A behavior modification approach to the remediation of reading difficulties

Smith, William David (1974) A behavior modification approach to the remediation of reading difficulties. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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    Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.
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Abstract

The primary purpose of this internship was to implement a motivationally based remedial reading program, using principles of behaviour modification, designed to improve the performance of seven grade five children who were severely retarded in reading and were apathetic to improvement. A related aim was to provide school personnel with some evaluative data concerning the efficacy of behaviour modification as a practical technique to apply in the remediation of reading difficulties. -- Subjects of the study were five girls and two boys who lived in the Shea Heights area of St John's. They ranged in chronological age from twelve to fourteen and in mental age from 8-4 to 12-5 years. The students attended St. John Bosco School where they received regular class instruction which was supplemented by help in reading given in another classroom by a remedial teacher. Each student had a history of academic failure and was retarded by at least two years in reading achievement. Most were from low socioeconomic families and all were highly negative in their attitudes toward school. -- The internship covered a period of approximately seven weeks. During this time the intern worked with the subjects' remedial teacher in carrying out the procedures designed to fulfill the purposes of the study. These procedures included diagnosing the subjects' instructional needs in reading, planning and implementing effective remedial reading instruction, and establishing a token reinforcement system whereby students received reward contingent upon their performance in specified reading activities. -- The effectiveness of the internship in achieving its purposes was reflected by desirable changes in students' reading achievement, productivity, class attendance, and attitudes toward school. The subjects showed gains in reading achievement of 0.3 years in vocabulary and 0.8 years in comprehension which, when compared with anticipated growth, were statistically significant for comprehension (p < .02) but not for vocabulary (p > .10). The students accomplished more and better work. Attendance figures improved for those whose rate of absenteeism had been high. Attitudes toward school became more positive through increased enjoyment of remedial class sessions and heightened enthusiasm for school work. -- It was concluded that the internship was generally effective in achieving its purposes. Recommendations were made to school personnel concerning the application of behaviour modification techniques to the remediation of reading difficulties.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7330
Item ID: 7330
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 64-66.
Department(s): Education, Faculty of
Date: 1974
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Avalon Peninsula--St. John's
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Reading--Remedial teaching

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