The Effects of a Literacy Intervention Program on Primary-Grade Children in Schools in Low-Income Neighbourhoods in Canada

By Lily Dyson, Mariel Miller and Monique Gagne.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

To respond to the urgent need to improve foundational literacy skills in children from low-income homes, this study provided an intervention program to increase the reading skills of children in schools located in low-income neighborhoods. The participants were 305 children, grade 1 through grade 3, from three schools in low-income neighborhoods in a medium-size Canadian city. The children were divided into two groups: an experimental group (n = 221) that received an intervention program whose objective was to raise literacy skills and a control group (n = 84) that received only regular classroom instruction in literacy. With the collaboration of school and university researchers, the intervention program consisted of 2 elements: (a) modified regular reading instruction conducted by the classroom teacher and (b) supplementary reading instruction delivered by university student tutors. The supplementary reading instruction was administered in 20-30-minute sessions 3 times per week, totaling 60 minutes per week (weekly session), in small groups of 2-3 children. Tutoring focused on reading fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension and served to complement the classroom instruction. The results indicated the effectiveness of this intervention program along two factors: (a) a duration of more than 20 weekly tutoring sessions, totaling 60 minutes per week (weekly session), and (b) the participation of readers with an initial low reading performance. Implications for further intervention and research are suggested.

Keywords: Literacy, Elementary Schoold, Children, Poverty/Low-Income, Intervention, Effect, Canada

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp.85-92. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 527.426KB).

Dr. Lily Dyson

Professor, Faculty of Education, University of Victoria, Canada

Lily Dyson is a Professor of Special Education and Educational Psychology. She has a wide range of research interest which includes intellectual disability, learning disability, families of children with disabilities, and cross-cultural psychology. Her current research focuses on literacy as related to child poverty or low-income.

Mariel Miller

Graduate Student, Educational Psychology & leadership Studies, University of Victoria, Canada

Mariel was a research assistant and tutor for the project.

Monique Gagne

Graduate Student, Department of Educational Psychology and Counselling, University of Victoria, Canada

Monique was a research assistant and tutor for the project.


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