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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The Role of Explicit Practice on Learning Reading Component Strategies on Adolescents With Reading Difficulties

  • Author(s): Chan, Olivia K.
  • Advisor(s): O'Connor, Rollanda E.
  • et al.

The majority of the nation’s eighth grade students identified with disabilities scored below basic in the U.S. History assessment in 2014 (NAEP, 2014) while 25% of adolescents without disabilities scored below basic. At the state level, the average eighth grade reading scores in California were significantly lower than the national public. One approach to address below expected levels of reading comprehension is to integrate explicit reading strategies with practice reinforcement in secondary classrooms. Providing reading strategies practice in subject content inclusion classrooms helps students improve reading comprehension of history content passages. Explicit reading comprehension instruction paired with explicit practice is effective for adolescents with Reading Difficulties (RD) because it provides the opportunity to learn correct procedures and apply them for processing new content.

This study evaluated the role of explicit reading strategy practice on reading strategy outcomes by measuring the amount of practice (frequency), and the amount of correct practice (accuracy) documented in student workbooks in history classes. Understanding the effect of the quantity (frequency) and quality (accuracy) of strategy practice could inform issues of instructional efficiency for adolescents with RD in classroom and curriculum planning. This study examined whether features of explicit strategy practice predict reading component outcomes of 102 eighth grade adolescents with and without RD. Classroom practice workbooks completed by 51 students with RD and 51 typically developing students were analyzed for frequency and accuracy of practice in decoding, vocabulary, and comprehension tasks. Results indicated accurate reading comprehension practice predicts comprehension outcome within the context of explicit instruction for typically developing adolescents. Moreover, practice effects differed between adolescents with and without RD. Accurate decoding practice was found to relate to word reading outcomes for students with reading difficulties. Accurate and frequent comprehension practices were significantly associated with each other for students with RD.

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