Date of Award

4-2001

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)

Department

Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Dr. Robin E. Umber

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of using the Neurological Impress Method to increase fluency and improve reading attitude of three learning disabled fourth graders who had received fluency training by fourth grade tutors. A related purpose was to determine the attitudes and opinions of the tutors and tutees about the NIM tutoring program. The tutees of this study had documented difficulties in reading and each had an IEP. The peer tutors for this study were fluent and expressive readers who were reading above grade level. Both tutors and tutees were part of the same inclusive fourth grade classroom.

This study was conducted using both quantitative and qualitative measures. The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey was administered to learn about the tutees' initial feelings about reading. The researcher also met with the same three subjects to model and describe how the NIM works and why this method would be implemented as part of their reading program. During the third meeting, each student was asked to choose a book at his/her instructional reading level. Each student was timed for one minute on word rate and word accuracy to determine baseline scores. This information was indicated on each student's personal reading fluency graphs. The researcher also met with the peer tutors to describe and model the NIM. The researcher and peer tutors met for three consecutive sessions to practice administering the NIM. Finally, both the tutors and tutees met with the researcher to sign an Agreement of Participation that highlighted the responsibilities of both parties in the study.

The tutees and peer tutors participated in the NIM for 10 minutes per day for 40 sessions. Word rate per minute and word accuracy scores were taken every 10 sessions. The subjects recorded their scores on their personal fluency graphs. Each session was audio taped and observations were noted by the researcher. Subjects were also observed throughout the school day to gather qualitative data concerning the students' attitudes towards reading and the program. Furthermore, the Elementary Reading Attitude Survey was administered to the tutees at the conclusion of the 40 sessions to note any change in attitude towards reading. All subjects were interviewed individually at the end of the study to gather information regarding their feelings about the NIM tutoring program.

Results of the study indicated at least a doubling of word rate per minute for two of the three tutees. The third tutee showed improvement in word rate per minute but, not a strong trend of change (doubling of word rate per minute). At the onset of the study, it was found that all three subjects already had word accuracy scores over 90%. All three tutees showed an improvement in their overall attitude towards reading. The tutees became more confident in their ability to read and demonstrated this confidence by reading more often, sharing books with the class, and by reading a greater variety of materials. Finally, both tutors and tutees revealed that participating in the NIM program was a positive and beneficial experience.

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