The Impact of a Text-Reader Support Program on Intermediate Students' Reading Comprehension
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This study examined the efficacy of providing four Grade 7 and 8 students with reading difficulties with explicit instruction in the use of reading comprehension strategies while using text-reader software. Specifically, the study explored participants' combined use of a text-reader and question-answering comprehension strategy during a 6-week instructional program. Using a qualitative case study methodology approach, participants' experiences using text-reader software, with the presence of explicit instruction in evidence-based reading comprehension strategies, were examined. The study involved three phases: (a) the first phase consisted of individual interviews with the participants and their parents; (b) the second phase consisted of a nine session course; and (c) the third phase consisted of individual exit interviews and a focus group discussion. After the data collection phases were completed, data were analyzed and coded for emerging themes, with-quantitativ,e measures of participants' reading performance used as descriptive data. The data suggested that assistive technology can serve as an instructional "hook", motivating students to engage actively in the reading processes, especially when accompanied by explicit strategy instruction. Participants' experiences also reflected development of strategy use and use of text-reader software and the importance of social interactions in developing reading comprehension skills. The findings of this study support the view that the integration of instruction using evidence-based practices are important and vital components in the inclusion oftext-reader software as part of students' educational programming. Also, the findings from this study can be extended to develop in-class programming for students using text-reader software.