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Effects of a taped-words treatment on reading proficiency.

ABSTRACT: In an effort to increase reading proficiency, five 9th- and ]Oth-grade students with behavior disorders were instructed to read along with an audio tape of vocabulary words recorded at 80 words per minute. Effects of' the taped-words intervention on rate, of reading vocabulary words as well as generalization effects of reading passages containing some of the same vocabulary words were assessed within a multiple baseline design. Results suggested significant effects due to practice. Minimal generalization from reading word lists to reading passages was demonstrated. The results of the present study are compared with similar investigations.

Freeman and McLaughlin (1984), examining the effects of modeling on reading proficiency, found significant increases in the rate of reading isolated vocabulary words for six learning-disabled students by having them read aloud simultaneously with a tape recording presenting the words at a faster pace than the students' present reading rate. Although these results are promising, the utility of reading word lists at a proficient rate is questionable. In an attempt to extend the findings of Freeman and McLaughlin (1984), Shapiro, Eichman, Body and Zuber 1987) examined generalization by having students read passages containing the same vocabulary words immediately after reading the word list. Results suggested that the taped-word intervention was related to improved reading rates on the word lists, but generalization to passage reading was inconsistent.

Procedures such as the taped-word intervention can provide an efficient means of promoting reading proficiency in a classroom setting and, therefore, warrant continued efforts of investigation. A closer examination of the procedures of Freeman and McLaughlin (1984), however, reveals that the results obtained may not have been the product of modeling alone. Other independent variables not discussed by Freeman and McLaughlin (1984) and Shapiro, et al. (1987) yet incorporated into the procedures of the study, including performance feedback and opportunities for increased practice, provide alternative explanations for improved reading proficiency on word lists and reduce the likelihood that all effects are attributed solely to modeling. in this regard, the present study attempted to once again examine the effects of a taped-word intervention on both the rate of reading isolated vocabulary words and generalization to passages containing the same words. To more carefully define the effects of modeling, emphasis was placed on controlling for extraneous, independent variables such as practice. METHOD Participants and Setting Five students from the 9th- and 10th-grade classes of a university-affiliated laboratory school for socially and emotionally disturbed students were selected for participation in this study. Students ranged in age from 14 to 16 years (mean age = 15 years, 4 months). initial referring behaviors included aggression, distractibility, attention-getting behaviors, and noncompliance to direction. Three of the students were also diagnosed as learning disabled, and one student was previously diagnosed as educibly mentally retarded. As assessed with the Peabody Individual Achievement Test and curriculum-based reading measures, all students were reading at or below the 6th-grade reading level. Selection criteria for participation in the study stipulated that each student read at a pre-baseline rate of no more than 50 words per minute on the word list and no more than 75 words per minute on one of the passages chosen for the study. The assessment passage was not used as part of the study.

The study was conducted in a school office. The office was approximately 7m x 7m in size and contained a desk and at least two chairs. For each session, the examiner sat at the desk, and the student sat beside the desk facing the examiner. Assessment Materials In an attempt to promote student interest, the list of words and the passages used in this study were taken from the Pennsylvania Driver Education Manual. Twenty-four passages ranging in length from 236 to 306 words were selected. For each passage five comprehension questions were developed. Some of the passage topics included Signals," "Applying for a Learners Permit," and "Protecting Yourself in Collisions." As determined by the readability computer program of the Minnesota Educational Consortium, the readability levels 6f the passages ranged in grade level from 7.2 to 9.0. From these passages, 80 vocabulary words were extracted. The selection of words was based on their level of difficulty and unfamiliarity to subjects. Words and passages were selected so that each passage contained a minimum of 10 vocabulary words. At least 7 of the 10 words were not repeated within the passage. Accounting for repetition, the number of vocabulary words appearing in each passage ranged from 10 to 36 (mean 19.54, SD = 5.69).

From the 80 vocabulary words, six lists were developed. Each list contained the identified 80 words in random order. Audio tapes of each list were developed that presented the words at 80 words per minute. Dependent Measures Oral Reading Rates---Word Lists. On the word list, the dependent measures included the number of words read, correct and incorrect per minute, for each student. Incorrect pronunciations included omissions, substitutions, and insertions, as well as misplaced emphases. Corrections made within 2 seconds were not counted as errors. Oral Reading Rates---Passages. As on the word lists, measures for passage reading included the number of words read, correct and incorrect, per minute. Incorrect pronunciations were defined in the same manner as the word lists. Again, incorrect pronunciations corrected within 2 seconds were not counted as errors. Comprehension. Following the reading of each passage, the percentage of comprehension questions answered correctly was calculated. The percent correct was derived by dividing the number of correct responses by the total number of responses and multiplying by 100. Target Words Read in Context. The percentage of target words read correctly in each passage was calculated for each student. This figure was derived for each passage by dividing the number of target words read correctly by the total number included in the passage and multiplying by 100. Experimental Design and Conditions A multiple baseline design across subjects was used to evaluate the results of this experiment. Baseline. During this phase of the experiment, each student was first directed to read aloud one of the vocabulary lists. Six versions of the same word list, each in a different order, were used in the study. For each session a different list was presented. Students were directed to read the list twice in an effort to control for the number of opportunities each student had to read each vocabulary word across the baseline and intervention phases. Only the second reading was timed and scored. if students finished reading the list before I minute elapsed, they were directed to begin reading the list again. Also, if they stalled on a word for longer than 2 seconds, making no attempt to sound it out, they were directed to continue reading. No feedback was given to the student regarding his or her performance.

Next, the student was directed to read the passage and answer comprehension questions. Passages were randomly ordered for each student, but a different passage was used each day throughout the study. Students were directed to continue reading if they stalled on a word and were not attempting to sound it out. Again, no feedback was provided regarding his or her performance.

When the student finished reading, the experimenter took the passage and asked the student five comprehension questions, then recorded the responses. At the completion of each session, the student was given a snack. Snacks were not contingent on performance, but were provided as tokens of gratitude for their participation in the experiment. Baseline ranged from 4 (Subject 1) to 20 days (Subject 5). Taped-Word Intervention. All procedures followed were the same as during baseline with the exception of the initial reading of the vocabulary list. For this, students were required to read along with an audio tape recording of the same words, recorded at 80 words per minute. After the initial reading, the student was directed to read the list again. During the second reading, oral reading rates were obtained by the experimenter. Performance feedback was not provided. As in baseline, vocabulary lists were rotated so that the student read the same list every 7 days.

Next, the student was directed to read the passage as the experimenter again obtained oral reading rates. Upon completion, the experimenter removed the passage and asked the student five, oral comprehension questions. Answers were recorded by the experimenter. As during baseline, passages were read each day. Performance feedback on passage reading or answering comprehension questions was not provided. At the completion of each session, the student was given a snack for participation. This phase lasted between 9 (Subject 4) and 20 days (Subject 1). Interobserver Agreement and Treatment Integrity Agreement was checked for all subjects across all phases of the experiment by having a second experimenter independently score words read by the student as correct or incorrect for the vocabulary list as well as the passage. A percent-agreement figure was obtained for correctly and incorrectly read words by dividing the number of agreements by agreements plus disagreements and multiplying by 100. During baseline, the range of agreement scores for words read incorrectly on the vocabulary list was from 83% to 100%, and on the passage from 80% to 100%. Agreement scores for correctly read words ranged from 94% to 100% on the vocabulary list and from 97% to 100% for the passage.

During intervention, percent-agreement scores for words read incorrectly ranged from 85% to 100% for the vocabulary list and from 74% to 100% for the passage. Agreement scores for correctly read words ranged from 95% to 100% on the vocabulary list and from 97% to 100% for the passage. Agreement measures on comprehension ranged from 80% to 100% throughout the experiment. in total, agreement was checked for 31 of the possible 127 sessions across subjects.

A measure of treatment integrity was conducted by having an independent observer use a checklist to determine that procedures were adhered to as stated across all subjects and experimenters. Procedures examined included giving directions to the student, students' compliance with directions, scoring and timing procedures, comprehension checks, and ending the session. For all measures of integrity, across all experimenters, 100% of the procedures checked were implemented. RESULTS Figure I displays the data for words read correctly per minute on the vocabulary list. For Subjects I to 4 there is an increase in level from baseline (mean range across subjects = 21.04-34.01) to treatment sessions (mean range across subjects = 29.2945.29). Subject 5, displaying the most extensive baseline data, demonstrated an increasing trend for words read correctly throughout the baseline phase (mean - 40.06) but demonstrated minimal change in level during the intervention phase (mean = 46.13). For words read incorrectly, the data show little difference from baseline to intervention across all subjects.

For the purpose of examining generalization, Figure 2 summarizes the correct and incorrect rates of reading words in passages containing words from the vocabulary list. For Subjects 1, 2, 3, and 5 only slight changes are noted for the number of words read correctly per minute between baseline (mean range across subjects = 57.08 - 74.28) and intervention (mean range across subjects = 55.69 - 86.55). For Subject 4, intervention results in some effect for words read correctly per minute (mean rate = 96.87) over baseline measures (mean rate = 80.88).

The mean percentage of list words read correctly in context is shown in Table 1. Results demonstrate that most subjects (except Subject 2) showed only minimal increases in the percentage of list words read correctly in context from baseline to intervention. Data on the percentage of comprehension questions answered correctly (not shown) showed little change in correct responding with the exception of Subject 2. DISCUSSION Results of the present study suggest that the use of a taped-word intervention, modeling the correct pronunciation of vocabulary list words read at a desirable rate, may produce improvement in correct reading rates of word lists for mildly handicapped students. However, the increase in rate of reading word lists failed to generalize to reading passages containing a subset of those words. Additionally, the increased oral reading rates observed may not have been related to the taped-word intervention.

Freeman and McLaughlin's (1984) findings suggest that having students read a list of words simultaneously with a taped recording of the same words, recorded at 80 words per minute, is related to improved correct and error reading rates. However, one independent variable not fully examined in their experiment was the effect of practice. Students were provided with increased opportunities to read the vocabulary list during the intervention phase (i.e., once with the tape recording and once without the tape recording) over the number of opportunities available during baseline. Another variable was the effect of feedback on students' reading performance. Feedback procedures related to improved academic performance, such as the public posting of data (Kastelen, Nickel, & McLaughlin, 1984) and immediate, corrective feedback plus modeling (Hansen & Eaton, 1978; Smith & Lovitt, 1975) were incorporated into the procedures of Freeman and McLaughlin (1984) and may have contributed to the effect on reading rates as well. Finally, relatively short baseline periods (3-4 days) did not permit a thorough examination of the data before the intervention phase began. Increasing trends for correct rates during baseline were present for all students.

The present study attempted to control for these variables by providing an equal number of opportunities for students to read the vocabulary lists across the baseline and intervention phases, allowing no feedback to students contingent on reading performance, using extended baselines for all students, and incorporating the use of a multiple baseline design, thereby delaying treatment for the fifth student. Although the data for some students in the present study showed an increase in level of the vocabulary list concomitant with the start of the intervention phase, the increasing trends across baseline measures as well as the analysis of data for the delayed-treatment subject are indicative of practice effects. Once the intervention phase was initiated with Subject 5, failure of the data to demonstrate a change in level, due to a possible ceiling effect, helped to repute the claim that improved correct and error reading rates may have resulted from the taped-word intervention alone. Additionally, some of the observed changes in level between baseline and intervention may be due to demand characteristics of the task. Simply repeating daily the task of reading faster" may have suggested to the student the necessary skill required by the experiment.

On the measure of generalization, in which students read passages containing words from the vocabulary list, results showed only slight improvement in correct reading rates for some students, and no improvement for others. Because reading passages is more analogous to achievement requirements of reading tasks than reading word lists, the efficacy of the taped-word procedure must be questioned.

Although the results of this study suggest that a taped-word procedure may not be successful at increasing reading, other fluency-building strategies such as previewing (e.g., Rose & Sherry, 1984) should still be considered viable instructional options. Continued investigations of additional strategies to improve reading fluency, particularly for secondary students, are very much needed.
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Title Annotation:research with 9th and 10th grade students with behavior disorders
Author:Shapiro, Edward S.; McCurdy, Barry L.
Publication:Exceptional Children
Date:Jan 1, 1989
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