The study took place in a community-based clinic located in two separate schools: one independent/private school for students with reading disabilities and a Title 1 public elementary school. The intervention was implemented in classrooms or in the public school library. The study authors state the intervention was a collaboration between Indiana University and the schools in the study to provide reading services to students with reading disabilities in the community. Therefore, students who attended the clinic and received the intervention were from the local community and did not necessarily attend either of the two schools.
The 20 students in the final sample were 9 to 14 years old (M = 11 years, 6 months; SD = 1 year, 5 months). Eighty-five percent of students were male, 15% of students were female, 15% of students were Black, 85% of students were White, 0% of students were English language learners, and 5% of students were formally diagnosed with ADHD.
The study examined the effectiveness of a reading intervention for students struggling with reading. The one-on-one tutoring program was done 4 days per week for 1 hour per day (20 hours total) at the beginning of summer break and lasted 6 weeks, including 1 week of pre- and post-testing, for a total of 5 weeks of intervention. Both treatment conditions included the same training in phonological awareness/analysis, strategic decoding, and reading fluency (Phonemic Awareness/Analysis, Decoding, and Fluency Instruction [PDF]). However, the two conditions differed on the reading comprehension component.
In the intervention condition, Guided Reading (PDF/GR), tutors heavily modeled specific reading comprehension strategies including predication, summarization, and question generation during each one-on-one session with students. Tutors assumed that students would “naturally pick up” on those strategies and begin to use them independently (p. 66).
Like the PDF/GR condition, the Explicit Comprehension (PDF/EC) intervention, which served as the comparison group, was also implemented over the summer break for a period of 6 weeks with 1 week spent on pre- and post-testing. The comparison intervention included all components provided in the PDF/GR condition but differed in the delivery of the reading comprehension strategies. Rather than relying solely on modeling and introducing reading comprehension strategies, tutors provided direct instruction of each strategy. The PDF/EC condition included explicit instruction of the self-regulatory procedures, explicit explanation of the reasoning behind using strategies, explicit feedback on the value of strategy use in aiding comprehension, and explicit transfer of control of strategy use from teacher to student. Students received tutoring 4 days per week, for 1 hour per day, for a total of 20 hours.
Support for implementation
Tutors attended 14 hours of direct training on how to implement the treatment conditions. Tutors were observed for fidelity of implementation at least twice by one of the principal investigators and were provided corrective feedback after observation. There were also weekly staff meetings attended by the tutors and at least one of the principal investigators.
Principal investigators observed tutors as adhering to the treatment protocol 93% of the time.