Ameliorating reading difficulties: Effects of a multi-component intervention
The main objective for this PhD-project is to explore the effects of a reading intervention designed to ameliorate third and fourth grade student’s reading difficulties.
The transition from early primary to upper elementary education is known to be a critical period in children’s reading development (Chall, 1996). This is the period were children are expected to move from “learning to read” to “reading to learn”. Though some children respond well to this change in reading requirements, the transition represents a watershed for others. Two factors seem to present a particular challenge for many learners:
1. The ability to concentrate on meanings and ideas, and thus learn from text, requires a certain level of accuracy and fluency in decoding. Children who fail to reach this level of decoding skills by the end of the early elementary grades may experience reading comprehension difficulties when reading for learning (Perfetti, 1985).
2. In the primary grades children are immersed mainly in narrative text containing familiar language. As they enter the upper elementary grades, they are expected to read large amounts of expository text. Compared to narrative text, this type of reading material is more complex and often contains difficult, abstract, and specified words. Word knowledge thus becomes increasingly important, and children with poor vocabulary skills may experience comprehension difficulties when reading text with more advanced vocabulary (Sanacore & Palumbo, 2009).
The primary goal of the present study is to explore the effects of a multi-component reading intervention designed to meet the reading challenges children face when entering the upper elementary grades. The intervention incorporates the instruction of decoding and word knowledge in an intensive 10 week reading program. The participants includes third and fourth grade students from 12 elementary schools; 8 intervention schools and 4 control schools.