Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership


Dr. Michael D. Brooks


The purpose of this dissertation was to add to the limited available research concerning the effectiveness of supplemental reading programs such as Reading First and Direct Instruction on reading achievement for students in elementary and middle grades. Particularly, in the first and third hypotheses, the independent variables were reading program (Direct Instruction versus Reading First) and ethnicity (Hispanic versus Non- Hispanic) on reading comprehension for third and eighth grade students. In the second and fourth hypotheses, the independent variables were reading program (Direct Instruction versus Reading First) and gender (male versus female) on reading comprehension for third and eighth students. The dependent variable was reading comprehension as measured by the Iowa Test of Basic Skills reading subtest scaled scores. A review of the literature identified the various aspects of reading programs, the characteristics of effective programs for reading, and the implications of such programs on reading ability of students.

This causal comparative study was conducted in Southwest Arkansas with grades 3 and 8 in five school districts. The sample for this study included students from one district utilizing Direct Instruction reading and four districts utilizing Reading First. The researcher randomly chose students by grade level, gender, ethnicity, and reading program.

A 2 x 2 factorial ANOVA was used to analyze the data collected for each of the four hypotheses. The results of this study showed no significant interaction effects between students taught with Reading First or Direct Instruction by gender or ethnicity for the four hypotheses. In hypothesis 1, main effect results determined that ethnicity was significant in the third grade, but the findings revealed only a small effect size. Non- Hispanics, on average, showed higher mean scores than Hispanics. In hypotheses 1 and 2, the main effects for reading program were significant at the third grade level but were not at eighth grade level in the last two hypotheses. However, Direct Instruction students showed higher mean scores, on average, at both grade levels than students taught with Reading First.

Many of the studies reviewed revealed findings similar to this study. Some studies revealed a greater difference in gender and ethnicity. Supplemental reading programs may generally affect students' reading ability; however, these findings revealed that programs, when paired with gender or ethnicity, differ little in their influence on reading comprehension.

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