Date of Award


Document Type

Action Research Project

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Education


Education, Montessori

First Advisor

Amanda Perna


Montessori Elementary Education, Elementary Education


Schema is a framework that helps us organize and interpret information. Developing schema is essential in the comprehension of text. Strong readers can make sense of what they read by seeing how it fits with what they already know. Teachers must help students make connections before, during, and after reading.

Without schema students are unable to infer because making inferences involves creating meaning that is not explicitly stated by the author. Readers use clues in the text plus their personal insights and experiences to make meaning of the text (Roit, 2014). My school is a Title 1 school with a high level of poverty. Typically impoverished have limited background knowledge due to limited vocabulary and life experiences (Payne, 2015). Students must be taught to activate schema to help make meaning from text. Explicitly teaching students both the term schema to facilitate metacognition and helping them focus on specific stimulus will help students in poverty to be ready to proceed to the elaboration stage, also known as inferencing (Payne, 2015).

There has been limited research on schema in isolation to reading comprehension. Although a lack of background knowledge affects reading success, many teachers have little support or understanding of lessons that focus on building schema. Teacher instruction does little to help students learn how or when to use the skills, nor was it ever established that this specific set of skills enabled comprehension (Appel, 2009). By exploring lessons in isolation to the schema framework teachers will be able to help students with a limited vocabulary interpret a text in a more meaningful way.