Date of Award

Summer 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Raymond F. Morgan

Committee Director

Abha Gupta

Committee Member

Jack E. Robinson


The American educational system is struggling to identify methods of preventing early reading failure. Many schools are implementing tutoring intervention programs to supplement classroom instruction and to help meet the needs of struggling at-risk readers. Although there is substantial research on tutoring programs that employ professional teachers, there is a dearth of research on the effectiveness of non-professional volunteer tutoring programs.

The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the America Reads tutoring program and tutor training on the reading achievement and reading attitude of urban, at-risk, K–3 minority students. The population sample was drawn from four inner-city urban schools of similar racial composition and academic achievement level. Two schools received America Reads tutoring services and two schools served as comparison schools.

Numerous standardized tests in place in the school system were used to gauge reading achievement and The Elementary Reading Attitude Survey was used to measure reading attitude. Six research questions were addressed: (1) Is there a significant difference in reading achievement between students who received America Reads tutoring and a comparison group of similar students who did not receive America Reads tutoring? (2) Is there a difference between the reading scores of students who were taught by moderately-trained tutors and those who were taught by minimally-trained tutors? (3) Is there a change over the course of an academic year in the America Reads tutee's attitude in contrast to a comparison group? (4) Is there a relationship between the student's reading attitude and reading achievement? (5) Is there a difference in female and male students attitudes toward reading after participating in a tutoring intervention program? (6) Is there a difference in the strategies that moderately-trained and minimally-trained tutors implement in their tutoring sessions?

One-way between groups analysis of covariance, multivariate analysis of covariance, and Pearson Product Moment correlations were employed. Results indicated that: (1) the tutored group achieved significantly higher mean scores on five of the ten reading achievement tests; (2) only a significant negative correlation in grade three was found between reading attitude and reading achievement; (3) there were no significant changes in participants reading attitudes; (4) there were no significant differences in female and male attitudes toward reading; (5) there were some differences in strategies that moderately-trained tutors implemented in their tutoring sessions compared to minimally-trained tutors; (6) that reading tutoring intervention programs that employ non-professional tutors can have a significant impact upon tutee reading achievement.


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