Date of Award

August 2019

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Psychology

Advisor(s)

Joshua C. Felver

Keywords

academic interventions, attention, mindfulness, reading

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences

Abstract

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), roughly one third of American 4th and 8th grade students perform at or above the proficient level, suggesting that further interventions are needed to support student reading skills. Mindfulness interventions have generally been implemented to impact attentional, social-emotional needs, and internalizing symptoms such as stress and anxiety. However, mindfulness interventions have only recently been deployed to increase academic skills such as reading. This current research evaluated the effects of a brief year-long mindfulness intervention on reading and attention skills across an ethnically diverse at-risk sample of 7th grade students. Five 7th grade English-Language Arts (ELA) classrooms were randomized to either a mindfulness (n = 3) or an active control condition (n = 2). The students in the mindfulness classrooms (n = 36) began each ELA class with a five-minute guided mindfulness practice audio track. The students in the control classrooms (n = 20) began each ELA class with a brief five-minute assignment related to class content. Participants completed measures at three time points (i.e., pre-intervention, midway through the school year, & post-intervention) to assess self-reported levels of mindfulness, executive attention, and reading comprehension. Results indicate that students assigned to the mindfulness intervention classroom condition had significantly higher reading comprehension scores than their control counterparts at the end of the school year. Results also suggest that the brief mindfulness intervention did not significantly increase student self-reported levels of mindfulness, or executive attention measured via a computerized behavioral Flanker task. In conclusion, the current research indicates that brief a daily mindfulness intervention may be associated with increased student reading comprehension performance.

Access

Open Access

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