Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


School of Education


Learning and Instruction


Learning & Instruction EdD

First Advisor

Patricia Busk

Second Advisor

Yvonne Bui

Third Advisor

Stephen Cary


This meta-analysis synthesized research on effective instructional practices and strategies in second through fifth grade for Spanish-speaking English Learners (ELs) who have reading disabilities and English Learners who struggle with reading. The central research problem is the dearth of research addressing literacy instruction for ELs with reading disabilities, making identification of effective reading interventions difficult. The inclusion criteria for the meta-analysis resulted in 15 quasi-experimental or single-subject empirical research studies that used reading interventions to improve the reading comprehension performance of ELs. The overall average effect size for the meta-analysis, not based on homogenous studies, was 1.15. When outliers were eliminated and based on 12 homogenous studies, the average effect size was .72. Importantly, only one study that met the inclusion criteria directly investigated ELs with reading disabilities. Results from the five studies that used features of culturally responsive pedagogy including the use of Spanish in instruction indicated a positive effect for ELs struggling with reading. Greater numbers of days of instruction were associated with improved reading comprehension. Small-group instruction, professional development aligned with explicit, comprehensive, and intensive instruction focused on the development of oral language skills using culturally responsive pedagogy, all integrated within evidence-based commercial reading programs or regular school-based curricula have the potential to improve the reading comprehension of ELs with reading disabilities and ELs who struggle with reading. The major finding of this meta-analysis is that there is a dearth of research on Spanish-speaking ELs with reading disabilities and ELs who struggle with reading. The findings support the conclusion that extensive research needs to be conducted on identifying effective reading intervention for ELs with reading disabilities and ELs who struggle with reading.