There is insufficient research-based data on remedial interventions for children and adolescents who do not receive early interventions or receive them and show persistent reading difficulties. This is especially true for students who are English learners (Els), where there is relatively little research addressing Els in middle schools at a point when their reading problems are significantly disabling and presage adverse academic and behavioral outcomes associated with reading disabilities. Consistent with the RFA, we focus on Els as a group that is historically underserved and at a time in their development when it is possible to deliver reading comprehension interventions sufficiently intense to ameliorate a host of adverse outcomes. From a scientific perspective, the focus on persistent reading difficulties in any sociodemographic subgroup is important given the small effects associated with remedial interventions, which is compounded by the lack of research on adolescent Els.
Aim 1 determines the efficacy of reading comprehension interventions integrating attention and self-regulation practices for Els in Grades 7 and 8 with persistent reading difficulties. Building on previous intervention studies we have conducted with students in Grades 4 through 8 over the past 10 years111, we propose a longitudinal, double-cohort design utilizing a randomized control trial assigning students to supplemental reading intervention or a ?business as usual? control condition (i.e., Cohort 1 ? Years 1 and 2; 205 students in treatment and 205 in control condition; Cohort 2 ? Years 3 and 4; 205 students in treatment and 205 in control condition; total 410 in each condition). Students in each cohort will be treated for 2 years (i.e., 7th and 8th grade) and then followed for one year (9th grade).
Aim 2 determines the impact of co- occurring conditions such as attention problems and English language proficiency on a range of student outcomes including reading-related outcomes, math outcomes, and writing outcomes.
Aim 3 examines student characteristics and contextual factors associated with response to intervention as a means of informing treatment decisions, and to determine the extent to which response to intervention can be predicted initially and longitudinally from students' characteristics (e.g., attention) and contextual factors (e.g., teachers' knowledge, school effectiveness ratings). Project 3 (Intervention) is closely tied by its longitudinal design to Projects 2-5, including the epigenetic focus of Project 5 (Epigenetics), and conceptually to Project 1 (Integration), with its focus on syntheses of intervention practices and reciprocal cross-project analyses. It is expected that this robust model of examining the efficacy of improving reading comprehension and outcomes primarily for reading and secondarily for writing for students in the middle grades will yield high impact on instructional practices for remediating reading difficulties generally, and specifically in Els.
Project 3 is relevant because of its focus on understudied groups (e.g., English learners, secondary students with intractable reading comprehension problems) and domains relevant to reading comprehension that are understudied in rigorous experimental studies, (e.g., self-regulation, attention, cognitive functioning). It represents translational research that immediately informs the practice community by identifying instructional practices and approaches associated with improved outcomes in reading comprehension maximizing student outcomes through improved instructional characterization of response to intervention (RTI; see Project 1) and determining malleable cognitive processes influence on comprehension- related outcomes, focusing on a diverse student group with previously intractable reading difficulties.
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