Evaluating the Impact of a Multistrategy Inference Intervention for Middle-Grade Struggling Readers Purpose We examined the effectiveness of a multistrategy inference intervention designed to increase inference making and reading comprehension for middle-grade struggling readers. Method A total of 66 middle-grade struggling readers were randomized to treatment (n = 33) and comparison (n = 33) conditions. Students in the treatment group ... Research Article
Research Article  |   January 01, 2017
Evaluating the Impact of a Multistrategy Inference Intervention for Middle-Grade Struggling Readers
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Amy E. Barth
    Department of Special Education, University of Missouri–Columbia
  • Amy Elleman
    Department of Elementary and Special Education, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro
  • Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication.
    Disclosure: The authors have declared that no competing interests existed at the time of publication. ×
  • Correspondence to Amy E. Barth, who is now at Buena Vista University, Storm Lake, IA: barth@bvu.edu
  • Editor: Sean Redmond
    Editor: Sean Redmond×
  • Associate Editor: Cynthia Puranik
    Associate Editor: Cynthia Puranik×
Article Information
Development / School-Based Settings / Research Issues, Methods & Evidence-Based Practice / Research Articles
Research Article   |   January 01, 2017
Evaluating the Impact of a Multistrategy Inference Intervention for Middle-Grade Struggling Readers
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2017, Vol. 48, 31-41. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-16-0041
History: Received May 8, 2016 , Accepted June 20, 2016
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, January 2017, Vol. 48, 31-41. doi:10.1044/2016_LSHSS-16-0041
History: Received May 8, 2016; Accepted June 20, 2016

Purpose We examined the effectiveness of a multistrategy inference intervention designed to increase inference making and reading comprehension for middle-grade struggling readers.

Method A total of 66 middle-grade struggling readers were randomized to treatment (n = 33) and comparison (n = 33) conditions. Students in the treatment group received explicit instruction in 4 inference strategies (i.e., clarification using text clues; activating and using prior knowledge; understanding character perspectives and author's purpose; answering inferential questions). In addition, narrative and informational texts were carefully chosen and sequenced to build requisite background knowledge to form inferences. Intervention was delivered in small groups of 3 students for 10 days of instruction.

Results One-way analysis of covariance models on outcome measures with the respective pretest scores as a covariate revealed significant gains on a proximal measure of Egyptian-content knowledge (g = 1.37) and on a standardized measure of reading comprehension—i.e., Wechsler Individual Achievement Test–Third Edition Reading Comprehension (g = 0.46).

Conclusion The moderate effect on a standardized measure of reading comprehension provides preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of this multistrategy inference intervention in improving reading comprehension of middle-grade struggling readers.

Acknowledgments
This research was supported by Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development Grant K08 HD068545-01A1 (awarded to Amy E. Barth). The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the institute.
The authors wish to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of the staff and students at Columbia Public Schools–Oakland Middle School and the assistance of Drs. Danielle Johnson and Helen Porter.
The intervention was designed by Amy Elleman. This study represents a collaborative effort, with both authors serving as primary authors of the article.
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