Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Special Education and Literacy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Elizabeth Whitten

Second Advisor

Dr. George Haus

Third Advisor

Dr. Alice Woodrow


Audio-assisted reading has been used as an effective instructional intervention for students with learning disabilities (Carbo, 1978; Gilbert, Williams, & McLaughlin, 1996) and with struggling readers (Chomsky, 1976; Hollingsworth, 1978; Hoskisson & Krohm, 1974; Koskinen, Blum, Bisson, Phillips, Creamer, & Baker, 2000; Rasinski, 1990). The strategy involves reading along while listening to an audio recording of a fluent model (Evans, 1997).

The goal of this study was to compare the efficacy of audio-assisted reading with digital audiobooks against the traditional practice of sustained silent reading in terms of reading fluency rates and reading attitude scores with upper elementary students with reading disabilities. Participants in the control group selected literature and read silently for 20-30 minute sessions, four to five times per week. Treatment group participants selected literature from a list of audiobooks and engaged in audio-assisted reading with digital audiobooks downloaded on MP3 players for the same amount of time over an eight-week implementation period.

Students were assessed using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills oral reading fluency measurements and the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey at the onset and conclusion of the study. The results showed that while both groups demonstrated growth in reading fluency, the growth of the treatment group far outweighed that of the control group. There was no significant difference in reading attitude scores. Consequently, teachers can promote increased growth in reading fluency when audio-assisted reading with digital audiobooks is implemented in the place of sustained silent reading for upper elementary students with reading disabilities.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access