Providing Effective Reading Instruction to Elementary Students with or at Risk for Reading Difficulties

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Dahl-Leonard, Katlynn, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Hall, Colby, ED-CISE, University of Virginia

There are several teacher-related factors that impact the success of reading instruction for students with or at risk for reading difficulties (RDs). Three such factors explored in this three-paper dissertation are implementation fidelity, knowledge to provide reading instruction, and self-efficacy for teaching reading. Paper 1 was a meta-analysis examining fidelity reporting within 51 reading intervention studies for students with or at risk for dyslexia in Grades K-5. We recorded the frequency and extent of fidelity reporting, explored associations between study or intervention features and fidelity reporting, and compared mean intervention effect sizes for studies reporting fidelity and those that did not. Results indicated that 75% of studies reported fidelity data. Studies reporting fidelity primarily focused on adherence and dosage data with little to no information reported for other dimensions of fidelity. Paper 2 examined teacher self-efficacy for teaching students with or at risk for RDs and its relation to teacher knowledge to teach reading. We developed and administered surveys to 313 elementary-grade teachers. They rated their self-efficacy for providing reading instruction to students with or at risk for RDs as moderately high. However, there was a statistically significant negative association of teacher knowledge to teach reading with self-efficacy for providing reading instruction to students with or at risk for RDs. Paper 3 examined six reading intervention teachers' implementation of the SPELL-Links to Reading and Writing intervention with students in Grades 2 and 3. We evaluated the extent to which teachers were able to implement the intervention with fidelity. We also explored the determinants of teachers’ implementation and their perceptions of the intervention. Participating teachers did not implement the intervention at the intended dosage, but they did achieve acceptable adherence and quality on average. Several barriers to implementation were identified, including intervention content and structure, training, compatibility with existing practices, and alignment with goals. Notable facilitators of implementation were teacher capability and peer support.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
reading instruction, reading difficulties, elementary
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