Examining student experience, perceptions, and quality of reading instruction for secondary students with significant reading disabilities : a case study
Walker, Melodee Anne
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Observation studies afford an opportunity to examine the extent to which prevailing practices in reading instruction for older students with reading difficulties and disabilities align with research-based recommendations from practice guides (e.g., Kamil et al., 2008), reports (e.g., Carnegie Council on Advancing Adolescent Literacy, 2010), and syntheses of research on interventions for older struggling readers, including students with learning disabilities (e.g., Edmonds et al., 2009; Faggella-Luby & Deshler, 2008; Scammacca, Roberts, Vaughn, & Stuebing, 2013; Swanson & Hoskyn, 1998). However, a recent systematic review of the literature from 2005 to 2014 revealed only four observation studies of reading instruction for students with learning disabilities (Walker & Stevens, 2016). Only one of the identified studies examined reading instruction for secondary students. This study had two central purposes: (1) observe and describe reading instruction for 6th grade students identified with significant reading disabilities, and (2) describe student perceptions and motivations related to reading and reading instruction. Eight teacher and ten student participants were observed across two school sites in English language arts (ELA), reading intervention, and social studies classes. Observational data were collected related to instructional events in reading, opportunities for text reading, instructional groupings, global instructional quality, student engagement, and classroom management. Interview and self-report data were collected from students with regard to reading perceptions and motivation. Teacher self-report data with regard to reading instruction facilitated the interpretation of the findings. Results indicated that student participants received instruction that was largely undifferentiated from their typically performing peers, with the exception of explicit, systematic instruction in word reading instruction and fluency practice. Connected text reading was predominantly in the form of grade-level trade books or standardized reading passages. Whole class instruction was the most prevalent grouping structure across class sizes ranging from 5 to 33. Vocabulary instruction was limited to 10% of all reading instruction, whereas comprehension instruction was 39% of all reading instruction. Comprehension instruction was primarily reading comprehension monitoring. Student self-report responses on a motivational survey were in strongest agreement on items related to students indicating motivation to read because of its utility, social responsibility, and social approval goals.