Proceedings of The 4th International Conference on Advanced Research in Social Sciences
The Effects of Consistently Reading Whole Novels On The Reading Comprehension of Adolescents with Developmental Disabilities
Konstantinos Rizos, Pierre Brocas
This study was conducted to test the effects of introducing a consistent pace and volume of reading whole narratives on adolescents’ reading comprehension with a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The study is a replication of the ‘Just reading’: increasing pace and volume of reading whole narratives on the comprehension of poorer adolescent readers in English classrooms’ study by Westbrook et al (2017). The setting was a Free Special Education Needs school in England. Nine male and one female student, between 11-13 years old, across two classrooms participated in the study. All students had a diagnosis of ASD, and all were classified as advanced learners. The classroom teachers introduced reading a whole challenging novel in 12 weeks with consistency as the independent variable. The study used a quasiexperimental before-and-after design of testing the participants’ reading comprehension using standardized tests. The participants made a remarkable 1.8 years’ mean progress on the standardised tests of reading comprehension, with three participants making 4+ years progress. The researchers hypothesise that reading novels aloud and at a fast pace in each lesson, that are challenging but appropriate to the participants’ learning level, may have a beneficial effect on the reading comprehension of adolescents with learning difficulties, giving them a more engaged uninterrupted reading experience over a sustained period. However, more studies need to be conducted to test the independent variable across a bigger and more diverse population.
keywords: Autism, reading comprehension, developmental disabilities, narrative.