Morra & Tracey (2006)

NOTE:  To read the summary, scroll about 2/3 of the way down this post.


Single Subject Design 

SOURCE:  Morra, J., & Tracey, D. H. (2006). The impact of multiple fluency interventions on a single subject.  Reading Horizons Journal, 47, 175- 198.




DATE:  February 14, 2014



TAKE AWAY: This single subject study describes an approach to improving oral reading fluency as measured by the number of words read correctly in a minute that has potential for improving phrasing and rate in connected speech. Although the investigators described the intervention adequately, I had difficulty understanding supporting evidence, dosage information, and some of the terminology.



1.  What was the focus of the research?  Clinical Research


2.  What type of evidence was identified?                              

a.  What  type of single subject design was used?  Single Subject Experimental Design with Specific Client– Baseline Methodology


b.  What was the level of support associated with the type of evidence?  Level = A-       


3.  Was phase of treatment concealed?                                             

a.  from participants?  No

b.  from clinicians?   No

c.  from data analyzers?  No


4.  Were the participants adequately described?  No

a.  How many participants were involved in the study?  1      

b.  The following characteristics were described:

•  age:  8 years, 7 months

•  gender:  F                                      

•  educational level of participant:  Grade 3

•  Previous literacy interventions:  Instructional Review Services and Reading Specialist (Grade 2);  summer school –1 hours a day for 4 weeks (between grades 2 and 3); Reading Specialists, small group, 1 time a week for 45 minutes (Grade 3)


c.  Were the communication problems adequately described?  No

•  The disorder type was  Literacy Problems


5.  Was membership in treatment maintained throughout the study?  Not applicable

a.  If there was more than one participant, did at least 80% of the participants remain in the study?  Not  applicable 

b.  Were any data removed from the study?  No


6.  Did the design include appropriate controls?  Could not determine

a.  Were baseline/preintervention data collected on all behaviors?  Yes

b.  Did probes/intervention data include untrained data?  Yes

c.  Did probes/intervention data include trained data? No

d.  Was the data collection continuous? 

e.  Were different treatment counterbalanced or randomized? No


7.  Was the outcome measure appropriate and meaningful?  Yes

a.  The outcome was

  OUTCOME #1:  To improve P’s reading prosody.  (However, the measure was actually WCPM, number of words read correctly in one minute).

b.  The outcomes was not subjective.

c.  The outcome was objective.

d.  No reliability data were provided.



8.  Results:

a.  Did the target behavior improve when it was treated?  Unclear. The authors claimed that P improved but I had trouble interpreting the results.

b.  The overall quality of improvement was

  OUTCOME #1:  To improve P’s reading prosody.  (However, the measure was actually WCPM, number of words read correctly in one minute).  Questionable, the investigators claimed it was successful but I was unable to interpret their evidence.

9.  Description of baseline:

a.  Were baseline data provided?  Yes

The number of data points was

    OUTCOME #1To improve P’s reading prosody as measured by WCPM or number of words read correctly in one minute—2 sessions


b.  Was baseline low  and stable?

  OUTCOME #1:  To improve P’s reading prosody as measured by WCPM or number of words read correctly in one minute—baselines were low and the investigators judged them to be stable before they began intervention.

c.  What was the percentage of nonoverlapping data (PND)?  Data not provided.



10.  What was the magnitude of the treatment effect?  NA


11.  Was information about treatment fidelity adequate?  Not Provided


12.  Were maintenance data reported?  No


13.  Were generalization data reported?  No 








PURPOSE:  To determine if the administration of multiple fluency (literacy) strategies improves oral reading skill in a 3rd grade child.

POPULATION:  Literacy problems; child


MODALITY TARGETED:  production (oral reading)


ELEMENTS/FUNCTIONS OF PROSODY TARGETED:  rate (of oral reading); fluency (of oral reading); phrasing (of oral reading)


ELEMENTS OF PROSODY USED AS INTERVENTION: rate, phrasing, intonation, affect (expression)


OTHER TARGETS:  literacy — oral reading fluency

DOSAGE:  individual sessions; 20-30 minutes; 2-3 times a week for 8 weeks (However, this does not match with the description of 13 treatments sessions and, perhaps, Figure 1 if the horizontal axis represents the number of sessions.)

ADMINISTRATOR:  probably a reading specialist


STIMULI:  reading level appropriate books; auditory; audio versions accompanying books; audiorecorder; visual cues




13 sessions were described:

Session 1:  using a single book, C and P echo read aloud two times then P independently reads aloud

Session 2:  using a book different from Session 1, C and P echo read aloud two times and then P independently reads aloud

Session 3:  using still another book, P listens to an audiorecorded book while following along with the written book. At the end of each page, P reads aloud the page attempting to produce the same phrasing and rate as the audiobook reader.

Session 4:  P practices reading aloud a portion of a book and then C times one minute of her reading aloud. P repeats reading the portion 4 times with C noting correctly read words per minute (WCPM) for each reading.

Session 5:  P listens to an audiorecording while silently reading the accompanying book. P, at unspecified times, reads aloud portions of the book trying to replicate the readers’ phrasing and rate. After completing listening to/replicating the book, P reads the entire book aloud while C records it.  C and P then compare the original reader’s and P’s version of the book noting expression (affect? in addition to phrasing and rate?)

Session 6:  C reads a book aloud to P modeling expression and intonation.  P reads aloud the same passage attempting to imitate the expression and intonation.

Session 7:  Choral reading practice with P and C using a book.

Session 8:  C models proper phrasing during oral reading of a book. C and P discuss the rationale for the chunking/phrasing decisions.  P then reads the book aloud attempting to use the same phrasing patterns.

Session 9:  P repeatedly reads a passage 5 times and was timed (WCPM) for 1 minute of each reading.

Session 10:  C marks a passage of a book for phrasing. C then explains to P reading in phrases (phrase-cued reading). C and P then practice reading aloud the book that had been marked for phrasing.

Session 11:  C models reading a book with special attention to pausing at commas.  P practices following C’s model.

Session 12:  C models reading fluently and P practices reading fluently.

Session 13:  P listens to audiorecorded books. After each page, P practices attempting to replicate the reader’s production. After practicing, C and P discuss rate, intonation, and pausing.

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