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Promising Program Seal

SRA Early Interventions in Reading

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

A supplement to regular reading instruction delivered to elementary school children with Intellectual Disability to develop reading and writing skills that should enable greater academic achievement later in school.

  • Jill Allor
  • Professor, Dept. of Teaching and Learning
  • Simmons School of Educ. Human Development
  • Southern Methodist University
  • P. O. Box 750455
  • Dallas, TX 75275-0455
  • U.S.A.
  • 214-768-4435
  • 214-768-2171
  • jallor@smu.edu
  • www.smu.edu/Simmons/Research/IEBE
  • Academic Performance

    Program Type

    • Academic Services
    • School - Individual Strategies

    Program Setting

    • School

    Continuum of Intervention

    • Selective Prevention (Elevated Risk)

    A supplement to regular reading instruction delivered to elementary school children with Intellectual Disability to develop reading and writing skills that should enable greater academic achievement later in school.

      Population Demographics

      The program targets 1st through 4th grade children with Intellectual Disability (ID), defined as having an IQ between 40 and 80.

      Age

      • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary

      Gender

      • Male and Female

      Race/Ethnicity

      • All Race/Ethnicity

      Individual
      -Intellectual Disability (Program Focus)

      • Individual
      Protective Factors
      • School: Instructional Practice

      See also: SRA Early Interventions in Reading Logic Model (PDF)

      The daily, school-based intervention for elementary school children with Intellectual Disability is delivered as a supplement to the regular reading instruction in small groups (1 to 4 people) by highly trained teachers over the course of 4 years. For 40 to 50 minutes per day, children receive comprehensive reading instruction that progresses at their own pace, moving from word recognition and other word-level activities (e.g., phonological awareness, letter sounds, “sounding out” words) to fluency and comprehension. Lessons are aligned so that each level of reading increases gradually in complexity throughout the curriculum. In the final year of the intervention, supplemental practice is added to the teacher-led sessions, where students are provided with materials (e.g., word cards, small readers, activity pages) and encouraged to play reading games with others or read aloud with someone else, such as a family member or higher-performing peer.

      The daily, school-based intervention for elementary school children with Intellectual Disability is delivered in small groups (1 to 4 people) by highly trained teachers over the course of 4 years. For 40 to 50 minutes per day children receive comprehensive reading instruction that progresses at their own pace, moving from word recognition and other word-level activities (e.g., phonological awareness, letter sounds, “sounding out” words) to fluency and comprehension. Lessons are designed to be fast-paced to maximize student engagement and incorporate frequent and cumulative review to ensure mastery and maintenance of previously learned skills. Daily sessions are aligned so that each level of reading (word skills, fluency, comprehension) increases gradually in complexity throughout the curriculum, though students can repeat individual and group sessions as needed before progressing to more difficult concepts. In the final year of the intervention, supplemental practice is added to the teacher-led sessions, where students are provided with materials (e.g., word cards, small readers, activity pages) and encouraged to play reading games with others or read aloud with someone else, such as a family member or higher-performing peer. Activities are designed to target the needs of individual students and are closely monitored by teachers who provide accountability, encouragement, and feedback on implementation.

      Students with Intellectual Disability (IQs in the range of 40 to 80) have difficulty with learning and transferring new information to other subjects, making it particularly hard for these children to succeed in schools where typical interventions focus narrowly on isolated skills. The program uses an intensive, comprehensive, and individualized approach to reading instruction so that students learn to process the internal structure of printed and spoken words and develop basic sentence fluency and reading comprehension skills.

      • Cognitive Behavioral
      • Skill Oriented

      The program was evaluated over 4 years using a randomized control trial of 141 students with IQs between 40 and 80 in up to 15 schools in an urban, public school district in the Southwest United States. At baseline, students were randomly assigned within school to the intervention (N= 76) or control (N= 65) groups. As students dropped out of the study (N= 41) due to providing incomplete data, moving, or developing severe medical problems, new students were added. In the 2nd year 20 students were added, in the 3rd year 13 students were added, and in the final year 8 students joined the study. Assessments were administered when students entered the study and at the end of each academic year.

      Relative to controls, children participating in the 4-year program showed significant improvement in 11 of 12 outcomes related to phonological processing, vocabulary, phonemic decoding, and word identification and fluency.

      Relative to controls, children participating in the 4-year intervention improved outcomes measuring:

      • phonological processing.
      • vocabulary.
      • phonemic decoding.
      • word identification and fluency.

      Effect sizes were only reported for the two outcomes assessed using analysis of covariance. The intervention had a medium-large effect on reading comprehension (d= .69) and there was no significant effect on listening comprehension.

      The sample was drawn from a single school district in the Southwest United States and consisted of racially and ethnically diverse students in grades 1 through 4 with Intellectual Disability.

      • Baseline equivalence not assessed for outcomes, but groups were equivalent on sociodemographic factors and IQ range.
      • No test for differential attrition.

      • Blueprints: Promising

      Allor, J. H., Mathes, P. G., Roberts, J. K., Cheatham, J. P., & Al Otaiba, S. (2014). Is scientifically based reading instruction effective for students with below-average IQs? Exceptional Children, 80(3), 287-306.

      Contact for Materials or Sales Rep:
      McGraw-Hill Education
      www.mheducation.com/prek-12/program/MKTSP-UTU01M0.related.html

      Contact for Training:
      The Institute for Evidence-Based Education
      Southern Methodist University
      PO Box 750381
      Dallas, TX 75275-0381
      Email: iebe@smu.edu
      Phone: 214-768-8400
      Fax: 214-768-8700
      Web: www.smu.edu/evidencebasededucation
      Web: www.smu.edu/Simmons/Research/IEBE

      Allor, J. H., Mathes, P. G., Roberts, J. K., Cheatham, J. P., & Al Otaiba, S. (2014). Is scientifically based reading instruction effective for students with below-average IQs? Exceptional Children, 80(3), 287-306.

      Allor, J. H., Mathes, P. G., Roberts, J. K., Cheatham, J. P., & Al Otaiba, S. (2014). Is scientifically based reading instruction effective for students with below-average IQs? Exceptional Children, 80( 3), 287-306.

      Design

      The study used a randomized control trial over 4 years in up to 15 public schools in a large, Southwestern, urban public school district and 1 private school for students with special needs. Initially, 141 1st through 4th grade students with IQs in the borderline range (70-80), mild range (56-69), and moderate range (40-55) for Intellectual Disability were recruited and randomized within school and IQ range to intervention (N= 76) or control (N= 65) conditions. Six teachers certified in special education and 4 part-time instructors trained in general education provided the intervention.

      Students in the control group received typical general education or special education instruction in accordance with their individualized learning plans. Since students were randomized within school and IQ range, class sizes were reduced for control group children when treatment group students were removed for the intervention, which may have provided an atypical advantage to the children in the control group.

      As students dropped out of the study (N= 41) due to not completing the full academic year, moving, or developing severe medical problems, new students were added to replace the dropouts. In the 2nd year 20 students were added, in the 3rd year 13 students were added, and in the final year 8 students joined the study. Assessments were administered within two weeks of students entering the study and at the end of each academic year through the 4th year that the intervention was administered, at which time about 47% of participants (N= 66) had stayed in the program for all 4 years. Those remaining in the study at the end of year 4 completed two additional measures for listening and reading comprehension. Because students were continually recruited as others dropped out, the analytic sample included 141 students participating in the program for various lengths of time (although the study did not list exact sample sizes for each year).

      Measures

      All reliabilities were established with a “norm” population that included no or very few children with Intellectual Disability.

      Pretest and Annual Measures: The study used 5 different instruments to measure students’ skill in several areas of phonological processing, vocabulary, reading, and language usage and comprehension at baseline and year end: 1) The Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing subscales for Blending Words, Blending Nonwords, and Segmenting words (Cronbach’s alpha= .83 to .95); 2) The Expressive Vocabulary Test (alpha= .90 to .98); 3) The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-III (alpha= .91 to .98); 4) The Test of Word Reading Efficiency subtests for Phenomic Decoding Efficiency and Sight Word Efficiency (alpha= .95 and .96, respectively); and 5) The Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery- Revised subtests for Listening Comprehension, Letter-Word Identification (real word reading), Word Attack (nonsense word reading), and Passage Comprehension (alpha= .81 to .92).

      Additional Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) were used to monitor progress according to reading and language skill standards for 1st graders, regardless of actual student grade placement. These measures were administered once a month during the school year. Three subscales were used: 1) Phoneme Segmentation Fluency (number of phonemes correctly segmented), 2) Nonsense Word Fluency (number of letter sounds correctly identified), and 3) Oral Reading Fluency (number of words correctly identified in a passage intended for 1st graders). The study states that “reliability coefficients ranged from .72 to .92 on single probes and .91 to .98 on the means of multiple probes.”

      4th Year Measures: Two measures were collected only at the end of the final year of the program to determine student achievement at the conclusion of the program: The Wechsler Individual Achievement Test- Second Edition subscales for 1) Listening Comprehension and 2) Reading Comprehension (alpha= .80 to .95).

      Sample

      Students participating in the program averaged 7.5 years of age and included more boys than girls. About a quarter of students identified as White, with over two-thirds identifying as either Black or Hispanic. Nearly 40% qualified for free lunch, and the majority (> 50%) ordinarily received the standard general education curriculum.

      Analysis

      Multilevel growth curve models were used to determine whether changes over time in language and reading outcomes differed between the intervention and control groups while accounting for repeated observations within individuals and the length of time that individuals spent in the program. The analyses intrinsically accounted for outcomes at baseline (with the exception of the 2 measures collected only at the end of the 4th year, which were analyzed using analysis of covariance) and all models controlled for IQ at baseline.

      As required for intent-to-treat analyses, all available data were used and it appears that the authors attempted to follow and continue the intervention for students who changed schools within the study period.

      Outcomes

      Implementation Fidelity: Teachers were observed, on average, three times per year and rated on lesson pacing, student engagement and mastery, error corrections, and material readiness. Average fidelity ranged from 67% to 89% with a mean of 82%. Treatment students received between 19 and 134 weeks of instruction, with the average student attending for 95 weeks.

      Baseline Equivalence: Groups were equivalent on baseline sociodemographic factors and IQ range, but baseline equivalence of study outcomes was not assessed.

      Differential Attrition: There was no assessment of differential attrition.

      Posttest: The intervention group improved on 11 of 12 outcomes over the 4-year period, relative to controls. All 4 measures of phonological processing, both measures of vocabulary, all 3 measures of phonemic decoding, and 2 of 3 word identification and fluency measures showed improvement in the intervention group over the control group. Only letter-word identification as measured by the Woodcock Language Proficiency Battery was not improved.