Self-regulated strategy intervention in reading helps teenage boys with behavioral disorders

Studing in outdoorAdolescent boys with behavioral disorders (BD) performed significantly better in summarizing science passages if they used a self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) intervention, according to a study in Exceptional Children. The intervention is called “Think Before Reading, Think While Reading, Think After Reading, With Written Summarization (TWA-WS).”

Summarizing science texts in writing is an especially challenging task for this population, the authors note.  The combination of explicit instruction in literacy and self-management appears consistent with the needs of students with BD. However, no previous studies examined the effectiveness of SRSD-based literacy instruction with this specific population.

9-step process

Adolescent boys in the study were from a residential treatment facility for troubled youth. There were 63 boys from the program who participated in the study. Half of the boys in the study had ADHD as well as BD. The boys were from 13 to 16 years old and had IQs that ranged from 70 to 109.

Those with ADHD showed the same improved performance as the BD-only group.  They had more difficulty, however, applying the newly learned literacy skills to different tasks and retaining their literacy gains over time, the researchers report.

Think Before Reading, Think While Reading, Think After Reading, With Written Summarization (TWA-WS) was adapted from Linda Mason’s TWA (Think Before Reading, Think While Reading, Think After Reading) intervention by adding written summarization to the process, focusing on self-monitoring, and using only science text.

The 9 steps of the intervention were taught in 5 45-minute sessions (Mason’s intervention was taught in 11-15 20-minute sessions). There were also 3 sessions for testing, for a total of 8 sessions for the intervention group.

The nine steps are:

Think Before Reading
1. The author’s purpose
2. What do you already know
3. What do you want to learn

Think While Reading
4. The author’s purpose
5. What do you already know
6. What do you want to learn

Think After Reading
7. What is the main idea
8. Summarize what you’ve read
9. Discuss what you have learned

Students were assigned to one of 4 groups for this quasi-experimental study: The intervention group for participants with behavioral disorders only, intervention group for students with both BD and ADHD, the control group for boys with BD only, or the control group for boys with both BD and ADHD.

The study used 13 passages from 4th-grade textbooks; 12 of the passages were on science and 1 was on social studies to measure near transfer of skills. After boys in the intervention group were introduced to TWA-WS and coached on its use in the first two sessions, reading and summarization of passages were incorporated in the other sessions. The boys self-monitored their use of TWA-WS by checking off the 9 steps on a list as they completed them.

Boys in the control group read the same passages, but while the intervention group participated in the TWA-WS program, they completed multiple-choice and true-false questions that came from the teacher’s edition. They had brief group discussions before writing their summaries.

To evaluate the impact of TWA-WS, the researchers used 5 written summarization measures: pre-test, post-test, near transfer, far transfer and maintenance. The post-test was the primary measure of the effectiveness of the intervention. The near transfer test was to summarize a social studies passage. The far transfer task was to write a summary on two science passages. The maintenance task was to write an essay three weeks after TWA-WS instruction.

Before the summaries were assessed, they were retyped without editing to ensure that the scorers were unaware of the student. The first author and a graduate assistant determined the most important ideas in the passages, then scored each mention of the idea from 0-2 (no mention, mentioned but not supported, fully supported idea).

“Effects on Science Summarization of a Reading Comprehension Intervention for Adolescents With Behavior and Attention Disorders” by Mary Rogevich and Dolores Perin, Exceptional Children, Volume 74, Number 2, pp. 135-154.

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