Improving Reading Comprehension in High School: A Case Study of Action Research Interventions for Struggling Readers


Reading comprehension is crucial for students to understand, analyze, and evaluate written materials. However, many high school students struggle with reading comprehension, negatively impacting their academic performance and future opportunities. This article presents a case study of action research interventions to improve reading comprehension in high school students who struggle with reading.


Reading comprehension is a complex process that involves multiple components, such as vocabulary knowledge, text structure, background knowledge, and reading strategies (National Reading Panel, 2000). Research has shown that struggling readers often need more background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading strategies, which makes it difficult for them to understand and engage with texts (Francis et al., 2019).

High school students who struggle with reading comprehension risk falling behind academically, dropping out of school, and having limited career opportunities (Oakhill et al., 2015). Therefore, finding effective interventions that can improve reading comprehension skills and support struggling readers in achieving academic success is crucial.

Action Research Interventions for Reading Comprehension

Action research involves teachers or other educational professionals systematically investigating and reflecting on their practices to improve student outcomes (Mertler, 2016). Action research interventions can be highly effective in improving reading comprehension skills because they allow educators to tailor interventions to the specific needs of their students and adapt their practices based on ongoing feedback and data analysis.

In this case study, the researcher used action research to design and implement several interventions to improve reading comprehension skills in struggling high school readers. The interventions included:

  1. Vocabulary Instruction: The researcher taught students specific vocabulary words related to a text before reading it and then reinforced the vocabulary during and after reading through teacher-led discussions and activities.
  2. Text Structure Instruction: The researcher explicitly taught students how to identify and analyze the structure of a text, including headings, subheadings, and text features such as tables, graphs, and diagrams.
  3. Reading Strategies Instruction: The researcher taught students various reading strategies such as predicting, questioning, summarizing, and clarifying to support their comprehension of texts. The researcher also modeled and scaffolded these strategies during reading activities.
  4. Feedback and Reflection: The researcher provided ongoing feedback to students on their reading comprehension skills and encouraged them to reflect on their progress and identify strategies that worked best for them.


The action research interventions significantly improved reading comprehension skills for the targeted high school readers. Students showed a statistically significant increase in their scores on comprehension assessments and demonstrated greater engagement and confidence in reading activities. Feedback from students indicated that they appreciated the personalized interventions and felt supported in their efforts to improve their reading comprehension skills.


Reading comprehension is a crucial skill that can significantly impact students’ academic success and long-term opportunities. High school students who struggle with reading comprehension require targeted interventions that address their specific needs and adapt to their ongoing progress. Action research interventions can be an effective way for educators to support struggling readers by tailoring interventions to their needs, analyzing data, and adapting practices based on feedback. Educators can help struggling readers succeed academically and prepare for future opportunities by implementing effective action research interventions.

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