Frequency and duration of individualized tutoring for reading comprehension: A comparison of time treatment variables

Mary Patricia Zimmerman Gobert

Abstract

This study examines the effect of calendar span and frequency as time treatment variables in individualized reading tutorials. The study measured the reading comprehension proficiency of thirty-nine third through sixth graders who were tutored by university pre-service teachers. A control group of students was tutored twice weekly for ten weeks. An experimental group of students was tutored four times weekly for five weeks. Pretests and posttests were administered to both groups. A Repeated Measures Mixed Design Anova was applied to the data to analyze differences in students' reading comprehension proficiency at the end of the treatment period. Findings indicate that there is no difference in posttest scores between the ten-week and five-week groups. Both groups made approximately equal gains. Across grades, third and fourth grade students demonstrated progress. Fifth and sixth grade students' scores were largely unchanged. Differences in students' motivational and developmental levels may have affected the results. Other factors affecting the results may be small sample size, total number of treatments and the quality of the individual tutor's instruction. For practitioners, indications from this study are to focus on early remediation of reading problems and to consider the special needs of the older, non-proficient reader.