Title page for ETD etd-11102008-120516

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Samson, Douglas Scott
Author's Email Address dsamso1@lsu.edu, dsamson@ebrschools.org
URN etd-11102008-120516
Title The GREAT Reading Project (Gifted Readers Enhance Academic Talent): A Gifted-on-Gifted, Cross-Age Tutoring and Mentoring Intervention
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
Department Educational Theory, Policy, & Practice
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rita Culross Committee Chair
Earl Cheek Committee Member
James Wandersee Committee Member
S. Kim MacGregor Committee Member
Sarah Liggett Committee Member
  • tutor
  • mentor
  • reading
  • gifted
  • talented
  • underrepresentation
  • gifted identification
Date of Defense 2008-10-22
Availability unrestricted
The GREAT (Gifted Readers Enhance Academic Talent) Reading Project is a quasi-experimental, between-group study that evaluated a 13-week before-school student tutoring/mentoring reading and literacy program. The study examined the effects of the intervention on reading achievement for each group involved, including high-ability gifted fifth grade mentors, high-ability gifted first grade protégés, and above-average first grade “Scholastic Academy” protégés. Its primary goal was to improve academic achievement for above-average students in order to help them formally qualify for gifted services. The secondary goal was to promote and assess academic growth for high-ability students already in the gifted program.

Mentor/protégé pairs met 3-4 times per week under the monitoring and supervision of certified elementary school teachers. Student pairs interacted as necessary to accomplish learning tasks such as decoding, fluency, and critical reading skills that promote reading comprehension. Pairs read and discussed picture books, chapter books, children’s magazines, and/or assigned books or stories. Some flexibility existed in the program, based on student interest and materials available. Control groups received traditional reading instruction instead of tutoring.

The subjects included above-average and high-ability first and fifth grade students. The treatment group consisted of approximately 20 first graders and 20 fifth graders. First graders and fifth graders were paired for compatibility. A similar sized control group was chosen from other gifted sites. Criterion sampling (qualification to participate in the gifted/talented program in the local public school system) was used to select the treatment and control groups. The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Tests, Fourth Edition, a standardized, norm-referenced instrument used to assess reading achievement, was used as a pre- and posttest to assess growth in reading. One-way (for the fifth graders) and Two-way ANOVA (for the 1st graders) was used to determine the effectiveness of the intervention for each group of participants. Surveys were administered to each grade level of the treatment group to evaluate the social validity of the intervention, in an attempt to determine the social significance or importance of the goals, the social appropriateness of the procedures, and the social importance of the effects or outcomes (the personal benefit) for the participants.

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