Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Learning Disabilities


Interdisciplinary and Inclusive Education


College of Education

First Advisor

Xin, Joy

Second Advisor

Davis, Sharon

Third Advisor

Accardo, Amy


Decoding, Oral Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension


Learning disabled children; Individualized reading instruction


Special Education and Teaching


This study evaluates the effects of the Word Study approach on teaching decoding skills, oral reading fluency (ORF), and reading comprehension for students with learning disabilities. Five, 3rd and 4th graders with specific learning disability (SLD) participated in the study. A single subject design with multiple baselines across grade levels with AB phases was used in this study. During the baseline, students were assessed by a spelling inventory and comprehension rubric for 8 weeks. During the intervention, students were taught by lessons developed based on their word patterns with a discussion of words, grouped to complete activities including word sorting, word hunting, and passage reading. Same assessments were provided to evaluate their performance. The results revealed that three of the participants increased their words correct per minute (WCPM) and the other two did not; whereas all five of the participants increased their reading comprehension scores. The Words Their Way program seems to support student learning of both ORF and reading comprehension, and should be considered as an essential component of the elementary curriculum.