Effects of description text structure instruction on second and third grade students with disabilities



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The present study examined effects of an intervention that focused on description text structure on the reading comprehension skills of second and third grade students with disabilities. Three participants in Grade 3 and two participants in Grade 2 participated in this multiple probe, single-case design study. All five participants demonstrated reading comprehension difficulties. To address the challenges students with reading comprehension disabilities encounter, the study implemented an intervention that provided explicit strategy instruction of description text structure. In each session, participants read an expository text, completed the eight-item multiple-choice comprehension test, and retold the information from the reading. Analyses indicated that using visual analysis and percentage of non-overlapping data (PND), three students with LD in Grade 3 increased the number of correct answers for the multiple-choice comprehension tests after the training phase. Again, for the retell tasks, two participants with learning disabilities (LD) in Grade 3 demonstrated increased number of information and better retell quality. However, the data of a participant with intellectual disabilities (ID) and one with emotional disturbance (ED) in Grade 2 did not demonstrate a functional relationship after the training sessions. Results indicated that explicit description text structure instruction that incorporated reading strategies before, during, and after reading was effective for third grade students with LD. However, its effectiveness for second-grade students with other disabilities was less clear and needs more study. Social validity data from interviews with the participants and casual conversations with their teachers was also documented. Implications of the practice, limitations of the research, and suggestions for future research were discussed.