Interventions for Struggling Adolescent Readers: Factors that Impact Growth

Interventions for Struggling Adolescent Readers: Factors that Impact Growth

First Author: Mary Beth Calhoon -- University of Miami
Additional authors/chairs: 
Lee Branum-Martin; Congying Sun
Keywords: Reading instruction, Reading comprehension, Fluency, reading strategies
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: There is a crucial need to understand the factors that impact the success of adolescent struggling readers (ASRs), including duration, intensity, delivery models, organization of reading components. We evaluated five different versions of the same reading program, Reading Achievement Multi-Component Program (RAMP-UP) compared to typical instruction: Alternating, Integrated, Additive, Phonological-Emphasis, Comprehension-Emphasis.

Method: The current analysis compares four different studies, resulting in 509 6th – 8th grade ASRs randomly assigned to one of six conditions and provided one full year of intensive reading instruction, each with two to three longitudinal waves of data collected. Students were tested on AimsWeb Reading Fluency as well as Woodcock Johnson 3 Word Attack, Letter-Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Reading Fluency. Multilevel individual growth models as well as multivariate confirmatory factor models were fit and evaluated for longitudinal measurement stability, study differences, classroom clustering, and intervention effects.

Results: Individual growth models showed significantly greater growth for specific factors (i.e., intensity, organization of reading components) across most literacy outcomes (by half a semester to a full year), after controlling for classroom and study differences. Multivariate models demonstrated good fit and suggest that ASR’s have consistent performance across these literacy outcomes, along with specific differences for some measures.

Conclusions: The current analyses integrate issues of growth, measurement error across multiple tests, differential design effects, and classroom clustering. Most compellingly, the current analyses suggest the organization of instruction matters considerably for ASRs. Tradeoffs in evaluating multiple outcomes for longitudinal designs will be discussed.