A Reading Comprehension Intervention for Dual Language Learners With Weak Language and Reading Skills

Ashley Adams Sanabria, Maria Adelaida Restrepo, Erin Walker, Arthur Glenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Purpose: We evaluated the efficacy of a reading comprehension intervention with dual language learners (DLLs) with documented English reading comprehension difficulties, half of whom had a developmental language disorder. The intervention EMBRACE (Enhanced Moved by Reading to Accelerate Comprehension in English) required children to move images on an iPad to both improve and demonstrate understanding of multichapter stories. Additionally, we determined the characteristics of students who most benefit from the intervention. Method: Fifty-six participants in second to fifth grades were randomly assigned to one of two groups: (a) Spanish support intervention or (b) Spanish support control. Outcome measures included performance on comprehension questions related to the intervention texts, two transfer texts with no strategy instruction, and the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests–Fourth Edition Reading Comprehension subtest administered pre-and post-intervention. Results: Multilevel hierarchical linear models were used to account for nesting of question within child within classroom. For this group of DLLs, the overall intervention effect was not statistically significant. However, the intervention was most effective with narrative (vs. expository) texts and easy (vs. more difficult) texts. DLLs with lower initial English reading abilities (decoding and comprehension) benefited more from the intervention than those with stronger reading skills. Conclusions: The EMBRACE intervention has promise for use with DLLs with low baseline decoding and comprehension skills, particularly in early elementary grades. Future research should aim to match text difficulty with child skills when introducing new comprehension strategies to maximize benefit from the intervention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)738-759
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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