Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



Department Chair

Robert A DiTomasso, PhD, ABPP

First Advisor

George McCloskey, PhD

Second Advisor

Diane Smallwood, PsyD

Third Advisor

Patricia Snyder, PhD


This study evaluated the use of a brief intervention that was designed to assist economically disadvantaged secondary students increase their capacity for attention to orthography and increase their ability to shift between rapid sight word recognition and decoding of unknown words in order to improve their word reading accuracy and fluency. The participants (N = 14) were eighth and ninth grade students enrolled in an urban public high school and receiving special education services. The study used analysis of variance for repeated measures and paired measures t-tests to analyze pre- and post-test data. The results indicated significant findings (p < 0.5) in the students’ improvements in their sight word reading fluency and their ability to inhibit impulses and shift cognitive sets with accuracy and speed following the 8-week reading intervention. The findings suggest that exposure to repeated word fluency drills that target attention to orthography and shifting from sight word recognition to decoding may have influenced the students’ self-monitoring skills and offer further support regarding the hypothesized role of executive functions in the act of reading.

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Psychology Commons