Improving the skills of low-performing readers in an alternative school program



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Texas A&M University


Research has demonstrated that many children and adolescents exhibiting behavior problems also evidence serious reading problems as well as a low self-efficacy (i.e., belief in their ability) toward reading. The consequences of these problems on both the student (e.g., dropping out of school) and society as a whole (e.g., cost to taxpayers) are serious and, in most cases, preventable. In order to prevent students from dropping out of school and to empower teachers with a method for removing disruptive students from the classroom, many states have implemented alternative education programs. The purpose of this study was to implement an effective reading intervention in a disciplinary alternative school where students were assigned from 20-40 days for infractions such as fighting, threatening others, and excessive office referrals. The design consisted of a series of 26 single-case AB studies. Subjects were ages 12-16 in a mid-sized city in Central Texas. There were 19 males and 7 females. Subjects were mostly of African American and Hispanic backgrounds, and the majority received some form of special education services. Data were analyzed using visual and statistical single case model techniques. Results suggest that an intensive oral reading fluency program can positively impact the oral reading fluency, accuracy, comprehension, self-efficacy toward reading, and social comparison with regard to the reading ability of students placed in a disciplinary alternative education program on a short-term basis.