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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Psychol. | doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01900

Intensive summer intervention drives linear growth of reading skill in struggling readers

 Patrick M. Donnelly1, 2*, Elizabeth Huber1, 2 and  Jason D. Yeatman1, 2
  • 1University of Washington, United States
  • 2Institute for Learning and Brain Sciences, University of Washington, United States

A major achievement of reading research has been the development of effective intervention programs for struggling readers. Most intervention studies employ a pre-post design, to examine efficacy, but this precludes the study of growth curves over the course of the intervention program. Determining the time-course of improvement is essential for cost-effective, evidence-based decisions on the optimal intervention dosage. The goal of this study was to analyze reading growth curves during an intensive summer intervention program. A cohort of 31 children (6-12y) with reading difficulties (N = 21 with dyslexia diagnosis) were enrolled in 160 hours of intervention occurring over 8 weeks of summer vacation. We collected behavioral measures over 4 sessions assessing decoding, oral reading fluency, and comprehension. Mixed-effects modeling of longitudinal measurements revealed a linear dose-response relationship between hours of intervention and improvement in reading ability; there was significant linear growth on every measure of reading skill and none of the measures showed non-linear growth trajectories. Decoding skills showed substantial growth (Cohen’s d = 0.85 (WJ Basic Reading Skills)), with fluency and comprehension growing more gradually (d =0.41 (WJ Reading Fluency)). These results highlight the opportunity to improve reading skills over an intensive, short-term summer intervention program, and the linear dose-response relationship between duration and gains enables educators to set reading level goals and design a treatment plan to achieve them.

Keywords: literacy, Dyslexia, Response to Intervention, Summer intervention, growth curves

Received: 18 Mar 2019; Accepted: 02 Aug 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Donnelly, Huber and Yeatman. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mr. Patrick M. Donnelly, University of Washington, Seattle, United States, pdonne@uw.edu