An examination of a reading intervention provided to youth involved in a crime prevention program

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Whitzman, Sarah
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Mount Saint Vincent University
The current study examined aspects of delivering a reading remediation program to students with reading difficulties who were involved in the Youth Advocate Program (YAP). This program targets youth who are at risk for engaging in gang activities, anti-social conduct, and criminal behaviour. Of the 44 youth entering the YAP over a 5 year period and who were referred for a reading assessment, 38 showed reading difficulties. It was thus estimated that approximately 63% of the youth entering the YAP have significant difficulties in the area of reading. Twelve students from the YAP program and 12 age and reading-matched comparison students participated in the reading intervention which was the first part of the SpellRead program (approximately 40 hours). Following the intervention, both groups showed reliable and academically meaningful improvement in all areas of reading, including phonological awareness, word recognition, fluency, and comprehension. There were no differences between the two groups on pre- and post-test reading measures with the exception of reading comprehension. The comparison group was significantly higher on the reading comprehension measure; however, both groups’ reading comprehension performance benefitted equally from the intervention. Although students completed only the first part of this reading intervention, statistically reliable and academically meaningful improvements were seen in all reading skills.
Reading intervention , At-risk youth , Reading comprehension -- youth