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Effects of the Interactive Strategies Approach Extended


Gelzheiser, Lynn M., et al. “Effects of the Interactive Strategies Approach--Extended.” The Elementary School Journal, vol. 112 no. 2, 2011, pp. 280-306.

(This article is freely available through the ERIC database on BadgerLink)


This study evaluated an intervention for 4th grade struggling readers who had not responded to classroom and small group intervention. 4th-grade students are highlighted here as a nod to the more difficult nature of implementing really good interventions for such a heterogeneous group of readers based on larger differences in skills, strategies, and background knowledge. Researchers evaluated the Interactive Strategies Approach-Extended intervention through the use of thematically-linked texts in students’ social studies curriculum, addressing motivation, alphabetic knowledge, vocabulary, and comprehension. It is important to note that instructional activities varied for different students and often changed during the intervention based on their progress.

Students from three different districts in Albany, New York received the intervention in either the fall (N=26) or spring (N=22) semesters, alongside a control group. Teachers were provided professional development on the intervention with the following goals: motivation, alphabetics, word learning, high-frequency words, vocabulary and language, and comprehension. Myriad pre and post assessments were given alongside teacher-generated assessments and observations. Each struggling reader received one-to-one reading instruction based on his/her reader profile.

Findings show statistically significant effects on several aspects of reading, including basic reading skills, accuracy, and comprehension. There was also an indicator that because the texts used focused on social studies curriculum, there was a positive effect on social studies vocabulary. The biggest finding, however, surrounds the large effects on comprehension from this intervention, as opposed to other interventions that have been studied with similar student populations.

Classroom Application

Educators may find the fact that this intervention is built upon individual reader profiles based on assessment and observational data helpful. Students received one-to-one intervention instruction and interventions could be changed based on individual students’ progress, as opposed to a scripted or prepackaged program.