Developing a universal reading comprehension intervention for mainstream primary schools within areas of social deprivation for children with and without language-learning impairment: a feasibility study

Elspeth McCartney, Jim Boyle, Susan Ellis

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Some children in areas of social deprivation in Scotland have lower reading attainments than neighbouring children in less deprived areas, and also lower spoken language comprehension skills than expected by assessment norms. There is a need to develop effective reading comprehension interventions that fit easily into the school curriculum that can benefit all pupils. A feasibility study of reading comprehension strategies with good evidence of efficacy was undertaken in three mainstream primary schools in an area of social deprivation in west central Scotland, to decide whether further investigation of this intervention was warranted.
Aims were to measure comprehension of spoken language and reading via standardised assessments towards the beginning of the school year (T1) in mainstream primary school classrooms within an area of social deprivation; to have teachers introduce previously-validated text comprehension strategies, and to measure change in reading comprehension outcome measures towards the end of the year (T2).
A pre- and post-intervention cohort design was used. Reading comprehension strategies were introduced to staff in participating schools and used throughout the school year as part of on-going reading instruction. Spoken language comprehension was measured by TROG-2 at T1, and reading progress by score changes T1-T2 on the WIAT-IIUK-T reading comprehension scale.
Forty-seven pupils in five classes in three primary schools took part: 38% had TROG-2 scores below the 10th centile. As a group, children made good reading comprehension progress, with a medium standardised effect size of 0.46. Children with TROG-2 scores below 10%ile had lower mean reading scores than others at T1 and T2, although with considerable overlap. However, TROG-2 did not make a unique contribution to reading progress: children below 10%ile made as much progress as other children. The outcomes suggest this intervention warrants further investigation in larger, controlled, studies.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Language and Communication Disorders
Early online date2 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • reading comprehension
  • intervention
  • primary schools
  • mainstream
  • social deprivation
  • children
  • language-learning impairment

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