Texas A&M researcher develops method to improve students reading skills

The KAT method has a proven record of helping students improve on the STAAR test.
Published: Aug. 4, 2021 at 11:49 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - Kay Wijekumar is the Director at the Center for Urban Schools Partnerships and Principal Investigator for the KAT method at Texas A&M University. she developed the “Knowledge Acquisition Transformation Framework” otherwise known as KAT method to help students improve critical reading skills.

“Many children struggle with simple things like main ideas, and summarization, and inferencing, which is actually the cause of their reading comprehension problems as evidence by the state standard and even the national testing that we do on reading,” said Wijekumar. “It doesn’t have to be that way.”

Knowledge Acquisition Transformation Framework
Knowledge Acquisition Transformation Framework(Kay Wijekumar)

In order to improve reading skills for students, Wijekumar developed the KAT method in both English and Spanish.

Boiled down, the KAT method works by asking students a series of questions and engaging them in discussions about what they read. The method is practiced daily for about fifteen minutes.

“When we show students how to use our method, to extract meaning from what they read, they actually get better at reading comprehension,” said Wijekumar.

See the below video of the KAT method in use.

Wijekumar and her team have been working with educators across the state to implement the free tool in classrooms, and already schools are seeing an impact.

On the STAAR test Wiejkumar said schools saw the following results after using the method:

  • 100% pass rates for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students in classrooms with high fidelity implementation.
  • 100% pass rates for Special Education 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students in classrooms with high fidelity implementation.
  • 56% Mastery Scores in reading for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade Special Education students.

Funding from grants from the U.S. Department of Education is helping her continue the work in the classroom.

Through this funding, she is able to work with students who are economically disadvantaged.

However, the method doesn’t just have to stay in the classroom.

Parents and community members can use it at home when working with children. Wijekumar meets with organizations like Rotary clubs and shows them how they can use it to promote comprehension in the community.

On Sept. 15, a free podcast will be released for students to use at home with their families to practice the method.

Families can register by clicking here.

Teachers can also gain resources from the above website, too.

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