Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Sherry K. Bain

Committee Members

Christopher Skinner, Robert Williams, Mark Hector


The number of students in the United States for whom English is not their first language is increasing. As reading is integral to most classes taught in school, limited English reading proficiency can hinder students from succeeding academically. It is important to identify effective methods for quickly improving these students’ English reading skills.

The purpose of the present study was to determine whether a taped-words intervention using Dolch words would improve the reading skills of young, non-native English-speakers. Specifically, the goal was to discover whether the intervention would help to increase the students’ word list reading fluency and accuracy. A secondary goal was to investigate the relationship between the intervention and passage reading fluency, reading comprehension, and phonemic awareness.

The participants in the study were three general education first-grade students for whom English was not the first language. A multiple-baseline across word sets design was used to evaluate the intervention. The study consisted of a taped-words intervention. For the intervention, the students listened to a recording of one of three sets of 19 words read five times in different orders. While they listened, they followed along with printed word lists, reading each word with, or before, the recording. After each intervention session, the students were assessed on the set of words to which they had just listened. The same assessment procedures were used to collect baseline, intervention, and maintenance data. The same intervention and assessment procedures were followed across all three word sets. The researcher also assessed the students on passage reading fluency, reading comprehension, and phonemic awareness.

The results suggested that the taped-words intervention improved the word-list reading fluency and accuracy of two of the students. The third student had stronger reading skills than the others from the beginning, and the intervention had less effect on her reading performance. An analysis of secondary data suggests a possible relationship between the intervention and phonemic awareness. More research is needed to investigate the relationship between the taped-words intervention and reading fluency and comprehension as well as to further explore the possible link between the intervention and phonemic awareness.

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