Gelzheiser and Colleagues Awarded Struggling Readers Intervention Grant

Albany, NY (March 7, 2011) - Lynn Gelzheiser, Educational and Counseling Psychology/Child Research and Study Center, and her School of Education colleagues, Kevin Quinn, Educational and Counseling Psychology; Donna Scanlon, Reading/Child Research and Study Center; Frank Vellutino, Educational and Counseling Psychology/Child Research and Study Center; and Glenn Deane of Sociology, received $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, for research aimed at assisting struggling readers. The four-year project will investigate the effectiveness of the Interactive Strategies Approach-Extended (ISA-X) as a small group reading intervention for intermediate-grade struggling readers.

Lynn Gelzheiser“Literacy is so central to the success of students in school and in their lives. I am thrilled that this program for struggling readers earned support,” said Dean Robert Bangert-Drowns.

Gelzheiser and her colleagues will conduct research in three school districts in the greater Capital Region. Teachers from these schools will participate in workshop-format professional development, attend group follow-up sessions, and receive individual coaching. Teachers will provide the ISA-X intervention, which includes emphasis on the development of interactive use of code and meaning-based strategies for word identification, collaborative discussion of texts, and the use of thematically related texts to develop background knowledge to support the reading of more challenging texts.

Participants in the study will include struggling readers in grades 3 and 4 who have adequate cognitive ability and below average scores in reading comprehension. They will be drawn from the schools’ students with reading individualized education program (IEP) goals and students receiving supplemental reading instruction.

“There is still much to be learned about how to best help intermediate-grade readers to improve their reading accuracy and comprehension,” said Gelzheiser. “We are excited to have the opportunity to be conducting a study that has the potential to contribute to the solution of this important problem.”

Gelzheiser conducted small group pilot research with seed money from the University at Albany Faculty Research Award Program (FRAP) last year. The goal of this research  was to demonstrate the feasibility of the ISA-X in a small group setting. The new project follows previous research in which the ISA-X was provided as a one-to-one intervention for older struggling readers.