Journal of Behavioral Education

, Volume 20, Issue 3, pp 163–181 | Cite as

Behavioral Momentum During a Continuous Reading Task: An Exploratory Study

  • Brooks R. VostalEmail author
  • David L. Lee
Original Paper


Adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) often fail to master literacy skills, in part because disruptive behaviors interfere with task engagement and persistence. The theory of behavioral momentum explains the persistence of behavior in the face of changing environmental conditions. The current exploratory study examined variables related to behavioral momentum in the context of a continuous reading task. Participants were three adolescents identified with EBD who were instructional on fifth-grade material. Results indicated that when participants read a third-grade paragraph immediately before a fifth-grade paragraph, they decreased the latency to initiate reading of the fifth-grade paragraph and increased words read correctly per minute on the first 10 words of the fifth-grade paragraph. Results are discussed in terms of the theory of behavioral momentum and the nature of interventions that may be developed to increase reading persistence.


Behavioral momentum High-p sequences Reading Emotional and behavioral disorders 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation CounselingUniversity of KentuckyLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of Educational and School Psychology and Special EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.School of Intervention ServicesBowling Green State UniversityBowling GreenUSA

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