Listening comprehension and language as scaffolds for reading comprehension with secondary struggling readers
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This experimental study examined the effects of a reading intervention using listening comprehension and oral language as scaffolds to improve reading comprehension of middle school students with reading difficulties. The study included students in 6th-8th grade randomly assigned to a reading intervention treatment or a no treatment comparison condition. Treatment students received 45-minute sessions daily for a total of 33 sessions. Reading comprehension measures included the Woodcock Johnson Passage Comprehension subtest, State of Texas Assessment of Academic Readiness reading, and an unstandardized curriculum-based measure of summarization. Measures of inference-making included the Test of Language Competence Listening Comprehension: Making Inferences subtest and an unstandardized curriculum-based measure of inference skills. Language abilities were assessed using the Woodcock Johnston Oral Comprehension subtest, and the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals Formulated Sentences and Recalling Sentences subtests. An unstandardized vocabulary measure assessed student recall of vocabulary words. ANCOVAs were used to estimate the treatment effects for each dependent variable using pretest scores as a covariate. The Kauffman Brief Intelligence Test II Verbal Knowledge subtest served as covariate for the unstandardized vocabulary measure. Results yielded no statistically significant effects on reading comprehension, language, or inference measures. Effects, which were calculated with Cohen’s d, ranged from .00 to .78, with eight of nine measures favoring treatment. Findings from an unstandardized vocabulary measure indicated a statistically significant difference in favor of the treatment group. Results suggest that using oral language and listening comprehension to support reading practices of middle school students with reading comprehension difficulties may be a viable treatment for improving reading comprehension and improving content-specific vocabulary knowledge.