A Phonologically Based Reading Intervention for Undergraduate English Language Learners At-Risk of Reading Difficulties: A Pilot Study




Cook, Michelle
Hughes, Elizabeth

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Texas State University, The Education Institute


Researchers have reported that English language learners (ELLs) may be at risk of reading difficulties in the postsecondary setting. Although some students may only require explicit content-related vocabulary instruction and support with comprehension strategies in order to enhance comprehension, others may benefit from targeted short-term intervention in foundational reading skills. In this study, we examined whether a phonologically based reading intervention for undergraduate ELLs at-risk of reading difficulties would result in significant between-group differences for the proximal variables of decoding and sight word recognition and the distal variable of reading comprehension. This pilot quasi-experimental group design study involved 9 participants (treatment = 6/control = 3) from various L1 backgrounds, including Chinese, Spanish, and Arabic. Effect sizes were calculated for the proximal variables using measures of word attack and letter-word identification, and the distal variable based on a measure of passage comprehension. Although a small and small-medium effect were calculated for the measures of word attack and letter-word identification, respectively, no effect was found for the measure of passage comprehension. Implications related to intervention dosage and additional intervention components are discussed.



phonologically based reading program, reading comprehension, English language learners, undergraduate


Cook, M. J., & Hughes, E. M. (2023). A phonologically based reading intervention for undergraduate English language learners at-risk of reading difficulties: A pilot study. Journal of College Academic Support Programs, 5(2).


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