One reading skill at a time works best for middle schoolers

iStock_000003798811XSmallMiddle school students who need remedial reading instruction do better when linguistics skills are taught in isolation rather than in conjunction with comprehension and other reading skills, says a recent study in the Annals of Dyslexia.

Students who received linguistics skills instruction for 45 minutes per day 5 days a week outperformed students who received linguistics skills instruction 3 days a week and comprehension skills 2 days a week and outperformed students who received 2 days a week in comprehension and 3 days a week on integrated linguistics skills, spelling and fluency.

“It could be that for middle students with RD (reading disabilities), to make significant gains in linguistics skills, it is more beneficial to provide focused uninterrupted linguistics skills instruction rather than try to simultaneously learn linguistics skills in conjunction with other components,” write the authors.

Researchers tested 3 different ways of organizing remedial instruction with Reading Achievement Multi-Modular Program (RAMP-UP ), a peer-mediated program that consists of separate, stand-alone instructional units for linguistics skills, spelling, fluency and reading comprehension. The design of RAMP-UP allows the components to be organized in different combinations.

While all students received 26 weeks of remedial instruction, the number of hours students spent on reading skills varied somewhat according to the approach:

Alternating (comprehension 3 days, linguistics skills 2 days) Comprehension 39 hours and linguistics skills 58 hours

Additive (skills taught in isolation) Seven weeks were spent on linguistics skills alone, then spelling was added to linguistics skills for the next 7 weeks, fluency was added to spelling and linguistics skills the next 7 weeks and in the final 5 weeks, linguistics skills was discontinued and comprehension was added to spelling and fluency. In hours, this totaled 12 hours for comprehension, 16 hours for spelling, 6 hours for fluency and 63 hours for linguistics skills.

Integrated (comprehension 2 days a week and integrated linguistics skills, fluency and spelling) Comprehension 39 hours, spelling 13 hours, fluency 8 hours and linguistics 37 hours.

“While gains in linguistics skills for students in all three modules is impressive, it appears that for linguistics skill instruction, the organization provided by the Additive module produces superior gains for middle school students with RD.”

“Reorganizing the instructional reading components: could there be a better way to design remedial reading programs to maximize middle school students with reading disabilities’ response to treatment?” by Mary Beth Calhoon et al., Annals of Dyslexia, 2010, Volume 60, pps. 57-85.

Leave a Reply

  • (will not be published)