Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2016

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Hosp, John L.

Second Advisor

Hua, Youjia

First Committee Member

Woods-Groves, Suzanne

Second Committee Member

Bruhn, Allison

Third Committee Member

Achrazoglou, John


Students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) have difficulty with most reading skills, including reading comprehension (Hulme & Snowling, 2011). Improving reading comprehension skills requires efficient interventions that consider both meaning- and code-based skills simultaneously. Using a single-subject multiple-baseline design across participants, with alternating treatment design, this study compared two reading interventions (repeated reading vs. tablet text-to-speech) combined with a meta-cognitive strategy (question generation).

Three fourth-grade and third-grade students who had been diagnosed by their school as having reading difficulties (reading one to two grades behind their expected reading levels) participated in the study. Using the index of narrative complexity (Labov, 1973; Petersen, Gillam, & Gillam, 2008) as a major dependent variable, two participants showed improvement in reading comprehension skills as measured by visual analysis and the effect size between means. However, there were slight differences for the RAAC intervention over the tablet intervention for one participant. The time required to administer the tablet intervention was shorter than the time required to administer the RAAC intervention (an average of 12.73 minutes for the RAAC vs. 5.45 minutes for the tablet), which is an important consideration when deciding to use an intervention.

Public Abstract

Students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) who struggle with reading at the early elementary school grades are at risk of having delayed reading skills and may struggle when they move to the upper grades. Students in the early grades read to learn reading; however, they need to read to learn school subjects as they move toward the upper grades. Thus, this study tested reading comprehension interventions appropriate for young learners. One method to help these students improve their reading skills is to teach them a comprehension strategy that directs their attention to what they are reading. At the same time, it is important to address the reading skills that are necessary to identify letters and words (i.e., decoding and fluency skills).

This study compared two reading interventions (repeated reading vs. tablet text-to-speech) combined with a comprehension strategy (question generation). Three times per week, each student received an intervention. In the first intervention, the students were required to read a passage (average of 100 words) three times. Before and after reading the passage, participants were asked to read and answer five generic questions. In the tablet intervention, the participants were asked to follow the same procedures, but they were required to listen to the passage on the tablet only once. The results of the study showed that two participants improved their reading comprehension skills with slight differences between the interventions. Also, the time required to administer the tablet intervention was shorter than that of the RAAC intervention.


publicabstract, iPad, Learning Disabilities, Metacognitive strategy, Reading comprehension, Special Education


xi, 104 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-96).


Copyright 2016 Saeed Saad S. Alqahtani