Graduation Year

2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Susan Homan, Ph.D.

Keywords

Guided reading, Early literacy, Reading comprehension, Reading fluency, Small group instruction

Abstract

Large numbers of children in the United States are not functioning at adequate levels of literacy. Students who have weak reading proficiency skills are identified as at-risk; failure to acquire competency early in their schooling adversely affects performance in all academic fields and limits their potential for achievement in life. There is an extensive knowledge base about the skills and strategies children must learn in order to read well. Effective fluency and comprehension strategies need to be taught to help students become powerful, active readers who are in control of their learning. This study evaluated a structured classroom model for delivery of small group reading instruction called the Intermediate Extended Literacy Routine (IELR). The IELR is a model for delivery of explicit reading instruction that incorporates fluency instruction with the intent to provide a bridge between word recognition and comprehension.

This study examined the effects of the IELR on the achievement of third graders designated as struggling readers. A repeated single subject experimental design was used. Thirteen students in two classrooms at the same west-central Florida school were given the IELR 4 days a week for 8 weeks. The IELR incorporated explicit strategy instruction and was delivered in the form of focused mini-lessons that targeted specific reading strategies the researcher identified as lacking in the subjects. Assessments of performance were made with timed readings, running records, narrative retellings, and the school district's reading comprehension common assessment tool. Results are presented in tabular and graphic form for analysis.

The IELR had a positive effect on reading rate (measured in words read per minute), reading accuracy and increased instructional level assessments: students who received the IELR maintained or increased their instructional level on running record assessments and showed evidence of increased reading rate on timed readings. Reading comprehension, measured by narrative retellings, did not improve for most students over the course of the study. Recommendations for future research include the use of a control group; oral (rather than written) retelling measures to assess comprehension, and a longer duration of IELR application to gauge its effectiveness.

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