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ERIC Number: EJ1088882
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013-Sep
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-1525-1810
Reading Performance of Incarcerated Youth: Understanding and Responding to a Unique Population of Readers
Krezmien, Michael P.; Mulcahy, Candace; Travers, Jason; Wilson, Michael; Wells, Craig
Journal of Special Education Leadership, v26 n2 p71-81 Sep 2013
This study provides the first systematic examination of the status of reading performance among incarcerated youth since the 1978 Project READ report. The purpose of this study was to provide a contemporary depiction of reading skills of a large sample of incarcerated youth, and to provide leaders and administrators with some tangible recommendations for instructional assessment and instructional practices in juvenile corrections educational programs. The following research questions guided the investigation: (1) How do males in a state-run juvenile corrections facility perform on subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement, Third Edition (WJ-III) for word identification (Letter/Word identification), decoding (Word Attack), and reading comprehension (passage comprehension) as compared to the normative sample?; (2) What is the relationship between age and reading performance among males in a juvenile corrections facility?; and (3) What is the relationship between reading performance, special education status, and race among males in a juvenile corrections facility? This study included 533 male participants who were incarcerated in one state's largest juvenile corrections facility for boys located in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. All students who entered the facility during the time of the study were included in the project. Data were collected as part of an initiative by the state department of juvenile services to develop a comprehensive educational intake and screening process. All students were assessed by trained assessors with experience using the WJ-III and working with at-risk and delinquent youth. Results show that age, race, and special education status are significant predictors of reading deficits. In this investigation, researchers found that incarcerated youth exhibited substantial reading deficits when compared to the normative population on measures of word identification, decoding, and reading comprehension. This finding extends outdated findings that incarcerated students tend to have low literacy skills (Project READ), but more importantly, it provides current information about two of the five essential components of reading (phonics and reading comprehension) from a large sample of incarcerated youth representing an entire state.
Council of Administrators of Special Education. Fort Valley State University, 1005 State University Drive, Fort Valley, GA 31030. Tel: 478-825-7667; Fax: 478-825-7811; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement