S. Al-Hassan

Emirates College for Advanced Education (UNITED ARAB EMIRATES)
Reading is essential to success in any modern society. It opens up the world for children and is the gateway to learning. Unlike any other skill, the ability to read allows children access to the collective knowledge, history, and experiences. Children who are not proficient and fluent readers by the end of Grade 3 are at a severe risk, not only for academic problems but also for dropping out of school.

The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of reciprocal peer tutoring as a supplemental teaching method to the more traditional teaching method that teachers are using in classrooms to teach high frequency sight words to students who are at-risk of academic failure as identified by their teacher. Sight words are words that good readers may instantly recognize without having to "figure them out." Knowing high frequency sight words can help students avoid the frustration in reading. High frequency sight words are everywhere, many of these words can be in anything that children might read

Six first grade students participated in this study. All students were underachievers and designated by their teachers as academically at-risk. A reciprocal peer tutoring model was used allowing each student to be both tutor and tutee. A multiple baseline design across students was used to analyze the effects of peer tutoring on sight words learned, maintained, and generalized. During baseline all participants were instructed by their teacher on a set of five weekly words taken from the text book. During peer tutoring all students were instructed on sets of ten words, five teacher words and five unknown words. A weekly individual pretest was administered throughout the study on the weekly sight words. Data was collected on the weekly pretests, number of words learned, number of words maintained from the previous week, and number of words generalized where students were asked to read sentences that included the words learned. Finally, student and teacher satisfaction concerning the use of peer tutoring was obtained in a questionnaire.

Results showed that participants learned, maintained, and generalized more words during the peer tutoring condition. The results also showed that during peer tutoring all participants were able to learn, maintain, and generalize additional weekly sets of unknown sight words.