Date of Award

Fall 2015

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

Rachel Brown

Second Advisor

Mark W. Steege

Third Advisor

Eileen Harris




Elementary grade students with reading difficulties do not always receive effective intervention; this can prevent them from becoming fluent readers. Students with social, emotional and behavioral disorders (SEBD) often lack appropriate social skills, which can augment challenges associated with learning to read. Response to Intervention (RTI), using a multi-tiered system of support, adapts to a student’s learning and/or behavioral difficulties by applying evidence-based interventions to address individual student needs. This study evaluated the effects of combining a Tier 1 core reading instruction program with a Tier 2 intervention, Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS) for reading for students with SEBD. It was hypothesized that PALS would improve students’ overall reading skills. Using a multiple baseline across dyads design, six students with both reading difficulties and SEBD participated in daily PALS peer tutoring sessions. Students’ oral reading fluency was measured semiweekly using curriculum-based measures. The percentages of active listening and prompting, as broadly defined by the PALS intervention manual, also were calculated. Although the results indicate the intervention did not work as hypothesized, the findings highlight factors that should be considered when developing reading instruction programs for students with SEBD. Implications for school practice are discussed.