The effects of goal setting and self-instruction on learning a reading comprehension strategy: a study of students with learning disabilities

J Learn Disabil. Jan-Feb 1997;30(1):80-91. doi: 10.1177/002221949703000107.


This study examined the contributions of instruction in goal setting and self-instruction, separately and combined, on the acquisition, maintenance, and generalization of a reading comprehension strategy by fourth-through sixth-grade students with learning disabilities. A previously validated strategy involving the use of story structure to analyze and remember story content was taught to 47 students with learning disabilities using the self-regulated strategy development (SRSD) model. Comparisons were made among students with learning disabilities in four conditions (strategy instruction, strategy instruction plus goal setting, strategy instruction plus self-instruction, and strategy instruction plus goal setting and self-instruction). Result indicated that instruction in the reading strategy produced meaningful, lasting, and generalizable effects on students' story comprehension skills. Furthermore, the comprehension performance of the students with learning disabilities after strategy instruction was indistinguishable from that of a social comparison group of normally achieving students. Explicit instruction in goal setting and self-instruction, however, did not augment the comprehension performance of students with learning disabilities.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Child
  • Education, Special / methods
  • Education, Special / standards*
  • Female
  • Goals*
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / therapy*
  • Male
  • Problem Solving*
  • Program Evaluation
  • Reading*
  • Volition*