Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Reading Comprehension and Fluency: Examining the Effects of Tutoring and Video Self-Modeling on First-Grade Students with Reading Difficulties

Academic journal article Learning Disability Quarterly

Reading Comprehension and Fluency: Examining the Effects of Tutoring and Video Self-Modeling on First-Grade Students with Reading Difficulties

Article excerpt

Abstract. The need for research-based instructional support for culturally and linguistically diverse students with reading difficulties is a national priority. In this rural Hawaii study, teachers and parents selected four first-grade students who were experiencing delays in reading fluency and comprehension skills to receive tutoring and video self-modeling interventions. Two students were identified as having specific learning disabilities, one as being developmentally delayed, and one was in the process of being referred for special education. Community partners were trained to provide tutoring with the 25-step ACE reading protocol. Two 2-minute self-modeling videotapes were constructed: the first depicted the student fluently reading a passage; the second showed the student applying a story map and successfully answering comprehension questions. A multiple-baseline design across two behaviors (reading fluency and comprehension) was used to observe the effect of each intervention on reading fluency and comprehension skills. Reading fluency, measured in number of correct words per minute, doubled for three students and quadrupled for the fourth by the end of eight weeks. Reading comprehension, measured in number of correct responses, reached pre-established criteria. Viewing the self-modeling videotapes was associated with reduced variability and maintenance of increased performance. Follow-up indicated that gains maintained for six months. Teachers and parents reported generalization to classroom and home.


Teaching an increasingly diverse population of children to read is a national priority (Reading First, 2002). According to the National Research Council (1998), over 40% of fourth- and eighth-grade students were not able to read well enough to perform assignments at grade level. Failure to acquire literacy skills in the early elementary grades has devastating consequences, including poor academic outcomes, increased problem behaviors, higher probability of dropping out of school, limited employment opportunities, and a greater likelihood of living in poverty (National Institute for Literacy, 1997).

Being a member of a cultural or linguistic minority group dramatically increases the probability of a student having difficulty learning to read (National Center for Education Statistics, 2003). Thus, culturally and linguistically diverse students are more likely to be referred and classified as having learning disabilities (Artiles & Trent, 1994; Council for Exceptional Children [CEC], 2000). In the state of Hawaii, where students represent a collection of minority cultures, literacy outcomes follow the national pattern. That is, students from Native Hawaiian and Filipino minorities are more likely than other groups to have SAT test scores within the lower range. Of students receiving special education services, 34% are of Hawaiian ancestry, although this ethnicity comprises only 25% of the public school population (Hawaii Department of Education, 1997, 2004).

Community Partners as Tutors

Supplemental instruction provided by an instructional assistant has been successful in increasing decoding skills in early elementary students (Gunn, Biglan, Smolkowski, & Ary, 2000). Research studies have also documented the effectiveness of tutoring by an adult or community partner to increase reading fluency and comprehension skills (Dowrick et al., 2001; Jenkins, Vadasy, Firebaugh, & Profilet, 2000). The instructional dialogue may facilitate the student's understanding of the content of reading materials and is likely to include similar interaction styles and language (Au & Mason, 1983; Tepper, 1992). Further, community tutors provide links between the home, community, and school, thus promoting family involvement with a child's academic progress (Deslandes, Royer, Potvin, & LeClerc, 2000).

Sociocultural cognitive theory provided a model for both interventions in this study: tutoring and video self-modeling. …

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