The University of Iowa

The Ecological and Population Validity of Reading Interventions for Adolescents: Can Effectiveness Be Generalized?


This article examined the ecological and population validity of research on reading interventions for adolescents in Grades 6 through 12. The 26 studies meeting selection criteria were analyzed to determine the characteristics of the students, interventionists, classroom structures, and school environments used, as well as whether there were differential effects of treatments across those characteristics. In the 20+ years since the calls by the Council for Learning Disabilities and National Joint Committee on Learning Disabilities for greater specificity in descriptions of study participants and contexts, the findings of this study suggest that researchers have provided greater detail on participants, but many questions remain about the extent to which findings can be generalized. Specifically, gaps in the research exist with regard to African American and Native American students; English language learners; students in suburban, rural, and adjudicated schools; students in high school; interventions delivered by regular classroom teachers; interventions focused on vocabulary; and interventions in large groups and general education classrooms.


Reed, D. K., Sorrells, A. M., Cole, H. A., & Takakawa, N. N. (2013). The ecological and population validity of reading interventions for adolescents: Can effectiveness be generalized? Learning Disability Quarterly, 36, 131-144. doi: 10.1177/0731948712451976

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