Book to the Basics: Systematically Teaching Children to Read


  • Jacey Mitchell MacEwan University


As rates of reading difficulties in middle-school children increase, so does the need for effective interventions. Direct Instruction is an evidence-based approach that uses Applied Behavioral Analysis principles to teach a variety of different topics. For our study, we used the Direct Instruction-based curriculum called ‘Teach Your Child to Read Well’, derived from the Maloney Method, in order to assess its effectiveness at improving the reading abilities of children who have fallen behind their respective grade level for literacy. This curriculum incorporates the basic rules, themes, and strategies of a particular area; systematically presents concepts and new material; clearly communicates goals and expectations; gradually introduces new skills; promotes mastery; and caters to the child’s specific needs and abilities. Participants included three grade-level students, all of whom were underperforming in comparison to their same- grade peers. We used a non-concurrent multiple baseline design where the children acted as their own control. The intervention occurred once a week, for twenty weeks, each for an hour at a time. The number of correct words read per minute was probed during each session. Results are anticipated to show a substantial increase in the number of proper words read per minute for each participant. These data would provide evidence to support the effectiveness of such an intervention and the potential need for more effective strategies to be embedded within our education system.

Department: Psychology

Faculty Mentors: Miranda Macauley and Dr. Russ Powell