Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Denise E. Ross

Second Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Malott

Third Advisor

Dr. Kelly T. Kohler

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Luchara Wallace


Reading motivation, reading engagement, conditioned reinforcement, peer yoked contingency, sustained silent reading, comprehension


Research suggests that secondary students with reading delays may lack reading motivation, which can be defined as the temporal reinforcement value of texts for an individual. However, reading motivation may be a critical component of their acquisition of reading proficiency. The purpose of the current study was to compare the effects of two research-based reading interventions - sustained silent reading and modified reciprocal reading - on the reading motivation of middle school students with reading delays. Participants were four 6th-grade students who were grouped into dyads in a reading intervention classroom. The primary dependent variable was book engagement under pairing and test conditions. Book engagement was defined as the percentage of time during which participants contacted or manipulated pages of books, made eye movements from left to right and top to bottom on pages of books, flipped pages, and talked about books. The secondary dependent variable was the number of correct responses on a written comprehension check. Reading interventions were 10 minutes of sustained silent reading and 10 minutes of a modified reciprocal reading procedure that included stimulus-stimulus pairing, a yoked contingency, and feedback from a teacher. An alternating treatment design with baseline and a final treatment phase was used to evaluate the effects of the two treatments. Results indicated that sustained silent reading increased reading engagement for two participants and that reciprocal reading increased reading engagement for two participants. Results are discussed in terms of existing research and extensions to reading instruction for middle school students with reading delays.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access