The Effects of a Paraphrasing and Text Structure Intervention on the Main Idea Generation and Reading Comprehension of Students with Reading Disabilities in Grades 4 and 5

Sci Stud Read. 2020;24(5):365-379. doi: 10.1080/10888438.2019.1684925. Epub 2019 Nov 6.


This study examined the effects of a small group intervention targeting paraphrasing and text structure instruction on the main idea generation and reading comprehension of students with reading disabilities in Grades 4 and 5. Students (N = 62) were randomly assigned to receive the Tier 2-type intervention or business-as-usual instruction. Students in the intervention received 25, 40-minute lessons focused on paraphrasing sections of text by identifying the main topic and the most important idea about that topic. Students utilized the text structure organization to inform their main idea generation. Results yielded statistically significant, positive effects in favor of the intervention group on near-transfer and mid-transfer measures of text structure identification (g = 0.75) and main idea generation (g = 0.70), but no statistically significant effect on a far-transfer measure of reading comprehension. These findings provide initial support for utilizing this instruction to improve students' main idea generation on taught and untaught structures.

Keywords: elementary; intervention; main idea generation; reading comprehension; reading disability.