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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The effect of instruction in orthographic conventions and morphological features on the reading fluency and comprehension skills of high-school freshmen
by Roberts Frank, Alicia, Ed.D., University of San Francisco, 2008, 168; 3326011
Abstract (Summary)

The Effect of Instruction in Orthographic Conventions and Morphological Features on the Reading Fluency and Comprehension Skills of High-School Freshmen Reading comprehension is one of the most important aspects of literacy instruction. Without being able to understand what they read, students cannot access the majority of the resources available to them in order to succeed in school. Students who are unable to read fluently must analyze words before being able to understand their meanings. This analysis relies on knowledge of orthographic conventions and morphological features, both of which influence students' knowledge of vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. The research study reported herein was designed to investigate the extent to which instruction in orthographic conventions and morphological features increases the reading fluency and comprehension of high-school freshmen with and without documented learning disabilities and of different degrees of proficiency in English Language Arts (ELA) as measured by their California State Test And Reporting (CST) scores. The students from eight freshman-English classes at a full-inclusion high school were assessed for their spelling, reading fluency and reading comprehension skills. Four classes were assigned randomly to receive a daily spelling instruction that focused on orthographic conventions in the form of syllable types and syllable division rules and morphological features in the form of suffixes, prefixes, and Greek and Latin roots over the course of one full semester (16 weeks). The other four classes received an equivalent amount of in-class time to read independently. The students' reading comprehension skills were assessed before the interventions began, at two mid-points during the study, and upon their completion. The students' reading fluency levels were assessed with the pre- and posttests of reading comprehension. Lastly, spelling assessments were conducted as pre- and posttests in order to be measured as a covariate. Data were analyzed to determine the significance of the difference in reading fluency and reading comprehension growth between the two groups as well as whether there was a differential effect for students with learning disabilities or different ELA proficiency levels. There was no statically significant difference found between the groups on the measurements of reading fluency. There was a statistically significant difference between the groups on the post-test of reading comprehension, with the spelling group out-performing the independent-reading group. There were too few students with learning disabilities to analyze any differential effects. Students who scored at or above proficiency levels on the CST increased their reading comprehension skills more than students who were below proficiency level. The majority of the students who received the spelling lessons seemed to find them enjoyable. It was concluded that spelling interventions that emphasize orthographic conventions and morphological features are an efficient and engaging way to increase the reading comprehension skills of high-school freshmen.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mitchell, Mathew
School: University of San Francisco
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 69/08, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Linguistics, Special education, Literacy, Reading instruction, Curriculum development
Keywords: Fluency, High school, Morphology, Orthography, Reading comprehension, Reading fluency, Spelling
Publication Number: 3326011
ISBN: 978-0-549-80120-7
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