Author Biographies

Dr. Joanne Veatch Coggins has 20 years’ teaching experience from kindergarten to post-secondary classrooms with subject matter expertise and teaching certifications in Spanish, ELA, ESL, and special education. Her research focuses on identification and skills remediation of learners at-risk for reading difficulties. Joanne.Coggins@mtsu.edu

Dr. Laura Clark Briggs is a psychometrician and educator with 25 years’ experience in instructional and administrative posts at the middle and high school level. She has worked in traditional, non-traditional, alternative, and hardware-secure correctional settings. She is a subject matter expert in English, Spanish, and L2 pedagogy.


High school students must read to learn curriculum, yet few interventions are proven to substantially help close literacy gaps for older students with reading deficits. Students with large literacy deficits particularly benefit from explicit, systematic instruction of interventions emphasizing the structure of language (i.e., phonology, orthography, syntax, morphology, semantics, pragmatics), aspects of cognition (i.e., problem solving, attention, reasoning, and inferencing), and organization of spoken and written language.

A 14-week pilot study of Readable English, a reading intervention using these structured literacy elements, provided embedded interactive orthography to scaffold online grade level content for students at two alternative high schools (N = 25). Students in the treatment group showed significant and meaningful increases in standardized tests of reading accuracy, fluency, and reading comprehension compared to minimal or no gains in the control group. Transfer effects from students using the Readable English markup to reading in standard English were demonstrated. Implications for use as accelerated remediation intervention for older adolescents are discussed.

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