Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Reading (Elementary);


An examination of the grade-equivalent scores attained in vocabulary and reading comprehension by third-grade pupils at Hudson Community School on the Iowa Test of Basic Skills over the preceding four-year period revealed that many of the pupils were seriously retarded in reading. During this period a total of 210 third-grade pupils were tested. Thirty-one per cent of these pupils scored one or more years below the norm for Iowa third-grade pupils in vocabulary, and the same level of retardation was true in reading comprehension for twenty-seven per cent of these pupils.

Most of these pupils had been taught beginning reading through the use of Scott, Foresman basal readers. In an attempt to improve instruction in this area, a search for better instructional materials was initiated. Although their effectiveness had not been adequately researched, the Sullivan Associates, Incorporated, Programmed Readers, published by McGraw-Hill Book Company, seemed promising as a vehicle for beginning reading instruction. Their programed format, as well as the fact that they appeared to embody many of the ideas of prominent linguists with regard to how pupils should be taught to read, made them seem a logical choice for experimental investigation.

Early in the 1967-1968 school year, the forty-four first-grade pupils were divided into two groups, matched on the basis of all factors known to affect progress in learning to read. They were then randomly designated as control- or experimental-group members. Scott, Foresman basal readers and related materials were used to instruct the members of the control group; the Sullivan Associates programed readers were used with the experimental group. This experiment began on September 18, 1967, and each group received two hours of reading instruction daily for 150 days.

Early in May, 1968, these forty-four pupils were administered the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test, the Gilmore Oral Reading Test, and the Stanford Achievement Test (except the arithmetic sub-test). One or more of these tests measured achievement in word recognition, paragraph meaning, vocabulary, spelling, word study skills, accuracy, and comprehension.

The mean of the scores of the experimental-group pupils exceeded the mean of the scores of control-group pupils on every sub-test except paragraph meaning of the Stanford Achievement Test. This mean difference favoring the control group was not statistically significant. The only mean difference favoring the experimental group which was significant at the .05 level of confidence was for scores attained on the comprehension sub-test of the Gilmore Oral Reading Test. The validity of this difference was rendered questionable, since there was no significant difference obtained for the comprehension sub-test of the Gates-MacGinitie Test.

The null hypothesis that there would be no significant difference in the scores attained by these two groups was therefore accepted. Based upon the results of this study, it was concluded that neither method proved superior for the teaching of first-grade reading.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Educational Psychology, Foundations, and Leadership Studies


Department of Education and Psychology

First Advisor

Glen R. Hastings


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Date Original


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