The Impact of a Structured Reading Curriculum and Repeated Reading on the Performance of Junior High Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders
Strong, Amanda C., Wehby, Joseph H., Falk, Katherine B., Lane, Kathleen L., School Psychology Review
Abstract. Students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) frequently exhibit academic deficits alongside their behavioral deficits, particularly in the area of reading; however, there are very few studies examining ways to address the reading problems of this population of students at the middle and high school level. This study examined the effect of a repeated reading intervention in conjunction with an empirically valid reading program on the reading fluency of junior high students identified with E/BD. First, the teacher implemented the Corrective Reading curriculum on a classwide basis. Next, a multiple baseline design across student groups was used to evaluate the impact of a repeated reading intervention on various fluency measures. Data showed increased reading fluency following the implementation of the repeated reading intervention. Limitations and future directions are discussed.
The academic deficits exhibited by students with emotional and behavioral disorders (E/BD) are well documented in research literature (Coutinho, 1986; Epstein, Kinder, & Bursuck, 1989; Foley & Epstein, 1992; Ruhl & Berlinghoff, 1992). As outlined in the federal definition of emotional disturbance, students with this disorder demonstrate an inability to learn and, as a result, pose instructional challenges alongside the behavioral problems that they exhibit in the school environment. Many of these students require intensive instruction to maintain the academic skills they have been taught and to improve their academic deficits (Epstein et al., 1989). For many students with E/BD, achievement problems are particularly troublesome in the area of reading (Maughan, Pickles, Hagell, Rutter, & Yule, 1996; McMichael, 1979; Richmond & Blagg, 1985; Stanton, Feehan, McGee, & Silva, 1990). Unfortunately, there has been very little published research in the area of reading instruction with this population of students. In their review of reading interventions in the area of E/BD, Coleman and Vaughn (2000) identified only eight published studies that reported the results of reading interventions for students with E/BD. The majority of these studies were conducted with students younger than 12 years of age.
The need for additional research in the area of reading instruction is particularly true for adolescents with E/BD. The reading failure of secondary students with behavioral problems has been consistently documented (Coutinho, 1986) and, as reported in the findings from the National Longitudinal Transition Study (Malmgren, Edgar, & Neel, 1998; Wagner, D'Amico, Marder, Newman, & Blackorby, 1992), these reading deficits likely contribute to the dismal outcomes for these students such as high dropout rates, grade retention, and overall poor achievement. In addition, the absence of empirically derived reading practices for older students with E/BD is particularly problematic given the current emphasis on achieving state curriculum standards and participating in content-area learning (Deshler et al., 2001).
As noted earlier, students identified with E/BD typically show significant deficits in the area of reading. This is particularly true for secondary-age students with this condition. In a recently completed study (Wehby, Lunsford, & Phy, 2004), 21 high school students with E/BD were compared to a sample of typically developing students, matching on the grade-level reading ability of the high school students. Given the reading deficits of the high school students, the matched sample consisted of students in second through sixth grade. Results showed that the secondary group of students with E/BD performed significantly lower on word attack skills, reading fluency and accuracy, and overall reading rate. In a related study, Lane, Wehby, Little, and Cooley (2004) reported that students with E/BD educated in a self-contained school scored significantly lower on a variety of academic measures, including reading, when compared to a similar sample of students with E/BD who were placed in self-contained classrooms located on general education campuses. From these data, it appears that older students with E/BD and those placed in restrictive settings have a history of academic failure associated with their existing instructional programs. As a result, studies are needed that document the responsiveness of this population to intense, instructional procedures using empirically validated techniques.
Although researchers are aware of the reading failure that secondary students with E/BD frequently experience, the empirical research on how to intervene effectively to improve the reading deficits exhibited by these students is sparse. The studies that do exist have utilized interventions that range from single component programs that focus on a particular skill level (Schloss et al., 1995; Skinner & Shapiro, 1989) to more comprehensive reading curricula (Malmgren & Leone, 2000; Simpson, Swanson, & Kunkel, 1992). Even though some positive results have been reported, a number of methodological limitations inhibit the ability to make generalized statements about reading instruction for secondary students with E/BD. Thus, although suggestions for improving the reading performance of younger elementary-aged students with E/BD have been developed (Coleman & Vaughn, 2000; Levy & Chard, 2001), a specific set of guidelines does not exist for these students in junior high or high school settings.
Although there is limited work in the area of reading instruction for older students with E/BD, there is some evidence that students with high incidence disabilities do respond to explicit reading programs. Corrective Reading (CR; Engelmann et al., 1999) is a comprehensive reading program specifically designed for students in upper elementary school, middle school, and high school who have deficits in reading recognition and comprehension. Based on the principles of Direct Instruction (Becker & Carnine, 1980), this program provides an instructional script that enables teachers with varying degrees of experience to direct the lessons consistently and with higher integrity (Harris, Marchand-Martella, & Martella, 2000). Corrective Reading has demonstrated efficacy in increasing the reading achievement of adolescent students both with reading deficits and with identified disabilities such as emotional disturbance and learning disabilities (Harris et al.; Malmgren & Leone, 2000; Marchand-Martella, Martella, Orlob, & Ebey, 2000; Polloway, Epstein, Polloway, Parron, & Ball, 1986). In one such study (Malmgren & Leone, 2000), Corrective Reading was implemented as a significant component of an intensive 6-week reading intervention with a group of 45 incarcerated adolescents with reading deficits. Analysis of the results of pre- and posttest standardized assessments revealed that significant gains were noted in the areas of oral reading rate, accuracy of oral reading, and rate and accuracy of oral reading combined. No marked improvement was exhibited on the comprehension subtest, indicating that more intervention time may have been warranted to effect change in this particular area. Nonetheless, this study demonstrated the efficacy of Corrective Reading in increasing the reading fluency of older students with reading problems.
Although older students with E/BD exhibit a range of reading problems, a hallmark characteristic of poor readers is the inability to read text fluently. As noted in National Reading Panel Report (2000), fluency is a key component in the effort to improve reading achievement. Meyer and Felton (1999) noted the need for fluency training alongside decoding and word identification training for poor readers. Specifically, reading fluency influences overall reading ability in several important ways. First, increasing the speed and accuracy with which a person reads affects how well he or she is able to comprehend the text (Dowhower, 1987; Marston, 1989; Meyer & Felton; Shinn, Good, Knutson, Tilly, & Collins, 1992). When poor readers expend most of their energy and attention on decoding individual words, they often have trouble remembering what they have read and the meaning of the text gets lost in the process (Homan, Klesius, & Hite, 1993; National Reading Panel). As such, increased fluency is necessary for readers to focus on reading for meaning. In particular, several studies have documented the correlation between increases in fluency and reading comprehension in students with learning disabilities (Levy, Abello, & Lysynchuk, 1997; Mathes, Simmons, & Davis, 1992; Young & Bowers, 1995). Second, reading fluency can affect a student's motivation to read (Mathes et al.; Neef, Shade, & Miller, 1994; Skinner, 1998). The greater the difficulty a student experiences with reading more quickly and accurately, the more likely that student is to lose the motivation to read, resulting in fewer reading opportunities for these students when compared with their grade level peers (Perfetti, 1992). Unfortunately, exposure to a single standard reading curriculum may not be sufficient to address the significant deficits that students with E/BD exhibit.
Although the research base on improving the reading fluency of students with E/BD is limited, there has been some research in this area. These studies incorporated a variety of reading fluency interventions from using a taped-word intervention to improve sight word reading (Shapiro & McCurdy, 1989; Skinner & Shapiro, 1989) to the use of peer tutors in teaching students to read fluently (Shisler, Top, & Osguthorpe, 1986). Two of these studies investigated the effect of previewing on oral reading performance (Rose, 1984; Skinner, Cooper, & Cole, 1997), and another implemented a repeated reading intervention to improve reading fluency (Scott & Shearer-Lingo, 2002). Skinner, Smith, and McLean (1994) investigated the effect of an immediate and delayed time interval to increase speed in word reading. Collectively, the results from these studies revealed that students were able to read more words correctly per minute as a result of the various interventions.
One intervention that has been found effective in improving the reading fluency of students with and without disabilities is repeated reading (Chard, Vaughn, & Tyler, 2002; Kuhn & Stahl, 2003; Samuels, 1979, 1988). Repeated reading is the rereading of "a short, meaningful passage several times until a satisfactory level of fluency is reached" (Samuels, 1979, p. 404). Since its development, repeated reading has been investigated by many researchers using variations from the original definition to …
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Publication information: Article title: The Impact of a Structured Reading Curriculum and Repeated Reading on the Performance of Junior High Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders. Contributors: Strong, Amanda C. - Author, Wehby, Joseph H. - Author, Falk, Katherine B. - Author, Lane, Kathleen L. - Author. Journal title: School Psychology Review. Volume: 33. Issue: 4 Publication date: Fall 2004. Page number: 561+. © 2002 School Psychology Review. COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group.
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