation and engagement. In M. E. Lamb., & R. M. Lerner (Eds.), Handbook of child psychology and developmental science (pp. 657–700). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Wigfield, A., Galdstone, J., & Turci, L. (2016). Beyond cognition: Reading motivation and reading comprehension. Child Development Perspective, 10(3), 190–195. doi: 10.1111/cdep.12184
Wigfield, A., & Guthrie, J. T. (1997). Relations of children’s motivation for reading to the amount and breadth of their reading. Journal of Educational Psychology, 89(3), 420–432. doi:10.1037/0022-0663.89.3.420