Adult-mediated reading instruction for third through fifth grade children with reading difficulties

This dissertation examined the efficacy of using minimally trained college undergraduates to tutor third- through fifth-grade students with reading difficulties. Tutors receiving four hours of training in scripted reading program based on the principles of Direct Instruction and emphasizing explicit instruction in phonological awareness and decoding. Thirty-six students from two elementary schools in a large southeastern city in the United States were selected and randomly assigned to treatment (tutoring) or contrast (non-tutoring) conditions. Treatment students received an average of fourteen and a half hours of tutoring over a twelve-week period. Data indicated that university students with minimal training successfully implemented the scripted tutoring package with experimenter feedback. Although, significant differences were only found for word identification, the treatment students out gained the contrast students on all measures. Effect sizes were moderate to strong. In addition, separate data for regular and special education students indicated statistically significant differences on two measures on two measures of fluency (correct words per minute read) for regular education treatment students over regular education control students. The efficacy of using minimally trained adult tutors to supplement classroom reading instruction for students with reading difficulties is also discussed.
Authors citation
Lachney, R. P.
LSU Doctoral Dissertations
Year of Study
Program Evaluated
Trained college students
Tutor Type
12 weeks
Sample size
Grade Level(s)
3rd Grade,
4th Grade,
5th Grade
Student-Tutor Ratio
Effect Size
Study Design
Randomized Controlled Trial
Lachney, R. P. (2002). Adult-mediated reading instruction for third through fifth grade children with reading difficulties. LSU Doctoral Dissertations.