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UBC Theses and Dissertations

An analysis of the effects of an experimental remedial reading program on the comprehension skills of potential school dropouts. Ahrendt, Kenneth Martin

Abstract

The present study investigated the effects of a specially designed remedial reading program consisting of intensive training sessions which emphasized the direct instruction of vocabulary skills by the use of context clue or by structural analysis and dictionary usage using individual teaching techniques rather than group teaching techniques on the comprehension skills of potential school dropouts. The subjects in this experimental study were grade eight students from a junior secondary school. They were divided into three categories: (1) comprehension and vocabulary scores the same as or less than grade 6.0; (2) comprehension score the same as or less than grade 6.0; but vocabulary score the same as or greater than grade 6.0; and (3) vocabulary score the same as or less than grade 6.0; but comprehension score the same as or greater than grade 6.0. Thirty-six subjects were identified on the basis of these criteria. Each subject in each of the three categories was assigned to one of three treatment conditions at random. They received four treatment lessons; forty minutes each over a period of four weeks. The instructional materials were worksheets prepared by the experimenter. Each subject was given the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, Survey E, Form 1, The School Interest Inventory; a pre- and post- paper-pencil Comprehension Test "X", and a common transfer task which consisted of a reading selection and comprehension questions constructed by the experimenter. The findings of this experimental study indicate that the treatment effects observed in terms of the number of correct responses on the transfer task with acquired vocabularies were not significant. The treatment effects in terms of the time in minutes to the completion of the transfer task with acquired vocabularies were significant indicating that the treatment with the use of contextual clues was particularly effective to those subjects in Category 3. Both the treatments with the use of contextual clues and structural analysis with dictionary usage were effective to Category 3 subjects who were lacking in vocabulary skills when the kind of transfer comprehension test with acquired vocabularies via four sessions of treatment were given. The analysis of performance on the transfer test with new vocabularies indicates that the remedial treatments as compared to the non-remedial control treatment are significant. The treatment with the use of contextual clues is no more effective than the treatment with the use of structural analysis with dictionary usage. The treatment effects on comprehension were interpreted on the results of the significant practice effects observed over four exposure treatments. These suggest that extended treatments of the kinds used in the present study would have shown significant remedial training effects via the use of contextual clues in the training of vocabulary skills.

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