Reading and Writing

, Volume 20, Issue 6, pp 591–617 | Cite as

Preparing special educators to teach reading and use curriculum-based assessments

  • Stephanie Al Otaiba
  • Vickie E. Lake


Preparing special educators who are knowledgeable about evidence-based interventions for teaching reading to students with reading difficulties and who are capable of using curriculum-based assessments to monitor student progress and differentiate interventions is vital to the success of current school reform efforts. The primary purpose of this exploratory study was to examine the effect of tutoring and using assessment to monitor the progress of struggling readers on preservice teachers’ (PSTs’) knowledge and preparedness to teach reading. Also of interest was whether reading scores of tutored students improved. PSTs (n = 18) in an undergraduate reading methods course tutored at-risk second graders using an evidence-based intervention and monitored students’ progress weekly. PSTs made significant growth on a measure of teacher knowledge about the structure of language and on a survey of their preparedness to teach reading. A qualitative analysis of PSTs’ weekly reflections and final reports revealed that the majority used curriculum-based assessment data to describe students’ response to tutoring and were beginning to use that data to make instructional decisions. On average, tutored students improved reading fluency, but did not demonstrate significant growth in reading relative to national norms. Implications and limitations of the study are described and directions for future research are discussed.


Assessment Early literacy intervention Reading tutoring Teacher education 



Parts of this work were presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association in San Francisco, CA (April 2006). We thank Mary Ann Roberts, the America Reads program at FSU, the RAS, and the children who participated in the study. We also thank Diana Rice, Marcia Grek, and anonymous reviewers for their feedback and helpful suggestions on this manuscript. This research was supported in part by Grant #P50MDOS2120 from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Developement to Florida State University. Statements do not reflect the position or policy of these agencies, and no official endorsement of them should be inferred.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Education and the Florida Center for Reading ResearchFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  2. 2.College of EducationFlorida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA

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