Thesis Title

A Case Study: The Effects of Intervention on a Struggling First-Grade Reader

Graduation Date

Winter 2009

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Document Form


Degree Name

Master of Science

Program Name


Program Director

Lisa Ray Kelly


This study is an early reading intervention case study of a first-grade student struggling to learn how to read. This student was selected from a charter school in Northern California with the purpose of studying the process and effects of early intervention. The student’s progress was monitored using the Beginning Phonics Skills Test (BPST) (Shefelbine, 1996) and the CORE Phoneme Segmentation Test (CORE, 1999). The results revealed that the student was unable to segment phonemes and was lacking knowledge of digraphs. Behavior data collected revealed that the student had difficulty in focusing attention on the teacher and staying on-task. The student had many instances of not wanting to be on-task. Forcing the student to do tasks caused negative behavior. Behavior modifications used indicated that the student became more engaged in learning with positive reinforcements and connecting the lesson to what the child’s environment. This kept the student on-task and progressing in reading. Teaching strategies that were successful were phoneme segmentation with finger-to-thumb tapping and systematic phonics instruction with daily drills in letter and digraph sounds. Behavior modifications that worked included giving praise, using connections to child s background, and sticker charts. At the end of the study the data clearly displayed progress in reading one syllable words, knowing all five short vowel sounds, ten phonemes and all short vowel sounds. The student progressed from struggling to learn beginning phonics and being embarrassed to read to being a confident beginning reader of story books.

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