Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Improving Student Reading through Parents' Implementation of a Structured Reading Program

Academic journal article School Psychology Review

Improving Student Reading through Parents' Implementation of a Structured Reading Program

Article excerpt

Abstract. Parent tutoring offers potential as a means for assisting the large percentage of students who need to improve their reading skills. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the impact of a reading fluency intervention program when used by parents in the home during the summer months. Specifically, this study evaluated the effects of the Helping Early Literacy with Practice Strategies (HELPS) Program when implemented by parents with struggling readers. By use of a one-group pretest--posttest quasi-experimental design with the addition of two nonequivalent dependent variables, findings showed that students participating in the HELPS program significantly improved on four different measures of early reading, with effect sizes ranging from medium to large. Simultaneously, students did not show growth on nontargeted skills, as measured with the nonequivalent dependent variables. Parents also showed strong implementation integrity of the HELPS program and reported high acceptability. The implications of these findings and future research directions are discussed, including how the HELPS program may help to prevent summer learning loss.

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Parent involvement is a complex and loosely used term, encompassing many types of activities from significant caregivers (e.g., parents, stepparents, foster parents, guardians, other family members) in both home- and school-based settings to support children's learning. In general, parent involvement with children's education is encouraged, and there is at least some evidence that it can meaningfully benefit student learning outcomes (Hill & Taylor, 2004; Fishel & Ramirez, 2005; Ronka & Seals, 2005). Other authors have also highlighted that teachers and parents share common goals for children, and these goals are most effectively achieved when educators and parents work together (Epstein, 1986; Christenson & Sheridan, 2001). A view of education as a shared responsibility is also promoted by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), which emphasizes the importance of establishing effective partnerships between parents and educators (National Association of School Psychologists, 2005).

Although some research has documented that increased parent involvement with a child's education is associated with enhanced student learning (e.g., Fielding-Barnsley & Purdie, 2003; Reynolds, 1992), establishing a clear link between parent involvement and an increase in student achievement has been complicated by numerous parent involvement definitions, methodologic weaknesses in parent involvement studies, and a general lack of consensus regarding which types of parent involvement lead to improved educational outcomes (Fan & Chen, 2001; Fishel & Ramirez, 2005; Mattingly, Prislin, McKenzie, Rodriguez, & Kayzar, 2002; Powell-Smith, Stoner, Shinn, & Good, 2000). The parent involvement literature has also been characterized by a prevalence of descriptive and nonexperimental studies (e.g., Keith, Keith, Troutman, Bickley, Trivette, & Singh, 1993; Zellman & Waterman, 1998), and methodologic weaknesses in the literature are the most critical challenge in determining the effectiveness of parent involvement on academic achievement (Fan & Chen, 2001; Fishel & Ramirez, 2005; Mattingly et al., 2002).

Fishel and Ramirez (2005) reported that a few studies were considered promising based on the combination of high methodologic ratings, significant student outcomes, and strong effect sizes. Studies that were identified as promising used parent tutoring in the home to prevent or change a single academic problem (mathematics or reading) of elementary school-aged children. For example, using single-subject designs to evaluate the effectiveness of parent tutoring on students' reading skills, Duvall, Delquadri, Elliott, and Hall (1992) showed positive effects of in-home parent tutoring with second- through fifth-grade students (most with reading difficulties), and Hook and DuPaul (1999) found parent tutoring to be effective in improving the reading skills of second- and third-grade students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. …

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