Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Denise E. Ross

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard Malott

Third Advisor

Dr. Amanda Karsten

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Brian Martens


Reading, psychology, behavior analysis, education


Struggling older readers often have difficulty with early decoding skills (Tolman, 2005; Toste, Williams, & Capin, 2017). If they are unable to master decoding, they may have difficulty with more complex skills, such as passage reading fluency. The current study extends research on reading fluency for older students by evaluating the combined effects of a phonics procedure and a fluency-building strategy on their reading fluency. Participants were older students with below grade level reading performance who had deficits in oral reading fluency and decoding. Dependent variables were the number of correctly sorted word patterns and the number of correct words per minute read in a passage and on a word list. During the intervention, a modified word sort procedure was used to train students to sort and read words containing the target word patterns. Following the initial word sort procedure, fluency building was employed by training word reading to a fluency criterion. Connected text passages were used to assess participants’ fluency when reading passages that contained the word pattern. A multiple-probe design across responses was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of the intervention on the decoding skills and oral reading fluency of participants.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access