The Understanding Words reading intervention: Evidence from a case series design
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Using a case-series design with double baseline and 10-week maintenance phase, 5 struggling readers from middle- to high-income families (age range 6.4-7.9 years) completed a 5-times-weekly intervention (96 sessions) administered by a parent. All participants completed the intervention with phonological decoding, text-reading accuracy and reading comprehension scores above the 30th percentile. Regular-word reading improved significantly, and 3 out of 5 participants achieved average levels at postintervention testing. Growth of 0.58 standard deviations (SD) was seen in one participant on a test of irregular-word reading. The other 4 participants made growth of > 0.8 SD. However, only 1 participant achieved average levels at postintervention testing on the irregular-word reading measure. Results provide preliminary support for the effectiveness of the intervention in improving word-level decoding and comprehension in struggling readers. Most important, the data provide preliminary evidence that some parents can function as paraprofessionals and provide effective reading intervention for struggling readers. Special education professionals may be able to work around limited funding for struggling readers by recruiting, training, and supervising parents.
Australasian Journal of Special Education