This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Reading Comprehension Instruction in the Middle Grades for Students with Learning and Behavior Problems




Crowe, David

Type of Degree



Rehabilitation and Special Education


National and state measures suggest students with learning and behavior problems demonstrate difficulty with comprehension tasks. Reading comprehension is essential for students with learning and behavior problems to be successful throughout their lifespan. Many studies have examined reading comprehension strategies with students with learning and behavior problems; however, few have examined isolated comprehension components. Even fewer of the reading comprehension studies have been conducted in the regular education classroom. Given the inclusive movement in today’s schools, reading comprehension research in the general education classroom is needed to suggest strategies that work best with students with learning and behavior problems. The purpose of this study is to provide a comparison of two instructional strategies aimed at improving reading comprehension achievement for students with learning and behavior problems in the general education environment. Explicit rule-based instruction and traditional basal instruction methods were the two instructional approaches under investigation. The explicit rule-based method emphasized the use of instructional sequences, pace of instruction, corrective feedback, as well as other teacher directed components during instructional sessions to develop students’ skills; while the traditional basal method relied heavily on prior knowledge, open-ended questioning, and motivational activities to develop students’ comprehension. Forty-one students with learning and behavior problems from one large school system in the Metro-Atlanta area participated in the study. The students were randomly assigned to one treatment group: explicit rule-based model or traditional basal model. Instruction occurred over a consecutive 4-week period for 20 minutes per instructional session. The two levels of intervention were compared on unit tests, a maintenance test, and a gain test score from a reading comprehension composite score. Results of this study suggest to retain the null hypotheses proposed in the study. Students with learning and behavior problems benefited from the instructional sequences that were used in the study.