Opening new vistas on reading instruction: the power of combining theories in order to improve effectiveness of teaching students with autism to read

This qualitative study documented the impact four reading interventions had on increasing the levels of comprehension of four students with Autism, two first graders and two second graders. Each student heard and responded to three stories, six times each. The first reading was to obtain baseline information and was implemented without interventions; one reading implementing each of the four interventions and a recall/retell intervention one week later, after all stories and interventions had been completed. All reading responses were scored according to a rubric created by the researcher and all responses WE're transcribed on a Data Collection Matrix and into graph format. The Aualyses focused on Mean Performance on the Scoring Rubrics Across All Students; Performance Level of each Student, including percent correct responses by sessions; Comprehension performance on the rubric by Intervention, and Comprehension performance on the rubric by Story. The results suggest that each student had a variety of increases and decreases as individuals, but when the Interventions were compared to one another, the Intervention that allowed for student choice for comprehension demonstration, including kinesthetic activities, was the most effective. An increase was also indicated by sessions as the study progressed. There were no significant differences found when performance of comprehension was analyzed by story. Observational data collected during reading sessions indicates differences in the nature of listening and responding behavior for each student, as well as indicating individual learning preferences.