The effects of direct decoding instruction on the reading comprehension of 4th grade struggling readers in a resource services program (RSP) setting

Most students learn to read with ease in the general education classroom, responding to the reading curriculum provided. There are, however, a few who struggle and do not progress in their acquisition of basic reading skills: pre-reading skills, word identification, fluency and comprehension. With the changes in state and federal laws in the 1990s, teachers and schools are required to meet the challenge of teaching these students in the least restrictive environment. These students need instruction that is more individualized, multi-sensory, systematic, sequential, repetitive, and intensive to learn to read. This type of instruction is referred to as "direct instruction". Many direct instruction programs focus on developing reading fluency. This study looks at the progress made in reading comprehension during the academic year by four students with Individual Education Plans, using a direct instruction reading program, SRA Corrective Reading, Word Attack and Decoding Basics. As a result of the direct instruction program, all four of the students made greater grade equivalent progress in reading comprehension than in previous years. KEYWORDS: direct instruction, struggling learners, fluency, comprehension