Use of Precorrection Strategies to Enhance Reading Performance of Students with Learning and Behavior Problems

Article excerpt

This study investigates the effectiveness of a precorrection procedure in teaching decoding skills to students with learning and behavior problems. Six students with learning and behavior problems from a public school in southeast Alabama participated in the study. A multiple-baseline single subject research method was used. In the baseline phase, Direct Instruction (DI) was the primary teaching method. In the treatment phase, precorrection was added to evaluate the effects of precorrection on accuracy in reading on acquisition, retention, and on-task behavior. Experimentation lasted for 21 days. The results indicate that using precorrection as an intervention improves students' accuracy in reading sounds and words, and increases on-task behavior. The investigators recommended further studies using greater numbers of students over longer periods of time.

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Students who have early reading problems are likely to continue experiencing reading difficulties as well as face other academic challenges as they move through the school years. Chard and Kameenui (2000), for example, stated that children who are poor in reading skills in first-grade have an approximately 90% chance of remaining poor readers after 3-years of schooling. In addition, Slavin, Karweit, Wasik, Madden and Dolan (1994) demonstrated that if students are poor readers at the end of third-grade, their likelihood of successfully finishing high school is significantly decreased. In an analysis of 30 years of research on how children learn to read, Grossen (1997) found that early and explicit reading instruction is critical to children's learning and their difficulties become persistent and long lasting if their reading disabilities are not remediated early. Because of early failure, poor readers also develop a dislike of reading and gradually read much less than skilled readers. Early, intensive and remedial reading instruction, therefore, is necessary to assist at-risk beginning readers as they work toward mastering the skill of reading (Rabren, 1994).

The beginning reading stage refers to "the period when students are learning to decode the first several hundred words presented in the classroom program" (Carnine, Silbert, & Kameenui, 1997, p. 54). After conducting a comprehensive and technical synthesis of a multi-disciplinary review of beginning reading research, Adams (1990) argued that phonics is a key element in beginning reading instruction for all students. In addition, Adams found that children' s knowledge of letters of the alphabet and their ability to distinguish phonemes (i.e. letter sounds) are reasonably accurate predictors of students' first-year reading performance. Through her analysis, Adams also concluded that reading methods, including phonics instruction on isolated letter sounds and blending sounds into words, result in higher first-grade achievement in word recognition and spelling. Early phonemic training benefits were examined in a study with 90 kindergarteners (Ball & Blachman, 1991). The children were divided into three groups: (a) a phonemic awareness group, who received instruction in segmenting phonemes and in letter-name and letter-sound correspondence; (b) a language activities group, who were provided instruction in various language activities and letter-name and letter sound correspondence; and (c) a control group who received no intervention. The phoneme awareness group performed significantly higher than the language activities group and the control group on a phoneme segmentation posttest. There was no significant difference, however, on phoneme awareness between the language activities group and the control group. These results suggest that specific training in phonemic awareness has a positive effect on early reading development

A more recent study examined the effects of phonological skill development and letter knowledge of at-risk kindergarteners. …