Association for Behavior Analysis International

The Association for Behavior Analysis International® (ABAI) is a nonprofit membership organization with the mission to contribute to the well-being of society by developing, enhancing, and supporting the growth and vitality of the science of behavior analysis through research, education, and practice.


50th Annual Convention; Philadelphia, PA; 2024

Event Details

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Symposium #233
CE Offered: BACB
Empirical Evaluations in Reading: Preference, Stimulus Control, and Generality
Sunday, May 26, 2024
10:00 AM–10:50 AM
Marriott Downtown, Level 5, Grand Ballroom Salon F
Area: EDC; Domain: Applied Research
Chair: Tom Cariveau (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
CE Instructor: Tom Cariveau, Ph.D.
Abstract: Proficient reading is a paramount goal of elementary education. Despite decades of research on methods to assess and teach the necessary reading-related repertoires, recent reports suggest that more than one-third of all fourth-grade students are unable to read at a basic level. Behavior analysts are poised to contribute to the science and practice of effective reading instruction in several ways. This symposium includes three presentations by researchers contributing to the refinement of targeted reading interventions. Each will report on methods to improve the efficacy or social validity of instructional practices in school-based settings. The first paper will describe a systematic approach to teach generalized phoneme blending to children exhibiting reading challenges. The second paper will describe an evaluation of the timing of repeated reading opportunities in a small group setting. The final paper will describe methods to overcome common stimulus control topographies exhibited by early readers. Across each presentation, topics relevant to research in applied contexts and skill acquisition programming more broadly are emphasized.
Instruction Level: Basic
Keyword(s): reading, stimulus control
Target Audience: Master's-level students; doctoral-level students; researchers; practitioners
Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to: (1) identify possible relations between phonemic awareness skills such as phoneme blending and phoneme segmenting; (2) describe how the timing of interventions may impact efficacy and learner preference; and (3) describe methods to remediate overselective responding during reading tasks.
A Systematic Approach to Establish Generalized Phoneme Blending in Children Exhibiting Reading Deficits
ALEXANDRIA BROWN (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Tom Cariveau (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: Although reading seemingly involves only responding to text on a page, many other skills have been shown to facilitate reading performances. One critical skill is phonemic awareness which represents a generalized auditory discrimination repertoire in which a learner can vocally respond with the individual phonemes when presented with the word (i.e., phoneme segmentation) or vocally emit the word when provided with the individual phonemes (i.e., phoneme blending). Despite the relevance of phonemic awareness to early reading, behavior analytic research on phonemic awareness or, more generally, the discrimination of complex auditory stimuli is lacking. The purpose of the current study was to (1) evaluate the efficacy of a stimulus control shaping procedure for establishing phoneme blending skills with students exhibiting reading challenges, (2) evaluate the effects of multiple exemplar training on generalized phoneme blending, and (3) extend previous research on the number of exemplars necessary to produce generalized performance in humans by arranging an incrementing set size. By evaluating the relationship between set size and generalized performances and by assessing the efficacy of an errorless teaching method for establishing phoneme blending skills, the results from the current study may inform best practices for establishing generalized phonemic awareness skills in early learners.
Effects of and Preference for the Timing of Repeated Reading on Elementary Students' Reading Fluency
KRISTEN NEWELL (Louisiana State University), Scott P. Ardoin (UGA Center for Autism and Behavioral Education Research), Jeanne M. Donaldson (Louisiana State University)
Abstract: Interventions that target both class engagement and academic skills may decrease the likelihood of future reading difficulties in elementary students, amongst other academic deficits. Repeated reading (RR) can be used as either a preteaching or review strategy to increase overall fluency and comprehension, but the timing of when the intervention is arranged may be important for increasing active student responding (ASR) during class. In this study, we examined how the timing of an RR intervention, as either preparation for or review of reading material, affects ASR during a small group of fourth-grade students. Additionally, we investigated student preference for RR as an intervention and when it was delivered. For all 3 participants, the percentage of ASR was variable across baseline, review, and preteaching conditions; there were no significant differences in ASR across conditions. For all 3 participants, oral reading fluency (ORF) accuracy during small group was consistently higher for the passage that the participant practiced during the preteaching intervention in comparison to baseline, review, or preteaching conditions. All 3 participants selected the preteaching condition most frequently during the choice phase. These findings are consistent with literacy research demonstrating that repeated reading increases oral reading fluency of the practiced passage.
Methods to Remediate or Prevent the Picture-Text Problem in At-Risk Readers
TAYLOR LEWIS (University of North Carolina Wilmington), Tom Cariveau (University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Abstract: Early reading environments are dominated by the simultaneous presentation of pictures and text. Such arrangements have repeatedly been shown to impede the development of textual control for some readers. Previous research attempting to remediate control by the picture element has manipulated the text size or brightness of the picture; nevertheless, presenting the text alone has been shown to be superior to any picture-text arrangement. To date, no previous research on picture-text compounds has required that the learner differentially respond to the underselected (i.e., textual) element. In the current study, we evaluated the efficacy of three picture-text arrangements for children exhibiting reading deficits. Across all conditions the text either appeared (1) alone, (2) with a single representational picture, or (3) with an array of compound stimulus prompts. In the latter condition, the learner was required to differentially respond to the textual element of the compound to respond correctly. Efficiency of sight-word acquisition was compared across conditions. Participant preference for conditions was also assessed following mastery using a concurrent-chains preference assessment.



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