Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Reread-Adapt and Answer-Comprehend Intervention with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers: Effect on Fluency and Reading Achievement

Academic journal article American Annals of the Deaf

Reread-Adapt and Answer-Comprehend Intervention with Deaf and Hard of Hearing Readers: Effect on Fluency and Reading Achievement

Article excerpt

THE RESEARCHERS investigated the effect of the Reread-Adapt and Answer-Comprehend intervention (Therrien, Gormley, & Kubina, 2006) on the reading fluency and achievement of d/Deaf and hard of hearing elementary-level students. Children in the third, fifth, and sixth grades at a state school for d/Deaf and hard of hearing students received a fluency intervention that was supplemental to their regular reading instruction. Significant improvement was found on a generalized measure of reading fluency after intervention. Though the researchers found no significant improvement in performance on a generalized measure of comprehension after intervention, the students demonstrated consistently good comprehension on both literal and inferential questions during the intervention sessions. The findings support the importance of incorporating a comprehension monitoring strategy in fluency instruction.

In regard to students who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing, research has focused primarily on understanding the reasons underlying historically low reading achievement levels, and the small body of research on instructional interventions has been aimed at improvements in just two of the three key areas of reading instruction identified by the National Reading Panel (2000): word recognition and comprehension (Luckner, Sebald, Cooney, Young, & Muir, 2005/2006; B. R. Schirmer & McGough, 2005). This body of research offers tentative evidence for the effectiveness of methods that visually represent sounds, pairing signs and fingerspelling with new written words and building knowledge of written syntax, topic, text structure, and vocabulary (B. R. Schirmer & Williams, 2011). At present, only one research study has investigated approaches designed to improve fluency, the third key area of reading instruction, or determined whether fluency instruction has a concomitant effect on the reading achievement of d/Deaf and hard of hearing readers (Easterbrooks & Huston, 2008; B. R. Schirmer, Therrien, Schaffer, & T. N. Schirmer, 2009).

Fluency has been referred to as a bridge between word recognition and comprehension (Welsch, 2007), and there is some evidence to indicate that reading fluency is strongly associated with reading comprehension (Rasinski, Rikli, & Johnston, 2009). Repeated reading for fluency has been found to be effective in increasing reading rate, accuracy, and comprehension of students with and without disabilities (Meyer & Felton, 1999; Schwanenflugel, Meisinger, & Wisenbaker, 2006; Tarn, Heward, & Heng, 2006; Therrien, 2004; Vadasy & Sanders, 2009). Repeated reading is a technique in which the student rereads a short and meaningful passage until a criterion level of fluency is achieved (Rasinski & Padak, 2008; Samuels, 1979). Though significant improvements in reading fluency among students without disabilities and students with learning disabilities have been found to occur with repeated readings, these improvements have not consistently translated into gains in reading comprehension (e.g., Bryant et al., 2000; Freeland, Skinner, Jackson, McDaniel, & Smith, 2000; Sindelar, Monda, & O'Shea, 1990; Vaughn, Chard, Bryant, Coleman, & Kouzekanani, 2000). In the majority of studies that found significant improvement in students' comprehension, the researchers carefully matched the material to students' ability levels (AlberMorgan, Ramp, & Anderson, 2007; Sindelar et al, 1990).

Given the findings reported in the research literature on repeated readings, it would appear to be a promising strategy for improving fluency and comprehension with another population of students who struggle with reading - students who are d/Deaf and hard of hearing. In a recent study (B. R. Schirmer et al, 2009), we employed a repeated reading strategy individually with four second-grade students who were d/Deaf and hard of hearing two to three times weekly over a period of 5 weeks as a supplement to their regular reading instruction. …

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