Date of Award


Document Type

Graduate Field Experience

Degree Name

Master Of Arts In Urban Special Education

Colleges & School

College Of Education And Leadership

First Advisor

Heather White

Library of Congress Subject Heading

Motivation in education; Syllabication; Learning disabilities


The purpose of this study was to explore the effect of syllabification and extrinsic motivators on the decoding skills of one 12-year-old African American male with severe reading deficits. The student was from a large urban district and attended a public school where he received Individualized Education Plan (IEP) services for a Specific Learning Disability (SLD). The subject participated in six sixty-minute sessions over the course of four weeks, engaging in phonics strategies that centered around a third-grade level novel the participant choose. He was also subject to external, student-led trackers that monitored progress in the areas of decoding and vocabulary. While quantitative and qualitative evidence report a child who is willing to apply new literacy strategies and take academic risks, there were substantial limitations to the study, including time and a lack of post-intervention data. The case study did, however, reinforce that students with high ego-value who are historically likely to disengage in the face of challenging or unfamiliar academic tasks may respond positively to external motivators and identity-centered interventions.


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