Graduate Program

School Psychology

Degree Name

Specialist in School Psychology

Semester of Degree Completion

Summer 2021

Thesis Director

Assege HaileMariam

Thesis Committee Member

Ronan S. Bernas

Thesis Committee Member

Mariana M. Juras


The present study examined the efficacy of a reading instruction, Peer Assisted Learning Strategies (PALS), for Hispanic English Language Learners (ELL). Currently, the literature indicates that there is a surge in ELL students, most commonly Spanish-speaking ELL students, in the United States. This increase in ELL population created a need for academic support as many of these students are historically academically behind their non-ELL peers due to the negative impact of lack of exposure to the English language and cultural differences. The PALS program is a class-wide reading intervention where students engage in reading activities to promote reading skills; and limited studies have shown PALS to be effective with ELL students. In this study, the PALS group was made of 15 2nd grade ELL students, which received Partner reading, while the control group consisted of 14 2nd grade regular education students, who received regular class wide reading instruction. Based on pre and post CBM data, results did not show a significant difference in reading fluency between the PALS group and the control group. However, results did indicate a significant reading improvement in pre-post CBM scores for those in the PALS condition, but not in the control condition. For participants in the control condition, a ceiling effect might have been a factor; i.e., because they scored higher on the pre-test than participants in the PALS condition, there was no room for growth. Given these results, in the current study, PALS efficacy for improving Spanish ELL students’ reading fluency was inconclusive. The implication of the results and the possible impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are discussed.