When teaching reading comprehension to students with MID fosters phonics and accuracy

When teaching reading comprehension to students with MID fosters phonics and accuracy

First Author: Catherine Turcotte -- Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Additional authors/chairs: 
Céline Chatenoud
Keywords: Comprehension, Intellectual Disability, Instruction, Word reading, Informational Text
Abstract / Summary: 

Problem: Upon entering high school, students with mild intellectual disabilities (MID) who may be able to read simple texts often have difficulty grasping meaning when required to understand more complex texts, especially informative texts in various disciplines.

Aim: To address this challenge, this paper presents the results of an intervention implemented among students (13-15 years old) with MID living near Montréal (Canada). It combines structured teaching, targeted strategies, and expository texts. Sessions of 20-30 minutes were implemented in groups of 3-4 students, three to four times a week during 8 weeks. In each session, different strategies were trained and applied, so that students can deepen their comprehension and acquire new skills. The instruction intended to reuse a same text throughout the week. As the week progressed, control of the activity was transferred from teacher to students.

Method: Students’ progress in the experimental group (n=23) was compared with the progress of students (n=23) from a non-experimental group of students with MID receiving a repeated reading intervention. All participants were individually tested with phonics, word reading, fluency and informative text comprehension measures before and after the intervention.

Results reveal the experimental intervention had an effect on students reading performance, with a moderate effect size. The experimental group students were indeed significantly stronger at postest, but only in phonics and word reading and accuracy. Both groups progressed similarly in comprehension between pre and postest.

Discussion: How is it that a structured instruction intervention focusing on comprehension showed greater effects on phonics and accuracy than on raising reading comprehension levels? The discussion will address this question, as well as implication for future research and practice