Reading comprehension help for ADHD high schoolers

In “Improving the Reading Recall of High School Students With ADHD,” Joseph W. Johnson, Robert Reid, and Linda H. Mason report the results of an intensive study in which they examined the effects of teaching high-school students a comprehension strategy as a part of a self-regulated strategy development model. They found that systematically preparing the students to use what they dubbed the “Think Before Reading” (TWA) strategy helped the students with recall of passages’ main ideas and details connected to them.

Students with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) often have difficulty with reading comprehension. This multiple baseline across participants design with multiple probes study examined the effectiveness of a multicomponent reading comprehension strategy (TWA: Think Before Reading, Think While Reading, Think After Reading) taught following the self-regulated strategy development model on social studies expository text recall of three high school students with ADHD. Results showed improvement in the number of main ideas and percentage of supporting details recalled. Gains were maintained and some improvement occurred at 2- and 4-week follow-ups. Implications for future research and practice are discussed.


The TWA strategy required that students learn to interrogate themselves before, while, and after reading. The students learned to ask questions such as these (my translation; see original for more accurate versions of questions):

  • Think Before Reading: What’s the author’s purpose? What do you know? What do you want to know?
  • Think While Reading: How is your reading speed? What do you already know that this content links to? Do you need to re-read to be sure of things? and
  • Think After Reading: What is the main idea, What is a summary of the information? What have you learned?

To help the students acquire the strategy, the teachers taught they necessary preskills, explaing the strategy to them, modeled how to use it, had them memorize the three parts, provided guided practice with the steps, and then had them practice it independently. This instruction was spread over lessons so that the students developed competence with all of the components.

Read the abstract.

Johnson, J. W., Reid, R., & Mason, L. H. (in press). Improving the reading recall of high school students with ADHD. Remedial & Special Education. 10.1177/0741932511403502

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