Integrating technology into the reading curriculum: Acquisition, implementation, and evaluation of a reading program with a technology component (READ 180™) for struggling readers
Joyce Simmons Denman, University of Delaware, United States
University of Delaware . Awarded
Struggling readers present a dilemma that has existed in education since the beginning of public schooling. Technology can enhance our efforts to meet the diverse needs of students who struggle. However, quickly developed ancillary programs that are not evidence-based on sound reading practices provide only an interesting distraction and soon lose their appeal. Technology needs to be integrated into reading curriculums in a way that becomes part of the daily routine of learning.
This study provides an independent evaluation of a reading curriculum with a technology component (i.e. READ 180™) that was designed for struggling older readers. Using surveys, focus groups, student interviews, classroom observations, and pre and post testing, two groups of students (experimental and control) were compared. Attitudes and achievement in reading were measured. At William Henry Middle School students who participated with the READ 180™ program for one school year developed more positive attitudes toward reading and increased achievement levels (on average) one year or more using three testing measures. In general, they outperformed the control group and performed as well as, and in some cases better than, the norm. For typically underachieving students to make progress commensurate to one year (as was the case for the experimental group) is a measure of success. This research identifies low motivation, low confidence, and different learning preferences as three major obstacles that face our struggling readers. The technology component and the READ 180™ protocol directly and indirectly address these issues through a variety of embedded routines and practices.
In alliance with the “No Child Left Behind” legislation, implementation of the READ 180™ program in grades 5–12 would provide an organized framework and continuity of instruction using best practices for some of our neediest children. Crucial for successful investiture of the program are several factors that are systemic in nature: leadership with a vision, ongoing professional development, on-site technology support, sustainability scheme, and an evaluation plan for accountability purposes. These factors can be nurtured through the formation of a vertically aligned council established for the exclusive purpose of maintaining a quality learning environment for students who struggle.
Denman, J.S. Integrating technology into the reading curriculum: Acquisition, implementation, and evaluation of a reading program with a technology component (READ 180™) for struggling readers. Ph.D. thesis, University of Delaware.
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