Date of Award

Winter 1-6-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Psychology and Special Education

First Advisor

Laura D. Fredrick, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Daphne greenberg, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Paul Alberto, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Robin Morris, Ph.D.

Abstract

According to the National Center for Education Statistics (2007), 27% of the nation’s 8th grade population scored below the basic reading level in 2006-2007. Reading fluency strategies are a viable practice for improving reading achievement yet seldom are they incorporated into the 8th grade curriculum. To be effective, passages used in reading fluency strategies should be at the students’ instructional reading level (Daly, Persampieri, et al., 2005; Welsch, 2007). However, if increased oral reading fluency gained at the instructional reading level fails to generalize to content-area text that a student is required to read, the gain is not clinically significant, as it does not allow the student access to required reading. Stahl and Heubach (2006) recommended providing instruction in more difficult material while providing a strong degree of support. In this study, four middle school students reading one to two years below grade level received strong support for increasing reading fluency while using their social studies textbook. The intervention package consisted of listening passage preview, repeated reading, phrase-drill error correction, and performance feedback with student charting. Two research questions guided this study: (a) What are the effects of a comprehensive treatment package consisting of commonly utilized strategies for improving oral reading fluency on middle school students’ oral reading fluency using their required grade-level social studies textbooks? and (b) to what extent does performance generalize to required literature textbook passages and passages from CRCT Coach in Science (2002) and CRCT Coach in Social Studies (2002)? A multiple probe across participants design was used to answer these questions. Visual analysis of graphically displayed single-case data revealed that the multicomponent reading intervention positively affected student performance on intervention and generalization passages. The results of this study are promising, and given that reading content-area text is the core of education in middle school, further research is necessary.

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