Reading programs are essential to develop a wide range of learning skills in students. The critical criteria with which the programs help are phonemic perception, phonetics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. All these parameters are necessary for the normal development of an individual. At the moment, there are many theories and outcomes aimed at meeting the students’ needs. However, scientists continue developing and testing extra features since the problem has not been fully resolved. Haymon and Wilson note, “Students’ struggles with reading comprehension potentially are due to a lack of individualized reading instruction that adheres to academic needs while remaining commensurate with individual reading levels over time” (p. 74). A child who reads constantly improves his skills automatically, but some cases require a unique approach.
Particular attention should be paid to children with disabilities, because in addition to poor academic performance, they are prone to bad behavior. Research shows that in some cases, teachers pay less attention to students who exhibit destructive behavior in the classroom (Sinclair et al., 2019). This approach does not solve the problem, hence it is necessary to find alternative ways to motivate students. There are many reading programs at the moment, some of which are aimed at group lessons. For example, Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies involves dividing students into two-level groups (Sinclair et al., 2019). The idea is that peers help lagging pupils in a more relaxed manner. Further, learners with disabilities show the best results in independent work. This theory is influential but insufficient for the entire education of children with incapacities.
An essential parameter in working with students is their interest in the required reading. Curiosity is based on the student’s aptitude for specific subjects and the material understanding. Children with learning disabilities find it difficult to concentrate, and they are constantly distracted by external factors or outside thoughts. As a consequence, this leads to a misunderstanding of the text. For such cases, a more detailed, simple, and consistent topic analysis is required. Solis et al. (2011) note, strategies like sequential process, self-questioning, mnemonics, and graphic organizers can help improve academic performance. It means a more straightforward presentation of information to understand the meaning and not lose interest in the learning process.An integrated approach to meeting the emotional and mental needs of students with disabilities is a crucial component of dealing with the problem.
Reading motivation is a parameter that can be influenced. According to a study by Melekoglu (2011), tests of students with and without disabilities showed different improvement results. Struggling readers are more motivated to achieve grade average or above, while average students show little increasing progress. From this statement, it can be concluded that students with disabilities want to fight their illness with the right approach. Researchers and teachers need to do more research to analyze needs and ways to help those in need. An assimilated attitude with a detailed analysis and literature selection according to the level and the colleagues help are a good start, which requires further development in the form of systematic application.
At the moment, the best way to develop a habit and constantly analyze the result is to work with electronic reading programs. One of the newer reading programs is Achieve 3000, and it is a decent option as it contains many features. Teachers using this software can give students reading problems of varying difficulty, evaluate and help improve the results. Thus, “in the same class, learners can read the same popular science article, adjusted in accordance with their assessed lexical level” (Bippert & Harmon, 2016). This approach is correct for two reasons, students receive the same material in meaning and learn according to their abilities. This study aims to determine the percentage improvement in the achievement of high school students with disabilities and their competence to equal the average student using the Achieve 3000.
Data Collection and Analysis
This research can only be carried out by observing and recording the reading results of students with and without disabilities for six months. The methodology does not imply the influence of various social factors such as race, ethnicity, economic status, and others. It is worth noting that work to improve the performance of struggling readers is a complex measure, and in this case, the impact of only third-party intervention in the form of the Achieve 3000 reading program is considered. The result is measured in lexiles; It is expressed in reading difficulty or student level.
Data gathering procedures
Suppose that the study involved high school students (grades 6-8). The sample comprises 20 students, 12 with disabilities and eight regular students. Comparing results to averages is a critical factor in assessing progress and the likelihood of solving a problem. Table 1 presents the initial performance data for all students. For ease of reference, students with disabilities are highlighted in pink and regular students in blue.
Table 1. Initial data.
|№||User name||Lexile at the beginning (L)|
Table 1 shows that the results of the students vary greatly, the smallest is 725L, and the largest is 1230L. The difference is more than 1.5 times, which obviously requires outside intervention.
Data assessment/ Progress monitoring results
The system tested students for six months, after which it became possible to see the overall report and the percentage of improvements. Table 2 provides details.
Table 2. Avg scores and results.
|№||User name||Lexile at the beginning (L)||Total logins||Activities||Avg weekly activities||Activity avg score||Program hours||Lexile after 6 month (L)||Improvement percentage|
Table 2 shows approximately the same improvement results for children with and without disabilities. Let us consider the information in more detail in Chart 1.
The graph confirms the data in the table that the percentage of improvement is the same for all students.
Conclusions and implications
This research has shown that working with the Achieve 3000 program does not affect the performance of children with disabilities. According to the study, a comprehensive approach is required for skilled performance with special needs. However, the program fulfills its function and helps all children to improve their performance. It is also helpful for teachers and the education system as a whole, because it helps to store all the needed information in detail for further research or portfolio.
The direction of further research is a more extended observation period and sample. The results may not be relevant because the sample size is too small. Additionally, socio-economic factors are vital points that can play a role. These include ethnicity, religion, family income, school location, and others.
Bippert, K., & Harmon, J. (2016). Middle school teachers’ perceptions of Computer-Assisted reading intervention programs. Reading Psychology, 38(2), 203–230. Web.
Haymon, C., & Wilson, A. (2020). Differentiated reading instruction with technology for advanced middle school students’ reading achievement. Journal of Educational Research and Practice, 10(1), 70–89. Web.
Melekoglu, M. A. (2011). Impact of motivation to read on reading gains for struggling readers with and without learning disabilities. Learning Disability Quarterly, 34(4), 248–261. Web.
Sinclair, A. C., Gesel, S. A., & Lemons, C. J. (2019). The effects of Peer-Assisted learning on disruptive behavior and academic engagement. Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, 21(4), 238–248. Web.
Solis, M., Ciullo, S., Vaughn, S., Pyle, N., Hassaram, B., & Leroux, A. (2011). Reading comprehension interventions for middle school students with learning disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 45(4), 327–340. Web.