Research Article

Educational Technology Research and Development

, Volume 60, Issue 3, pp 445-467

First online:

An examination of the effect of customized reading modules on diverse secondary students’ reading comprehension and motivation

  • Joshua A. CuevasAffiliated withNorth Georgia College and State University Email author 
  • , Roxanne L. RussellAffiliated withUniversity of Phoenix
  • , Miles A. IrvingAffiliated withGeorgia State University

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This research sought to add to a body of knowledge that is severely underrepresented in the scientific literature, the effects of technological tools on reading comprehension and reading motivation in diverse secondary students from lower socioeconomic backgrounds. The study implemented an independent silent reading (ISR) program across a 5-month semester in an urban public high school and included 145 participants from nine 10th grade literature classes. The control group took part in no ISR, one treatment group participated in weekly ISR read from a textbook, and another treatment group participated in weekly ISR read from a computer module designed to address essential components of reading. Students were measured on global reading comprehension, text-specific reading assessments, and reading motivation. After controlling for initial skill and disposition levels, the results indicated that students from both ISR groups made greater gains than the control group in global reading comprehension, while the computer reading module group outperformed the textbook group and the control on text-specific assignments and increased their reading motivation to a greater degree than those in the other conditions. This research offers much-needed data on secondary students’ reading achievement and disposition and provides evidence that ISR implemented through the use of instructional technology and cognitive tools has broad potential to address development in these areas.


Instructional technology Reading comprehension Motivation Secondary students Adolescents Reading modules