The impact of a reading intervention on reading and behavioral outcomes for fourth and fifth grade students with reading difficulties
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Evidence supports a positive relationship between problem behaviors and reading difficulties across Grades K-12 yet there is a lack of research investigating the role of problem behavior in the context of reading interventions. In this study, data was analyzed from a site-specific subset of students from a multi-site randomized controlled trial (RCT) implementing a multi-component reading intervention for struggling readers in Grades 4 – 5. Data were analyzed to answer the following research questions: (1) What is the impact of multi-component reading intervention for 4th and 5th grade students who are struggling readers on both reading and problem behavior outcomes? and (2) Does problem behavior moderate the effect of a multi-component reading intervention for 4th and 5th grade students who are struggling readers? Students (n = 108) were randomly assigned to a one-year multi-component comprehension reading intervention or a school determined business as usual (BAU) comparison condition after meeting the criterion for identification as a struggling reader by scoring at or below a 90 standard score on the Test of Silent Reading Efficiency and Comprehension (Wagner, Torgesen, Rashotte, & Pearson, 2010) screener assessment. To answer the research questions, data (reading and behavior outcomes) were analyzed using an analysis of covariance to: 1) test the impact of the reading intervention on both reading and behavior outcomes; and 2) test for a significant interaction between measures of problem behavior and condition (i.e., treatment or comparison) on reading outcomes (e.g., Gates MacGinitie Reading Test; MacGainitie, 2000). Models controlled for student-level differences (e.g., reading pretest scores). Type I error associated with multiple comparisons was controlled for using the Benjamani-Hochberg correction to adjust for false discovery rates. Results suggested that the impact of treatment resulted in significant posttest group differences on word reading fluency (p < .05). Additionally, externalizing behavior moderated the reading outcomes on the Gates MacGinitie Reading Test for students with higher levels of externalizing behavior. Overall this research added to the research field by suggesting that problem behavior impacts reading outcomes. Future research is warranted to improve reading interventions that target students with problem behaviors.