Should Adolescents Go Back to the Basics? A Review of Teaching Word Reading Skills to Middle and High School Students

Remedial & Special Education

Joseph, L. M., & Schisler, R. (2009).

Remedial & Special Education, 30(3), 131-147.

This review investigates the effects of word reading interventions (e.g., phonic analysis, sight word reading, oral reading fluency) on reading achievement outcomes in middle and high school students (grades 6 through 12) with mixed conditions (e.g., learning disabilities, intellectual disabilities, emotional/behavioral disabilities).

Not stated


Experimental studies; quasi-experimental studies; single-subject experimental designs; qualitative studies


A wide variety of word reading interventions (e.g., reading decoding strategies, phonics instruction, peer-assisted learning strategies, repeated reading, and sight reading) were examined. Of the 23 studies found, 20 reported medium to large effect sizes for improving reading comprehension and fluency skills. Mean effect sizes across all reading achievement outcomes was .83 indicating that, in general, word reading interventions were effective for improving the reading skills of adolescents.