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IES Grant

Title: Project Intensity: The Development of a Supplemental Literacy Program Designed to Provide Extensive Practice with Multiple-Criteria Text for Students with Intellectual Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Allor, Jill Awardee: Southern Methodist University
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language Development      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/13–6/30/17 Award Amount: $1,499,904
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A130102
Description:

Co-Principal Investigators: Stephanie Al Otaiba, Paul Yovanoff

Purpose: Many students with intellectual disabilities fail to achieve minimal literacy skills. Intervention techniques effective for struggling readers can also improve literacy outcomes for students with intellectual disabilities. Students with intellectual disabilities, however, need more intensive instruction and support to master discrete skills, transfer learned skills to other tasks, and overcome low language skills that can limit comprehension. The purpose of this project is to develop a reading program that will supplement current reading instruction and increase the intensity of instruction for students with intellectual disabilities. The intervention will include carefully designed texts and lessons to provide focused opportunities to develop listening and reading comprehension skills, additional cumulative review of key skills, and explicit instruction in transferring and applying skills to other texts and tasks.

Project Activities: Approximately 130 lessons will be developed and arranged into four bands that span content typically taught in kindergarten and 1st grade. The bands will increase in difficulty and include phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension instruction. Students will receive the intervention lessons two to three times per week after skills are introduced in the core reading program. During years 1 and 2, lesson units will be developed and revised based on results from exploratory field testing and feedback from teachers, parents, and expert consultants. Two pilot studies will be conducted in years 2-4 to assess the feasibility and promise of the intervention for improving literacy outcomes. The first study will span one academic semester and assess children's progress on weekly measures that are proximal to the intervention. The second study will span five academic semesters to assess progress on distal measures that are administered monthly. Both pilot studies will use a single-case multiple baseline design.

Products: The products of this project will include a fully developed, supplemental intervention to teach reading to students with intellectual disabilities as well as published reports describing its promise for improving literacy outcomes.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in schools in Texas.

Population: Over 4 years, approximately 75 students in grades 1-4 will participate in the project. The students will be verbal and have IQ scores that range from 40 to 79.

Intervention: Approximately 130 lessons will be developed and arranged into four bands that span content typically taught in kindergarten and 1st grade. The bands will increase in difficulty and include phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension instruction. Students will receive the intervention lessons two to three times per week after skills have been introduced in the core reading program. There are four main components in the intervention. The first component consists of carefully designed fiction and nonfiction books that include repetitive practice of high-frequency regular and irregular words. The second component will include brief teacher-led lessons that can be linked easily to core reading instruction and integrated into the structure of students' existing routines. The third component includes practice materials that accompany each book and require minimal supervision and assistance from paraprofessionals. The final component includes professional development materials, assessments proximal to the intervention, and planning tools to support implementation.

Research Design and Methods: During years 1 and 2, lesson units will be developed and revised based on results from exploratory field testing and feedback from teachers, parents, and expert consultants. Two pilot studies will be conducted in years 2–4 to assess the feasibility and promise of the intervention for improving outcomes. The first study spans one academic semester and uses a single-case multiple baseline design. This study is designed to analyze progress on weekly measures that are proximal to the intervention. The second study will use a single-case multiple baseline design and analyze progress on distal measures that are administered monthly. This study will span five academic semesters because the researchers expect that changes on distal measures will require a longer period of intervention.

Control Condition: Due to the nature of the single-case design studies, students will serve as their own controls. They will receive instruction typically provided by the schools.

Key Measures: The promise of the intervention will be evaluated on a continuum of outcome measures that are proximal and distal to the intervention. Proximal progress monitoring measures include researcher-developed child assessments (based on the instructional materials) of phoneme segmentation fluency, nonsense word fluency, and oral reading fluency, each based on the corresponding subtest of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS). Distal progress monitoring will include DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, Nonsense Word Fluency, and First Grade Oral Reading Fluency. Distal outcome measures will include Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing Blending Words, Blending Nonwords, and Segmenting Words; Expressive Vocabulary Test; Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test-IV; Test of Word Reading Efficiency; and Woodcock Johnson III Letter Word Identification, Word Attack, and Passage Comprehension. Fidelity of implementation data will also be collected for the intervention as well as the core reading program through teacher observations and self-report. Finally, surveys will be administered to teachers, other instructional personnel, students, and parents to determine satisfaction and feasibility of intervention implementation.

Data Analytic Strategy: Visual analysis will be used to document a functional relation between the intervention and reading outcomes. In addition, hierarchical linear modeling will be used to estimate progress of each student using proximal and distal reading measures.

Related IES Projects: Maximizing Literacy Learning among Children with Mild to Moderate Mental Retardation: Project Maximize (H324K040011)

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Jones, G.F., Gifford, D.B., Yovanoff, P., Al Otaiba, S. Levy, D., and Allor, J. (in press). Alternate Assessment Formats for Progress Monitoring Students With Intellectual Disabilities and Below Average Intelligence Quotients: An Exploratory Study. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities.

Lemons, C. J., Allor, J., Al Otaiba, S., and LeJeune, L.M. (2016). 10 Research-Based Tips for Enhancing Literacy Instruction for Students with Intellectual Disability. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 49(1): 18–30. doi:10.1177/0040059916662202 Full text


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