Effects of Journeys Reading Intervention on Reading Achievement of Students With Disabilities

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Walden University ScholarWorks Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Collection 2017 Effects of Journeys Reading Intervention on Reading Achievement of Students
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Walden University ScholarWorks Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Collection 2017 Effects of Journeys Reading Intervention on Reading Achievement of Students With Disabilities Antre Cloud Walden University Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Curriculum and Instruction Commons This Dissertation is brought to you for free and open access by the Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies Collection at ScholarWorks. It has been accepted for inclusion in Walden Dissertations and Doctoral Studies by an authorized administrator of ScholarWorks. For more information, please contact Walden University COLLEGE OF EDUCATION This is to certify that the doctoral study by Antre Cloud has been found to be complete and satisfactory in all respects, and that any and all revisions required by the review committee have been made. Review Committee Dr. Jennifer Brown, Committee Chairperson, Education Faculty Dr. Dannett Babb, Committee Member, Education Faculty Dr. Ioan Gelu Ionas, University Reviewer, Education Faculty Chief Academic Officer Eric Riedel, Ph.D. Walden University 2017 Abstract Effects of Journeys Reading Intervention on Reading Achievement of Students With Disabilities by Antre Cloud MA, American Intercontinental University, 2009 BS, National University, 2008 Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education Walden University August 2017 Abstract In Georgia, students with disabilities are falling behind students without disabilities in reading. Students with disabilities need to learn how to read fluently and comprehend because reading is embedded in all academic areas. Guided by LaBerge and Samuels s theory of automatic information processing in reading, the purpose of the study was to evaluate the effects of the Journeys reading intervention on the reading achievement of students with disabilities using a comparative research design. The guiding research question for this quantitative project study addressed the difference in reading achievement scores for 3rd through 5th-grade students with disabilities who participated in the Journeys reading program and those who did not. The convenience sample consisted of 34 students with disabilities in Grades 3 through 5 during the 2013 and 2014 school years. Data from the 2013 and 2014 state reading assessments were collected and analyzed using a Mann-Whitney U Test. Results indicated that students with disabilities who received the Journeys program made more significant gains in reading than students who received the traditional program. The doctoral project included a program evaluation report that will be presented to the local school district. Social change implications include enhancing the reading achievement for students with disabilities through a more effective reading curriculum. Effects of Journeys Reading Intervention on Reading Achievement of Students With Disabilities by Antre Cloud MA, American Intercontinental University, 2009 BS, National University, 2008 Doctoral Study Submitted in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education Walden University August 2017 Dedication First, I would like to thank my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, because without GOD nothing is possible. I would like to dedicate my dissertation to my phenomenal wife Ivory and beautiful daughters Charity and Chasity. My parents, Ronnie and Sharon, have been an integral part in making me into the man I am today. They have guided me with words of wisdom during my childhood to adulthood. My core belief system is based on faith, family, and love. My family has been instrumental to my success. Their love has been my motivation during this long journey. My family is the most important thing to me in this world. They inspire me to be great in life. Next, I would like to thank my committee chair and committee members for their support, understanding, patience, encouragement, and excellent leadership throughout this process. I could not have completed this amazing accomplishment without all of the caring members of my team. The support of the team was the key to achieving the goals that I set forth. Last, I would like to dedicate my dissertation to the memory of my beloved Nephew Kevon and Aunt Nadine who passed away while I was completing my doctoral program. Through their loving spirit, I was able to persevere during this difficult task without giving up. My research is dedicated to all educators who invest in the lives of students to make a difference. I am committed to changing the face of education and becoming a social change agent. Table of Contents List of Tables... iii Section 1: The Problem...1 The Local Problem...1 Rationale...4 Definitions...9 Significance of the Study...11 Research Question(s)...12 Review of the Literature...14 Implications...40 Summary...41 Section 2: The Methodology...43 Research Design and Approach...43 Participants...45 Data Collection...52 Data Analysis...52 Limitations...54 Data Analysis Results...55 Section 3: The Project...71 Introduction...71 Rationale...71 i Review of the Literature...72 Project Description...78 Project Implications...80 Section 4: Reflections and Conclusions...83 Project Strengths and Limitations...83 Recommendations for Alternative Approaches...84 Scholarship, Project Development and Evaluation, and Leadership and Change...87 Reflection on Importance of the Work...89 Implications, Applications, and Directions for Future Research...91 Conclusion...94 References...95 Appendix A: Evaluation Report ii List of Tables Table 1. Means, Standard Deviations, and Error Level of Reading Scores Table 2. Description of the Sample by Setting, Grade, and Gender Table 3. Means and Standard Deviations of Reading Scores Used in Analysis Table 4. Difference Between Class Types Table 5. Means and Standard Deviations of Reading Scores Used in Analysis Table 6. Difference Between Class Types Table 7. Means and Standard Deviations of Reading Scores Used in Analysis Table 8. Difference Between Class Types Table 9. Means and Standard Deviations of Reading Scores Used in Analysis Table 10. Difference Between Class Types iii 1 Section 1: The Problem According to the Georgia Department of Education (2013a), students with disabilities have been struggling in recent years on standardized testing. Most students with disabilities in the state of Georgia have not met the standards in reading the past several years. A possible cause for students with disabilities not meeting the standards could be the current reading curriculum (Gadoe, 2013b). Therefore, I conducted a project study to determine whether an alternative reading program, Journeys, increased reading achievement test scores of students with disabilities compared to a traditional reading program. The Journeys reading intervention is a program for struggling readers in Grades K-5. Journeys focuses on phonics, decoding, comprehension, and fluency. Journeys provides students who read below grade level with support to make growth in reading (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013). The convenience sample consisted of 34 students with disabilities during the 2013 and 2014 school years. I examined students with disabilities standardized reading test scores to determine which curriculum was more effective for reading achievement. Definition of the Problem The problem addressed by this study was that the local school district had not met the targeted goals for students with disabilities in reading in 2010 and 2011(Gadoe, 2013c). The students with disabilities reading scores were lower than 40% proficiency. The state of Georgia targets for third- through fifth-grade students with disabilities in reading for 2010 and 2011 was 65% proficiency. The state target for fourth-grade students without disabilities in reading for 2010 and 2011 was 92% proficiency (Gadoe, 2 2013a). The state targets are set according to federal mandates from the No Child Left Behind Act (United States Department of Education, 2006). The problem impacts thirdthrough fifth-grade students with disabilities because reading test scores are declining. There are several likely factors contributing to this problem, including traditional reading curricula and instruction. I examined whether the Journeys reading intervention program would be more effective in producing proficient readers. The study contributed to the body of knowledge needed to address this problem by examining the reading achievement of students with disabilities using a new reading intervention program. National Reading Data for Fourth-Grade Students The 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) report showed the range of scores in reading for fourth-grade students included 208 (basic), 238(proficient), and 268(advanced). The minimum scale score was 180 and the maximum was 300. Fourth-grade students with disabilities scored 190 out of 300 in 2009 and 186 in 2011in the content area of reading. The report showed a slight decline across the country for elementary students with disabilities in reading (NAEP, 2013). The report showed fourth graders at the top of the performance curve scored lower in 2011 than in 2009 (NAEP, 2013). The national average top scores in fourth grade declined from 269 to 266 (NAEP, 2013). Also, the report showed achievement levels in reading for fourthgrade students with disabilities below basic increased from 64% in 2007 to 65% in 2009 to 68% in 2011 (NAEP, 2013), meaning more fourth-grade students with disabilities were reading below basic level each year. Achievement levels in reading for fourth-grade students without disabilities below basic decreased from 37% in 2007 to 29% in 2009 to 3 23% in 2011 (NAEP, 2013), meaning fewer fourth-grade students without disabilities were reading below basic level each year. In 2013, 69% of fourth graders with disabilities scored below proficiency on the NAEP reading test, showing performance far below grade-level standards. In comparison, in 2013 only 27% of fourth graders without disabilities did not meet gradelevel standards on the NAEP reading test. According to these data, the current reading instruction that students with disabilities are receiving is not adequate to meet their learning needs. Research suggests that students with disabilities who struggle in reading due to their deficits need additional support through appropriate reading interventions (Edmonds et al., 2009; Scammacca, Roberts, Vaughn, & Stuebing, 2013; Solis et al., 2012); Wanzek, Wexler, Vaughn, & Ciullo, 2010). Each year, the reading achievement of students with disabilities is declining at both the federal and the state school district level (National Center for Educational Statistics, 2013) State Reading Data for Fourth-Grade Students According to Gadoe (2013a), fourth-grade students with disabilities in the state of Georgia who were in the general classroom less than 40% of the time scored 15.7% in 2010 and 15.1% in 2011 in the content area of reading on the Criterion Referenced Competency Test (CRCT). Fourth-grade students without disabilities in Georgia who were in the general classroom scored 89.6% in 2010 and 88.2% in 2011 in the content area of reading on the CRCT. Based on the data from the state s performance assessment from the previous 2 years, there was a significant achievement gap of 73 points between students with disabilities and students without disabilities in the content area of reading. 4 According to the NAEP and Gadoe reading assessment data, the current traditional reading program is not helping students with disabilities achieve reading proficiency, so a new reading program may be a possible solution to providing these students with the support they need to have academic achievement in reading (NAEP, 2013). At the local level, there is a significant achievement gap. Local District Reading Data for Fourth-Grade Students The local school district reported students with disabilities who were in the general classroom less than 40% of the time scored proficiently 23.5% in 2010 and 20.7% in 2011 in the content area of reading on the CRCT (Fulton County Board of Education, 2013). The local school district reported students without disabilities scored proficiently 96.8% in 2010 and 96.3% in 2011 in the content area of reading on the CRCT (FCBOE, 2013). According to the local data, fourth-grade students with disabilities are falling behind general education students in reading achievement using a traditional reading program; the reading achievement gap of students with disabilities has increased in recent years (FCBOE, 2013). Rationale Evidence of the Problem at the Local Level Over the past 5 years, students with disabilities have demonstrated a reading achievement gap compared to students without disabilities (Gadoe, 2013a). Hall and Kennedy (2006) found that states have made inconsistent progress in closing the achievement gaps and have particularly struggled at the secondary levels. Students with disabilities have been using the same traditional reading program as students without 5 disabilities. An instructional coach at the local school district with more than 20 years in education stated, Students with disabilities need an intervention reading program because the traditional reading program doesn t help them become proficient readers ( Wonka personal communication, April 2, 2015). The achievement of students with disabilities lags far behind students without disabilities. Only half of all students with disabilities leave high school with a standard diploma (Gadoe, 2013c). A special education lead teacher with more than 10 years of experience in education stated, Traditional reading programs are not adequate for students with disabilities. Over the years, traditional reading programs have not been proven to increase the reading achievement of students with disabilities ( Charlie personal communication, April 2, 2015). This statement is common among special education teachers. In some states, the achievement gap on the state achievement test between students with disabilities and their nondisabled peers were more than 45 percentage points (Dillon, 2007). Many students with disabilities struggle with decoding, phonics, diphthongs, and word blending because of a specific learning disability. When students with disabilities have challenges with basic reading skills, it often becomes difficult for them to become fluent readers. Students with disabilities have difficulty with comprehension because of their inability to read fluently. Cognition has led researchers to focus on the development of strategies that are practical to improve comprehension of students. Nearly three decades of research with cumulative results showed that there is ample extant research supporting the efficacy of cognitive strategy training during reading as a means to 6 enhance students comprehension (Baumann, Seifert-Kessell, & Jones, 1992, p. 162). According to Pachtman and Wilson (2006), student engagement is an important factor in the components and practices that are part of a reading program. To close the achievement gap, schools must accelerate the achievement of the lowest performing students (Catapult Learning, 2014). Reading test scores of students with disabilities are declining each year according to national, state, and local reports (Gadoe, 2013a). In the past 2 years, the local school district has shown a decline of reading scores for students with disabilities with scores going from 40% in 2011 to 32% in 2012 (FCBOE, 2013). The local school district has shown an increase of reading scores for general education students with scores going from 87% in 2012 to 93% in Also, the local school district has shown a decrease of reading scores for students with disabilities scores going from 32% in 2012 to 28% in 2013 (FCBOE, 2013). The latest benchmark scores indicated that fourth-grade students with disabilities average reading level is 2.3 and general education students average reading level is 4.9 (Gadoe, 2013c). The results indicate that students with disabilities are on average two grade levels below general education students (FCBOE, 2013). Evidence of the Problem from the Professional Literature The Learning Disabilities of America (LDA, 2001) showed that 20% of early learners are at risk for not being proficient in reading, and 5-10% of those learners have difficulty in reading even when receiving effective reading instruction. LDA stated students with learning disabilities should receive personalized reading instruction that supports them to be successful. The difference between reading competences of early 7 readers and the difficult reading requirements of the recent era indicated previous policies that demand greater hours focused on language arts and reading classes for students not meeting grade-level expectations (Cervetti, Jaynes, & Hiebert, 2009). According to the NAEP (2013), over 70% of learners nationally begin high school with reading levels below proficient. Wanzek and Roberts (2012) stated teachers must recognize when students are not learning and intervene before the achievement gap widens. Understanding the literacy development of students who start the school with poor reading skills, including students with disabilities, is important (Wanzek, Al Otaiba, & Petscher, 2014). For students with disabilities, decoding plays a major role in learning to read and developing fluency when reading. Meeks, Kemp, and Stephenson (2014) stated not all school-age students possess the necessary preskills to be fluent independent readers, especially those students with learning disabilities who often struggle to decode single words. Decoding skills include identifying the letter sounds and letter blends within a word, determining the meaning of words, knowing what part the word plays in the sentence (both grammatical and contextual), and how the word can change by adding prefixes and suffixes (Bailey, 2016). Decoding skills are essential to interpreting and analyzing words during reading. Students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia, processing skills, or retention skills often have challenges learning how to decode words and may require practice (Bailey, 2016). Students who do not learn how to decode words can have difficulty with reading fluency and comprehension. In intermediate grades, teachers are usually confronted with the difficult task of giving alternative instruction for 8 learners with prior known reading challenges who have not been appropriately taught. Teaching students how to read is one of the major responsibilities of elementary school teachers (Reutzel, Petscher, & Spichtig, 2012). It is common for students with learning disabilities such as dyslexia to require additional practice and time learning skills compared to students without learning disabilities. Students who struggle with reading or have learning disabilities in early grades may have difficulties with word recognition; other students may have difficulties comprehending more rigorous vocabulary and more complex text (Wanzek, Wexler, Vaughn, & Ciullo, 2010). Word recognition skills may have more positive outcome for students who continue to have challenges in decoding (Wanzek et al., 2010). To address this problem, struggling readers sometimes require repetition of drills and practice of phonics and decoding skills over an extended period of time compared to students without disabilities (Wanzek et al., 2010). Gersten et al. (2009) stated struggling students should be given reading support from the start of their school careers. If the ability to read, write and communicate is the ultimate goal, then we must better understand how to maximize access to the reading curriculum while providing comprehension instruction that addresses the individual needs of each student with disabilities (Erickson, Hanser, Hatch, & Sanders,
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