The exploration of middle-years reading intervention: the dynamics of reading performance and psychosocial factors within a fluency-oriented reading programme

Doctoral Studies Completed Theses – 2014 Archive

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Marian Koo

PhD thesis, conferred 2014

An extensive body of knowledge regarding reading intervention originates mostly from early years and special education studies. However, there is a lack of applied research examining reading interventions for broad middle years’ cohorts. Furthermore, there are gaps in terms of studies that explore the interplay between reading intervention and psychosocial factors, and studies that target lower-socioeconomic schools where poor reading performance is most evident.

This study addresses these gaps by exploring the implementation of a Fluency Orientated Reading and Comprehension Strategy Instruction (FORCSI) intervention program. Students (N=216) in Years 4 to 6 in two socio-economically disadvantaged Sydney schools, matched on demographic and school level characteristics, participated in the study. One school received a nine- week FORCSI intervention and one school maintained their normal classroom literacy practices. Pre- and posttest assessment of reading performance and self report of their psychosocial orientations toward reading were conducted. Qualitative process data on the implementation of the intervention were also collected. Multivariate statistical modelling was used to evaluate the impact of the intervention. Both quantitative and qualitative data explored the dynamics between the psychosocial, cognitive and behavioural processes inherent in a reading programme.

The FORCSI intervention had a significant positive impact across the middle-years sample group on comprehension and psychosocial orientation toward reading. The FORCSI effect sizes on comprehension ranged from d = .35 to d = .52. These effect sizes were larger than those reported in meta-analyses of fluency interventions suggesting further research and replication of the FORCSI study are warranted. Qualitative insights are discussed with reference to the quantitative analyses. Implications for middle-years education practice and policies are discussed.

Supervisor: Dr Rachel Wilson