The effects of graphic organizers and explicit instruction on the informational text learning and comprehension of fourth- and fifth- grade students with learning disabilities

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Ciullo, Stephen Paul

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This single-case study compared the effects of a typical practice baseline phase to those of a treatment phase. Seven students with learning disabilities (LD) in Grades 4 and 5 participated in the two-school-site study. Each student had basic word-reading proficiency and a distinct deficit in comprehension. Baseline lessons consisted of text reading with corrective feedback, a text-based summary with corrective feedback, and a daily quiz. In treatment, students read text with corrective feedback, used a graphic organizer to study and teach the content to the instructor, and completed a daily quiz. The baseline and treatment lessons were influenced by direct, systematic, and explicit instruction. Analysis indicates that an experimental effect was present for all students when the daily quiz results for baseline and treatment phases are compared. Percentage of non-overlapping data (PND) results were 100% for five students, which is characterized as a highly effective treatment according to single-case standards. Two students had minimal overlap between baseline and treatment, but their scores indicate that the treatment was effective at improving informational text learning. On a cumulative pre/post social studies test, students at School A improved from 26% to 56%, and at School B, students scored 28% on pretest and 81% on posttest. Results indicate that treatment components that were previously effective for students with LD in secondary school are promising for enhancing informational text learning for students in upper elementary school. A social validity questionnaire indicated that students perceived graphic organizers as an efficacious practice for improving learning potential.



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