Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. David O. Lyon

Second Advisor

Dr. Howard H. Farris

Third Advisor

Dr. Jack Michael

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Donald P. Sellin


The purpose of the present study was to design and evaluate the effectiveness of a Semi-Programed text for establishing reading and writing skills for Spanish-speaking illiterate adults, and to compare it with the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education Reading and Writing program. Thirty-two male prisoners incarcerated at the Regional Prison of Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico, were randomly assigned to one of four groups: (a) Semi-Programed I; (b) Semi-Programed II; (c) Conventional I; and (d) Conventional II. Subjects of the Semi-Programed Instructional condition groups were taught to read and write with a Semi-Programed text, which was based on the behavioral principles and the characteristics of programed instruction. Subjects of the Conventional groups were exposed to the Mexican Secretariat of Public Education Reading and Writing program which taught literacy skills in a traditional way. A multiple baseline across four sets of textual stimuli (syllables and words) was utilized to assess the reading and writing skills of the four groups during Baseline, Instructional Texts, and Follow-up Conditions. Additional Generalization Pre and Post-test evaluations were taken for the 32 subjects. The data indicate that the Semi-Programed Reading and Writing text was more effective for teaching adult illiterates to read and write than the text recommended by the Secretariat of Public Education. The results show also that the Semi-Programed text promoted not only the acquisition and retention of syllables and words, but facilitated the generalization of these textual repertoires to new reading materials.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access