Extending the Interactive Strategies Approach to Older Struggling Readers (ISA-X)


The purpose of the project is to develop and test a new approach to intervention with older struggling readers.  This new approach, the ISA-X, integrates two complementary and validated approaches to reading instruction: the Interactive Strategies Approach and Reading Partners.  The ISA-X includes an explicit focus on comprehension, while addressing the needs of struggling readers who continue to have word decoding and word identification difficulties, with reading instruction embedded in the context of learning social studies content.  Students are offered choices of texts, and read texts that are diverse in difficulty level and genre.  The ISA-X also includes a writing component.  By emphasizing teachers as problem solvers, and organizing instruction around literacy goals, the ISA-X is tailored to each student’s needs, as well as provided in a one-to-one format.

Data collection regarding the efficacy of the ISA-X has occurred in 4 school districts in the greater Albany, New York area.  Participants included 100 students, all receiving special education services with reading as a primary area of need.   Half the participants were 4th graders and the other half 7th graders.  

Two research designs were employed.  Half the students in a cohort were randomly assigned to the ISA-X intervention and half to a waitlist control group.  The Fall Intervention group students received 50 40-minute one-to-one tutoring sessions with a trained and supervised ISA-X teacher.  The wait list control group continued to receive their school-provided special education program.   At the conclusion of the Fall Intervention, the wait list control group received the ISA-X intervention.   Outcomes included standardized measures of reading comprehension, word identification, word attack, and fluency. 

Because this is a development project, extensive formative evaluation data were collected as well, to allow on-going analysis of the effectiveness of the intervention, and for the purpose of developing targeted improvements.  Lessons were audio taped and observed by a Lead Teacher, for the purpose of documenting treatment integrity and for identifying needed modifications to the ISA-X.  Selected lessons were video taped, and systematically coded.   During the 2010-2011 year, these data are being analyzed with the purpose of specifying critical component of the ISA-X.

This research is a Development Project in the area of Special Education Reading, Writing, and Language Development funded by the US Department of Education, Institute for Education Sciences. 



The World Within Reach

Donna Scanlon (CRSC) and Jim Butterworth (CASDA) prepare for a webinar on Response to Intervention. Representatives from more than three dozen schools participated in the live webinar event which was sponsored in collaboration with CASDA and the Greater Capital Area Teacher Center.