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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The power of reading: A multilevel study of the longitudinal effect of a paired intergenerational reading aloud program on academically at-risk elementary students' reading attitudes, reading motivation and academic achievement
by Portillo Pena, Nelson Antonio, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago, 2008, 198; 3340176
Abstract (Summary)

The effectiveness of early reading interventions and tutoring programs for academically at-risk students is still open to debate among practitioners and researchers despite their popularity. Many of the studies and evaluations that show mixed results or no positive outcomes at all suffer from one or more serious methodological shortcomings that contribute to misrepresent the impact of such interventions. Some of their most widespread shortcomings include extremely small samples, uninterpretable designs, ad hoc outcome measures, short term assessments, single implementations, and unsuitable data analysis approaches. This study focused on the longitudinal effects of a paired intergenerational reading aloud program on academically at-risk elementary students across three main reading-related outcomes (i.e., attitudes toward reading, reading motivation, and reading achievement) and addressed all the previously mentioned limitations. It specifically included a larger combined sample size across four minority student cohorts (N = 866) attending 12 Chicago public schools, an interpretable quasi-experimental design, a set of sound and widely used measures, a larger span of time to test the sustainability of results up to four years after the intervention, a number of consecutive implementations across multiple years, and a more complex statistical approach that addresses multilevel longitudinal data. In addition, it is based on multiple sources of outcome-related data (i.e., student, teacher, and school data). Results from the present study showed that the intervention had a positive effect on academically at-risk elementary students' reading attitudes, reading motivation, and reading achievement. Some of the effects found were moderated by students' gender and grade level. The small-to-medium treatment effect sizes observed are in line with what has been reported in meta-analytic reviews of various types of youth interventions. Overall, the study suggest that community members involved in read-aloud programs run by small organizations can make a long lasting, if modest, impact on the literacy of children and, potentially, their lives.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Tindale, R. Scott
School: Loyola University Chicago
School Location: United States -- Illinois
Source: DAI-B 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Early childhood education, Educational psychology, Literacy, Reading instruction
Keywords: Academic achievement, At risk, Elementary students, Evaluation, Motivation, Reading, Reading achievement, Reading aloud, Reading attitudes, Reading intervention, Reading motivation
Publication Number: 3340176
ISBN: 978-0-549-94394-5
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