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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An investigation into the differences in reading attitude and achievement of disadvantaged children instructed by an individualized of basal approach Gaskill, Madeleine Kathryn


This study investigated the reading progress made by disadvantaged children instructed by either an individualized approach or a basal approach. A review of the literature indicated that children from disadvantaged homes frequently lack the motivation and attitudes to achieve academically. In many cases the individualized approach to reading instruction has been shown to improve attitudes toward reading. This study was designed to compare attitude and achievement growth of children instructed by either the popular basal reader approach or the individualized approach. The two instructional approaches were defined to ensure that all classrooms met the criteria for each program. The basal approach was one where the teacher followed the suggestions in the teachers’ manual which accompanied the basal reader for all reading instruction. The individualized approach was defined as one which incorporated the principles of seeking, self-selection and pacing with individual conferences, skills instruction as needed sharing sessions and record sheets kept by each child. The sample was labelled "disadvantaged" and defined by father's occupation falling in Classes five through seven of the Blishen Occupational Scale. Children were selected who met the criteria of being disadvantaged, and were presently enrolled in grade three individualized or basal classrooms in the lower mainland of British Columbia, Canada. The children were placed in the four cells of the experimental design depending on their sex, and instructional approach. Although there were originally twenty subjects per cell, attrition resulted in approximately sixteen subjects per cell for whom complete data were available. In February each subject was given the Goodenough-Harris Drawing Test, a non-verbal measure of intellectual ability. In May, each subject was tested on the San Diego Inventory of Reading Attitude and the California Reading Test, Upper Primary, Form W. The four dependent variables- attitude, vocabulary, comprehension and total reading- were analyzed over the four cells. Analysis of covariance removed effects due to intelligence, and three basic questions were answered about each dependent variable. These questions were: 1. Do significant differences in scores exist because of the different instructional approaches used? 2. Do the scores vary significantly between boys and girls? 3. Does an interaction effect of instructional approach and sex cause differences in scores? Of the twelve hypotheses which were tested, one proved to be significant at the .05 level. This was Hypothesis Two, that different attitudes to reading occurred because of sex, with the attitude of the girls being superior to that of the boys. Trends, significant at the .25 level, indicated that girls received higher scores on achievement measures, and that boys taught by the basal approach and girls taught by the individualized approach received best results on the vocabulary test.

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