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Generalization of isolated word training to connected text: A comparison of generalization strategies

Vogel, Kimberly Joy
This study compared the effects of three generalization strategies utilized during isolated word training on generalization to connected text. The train and hope (TH) generalization strategy was utilized by training accurate responding to target words in isolation using a flashcard intervention and hoping that generalization to connected text would occur in the absence of specific programming. The fluency building (FB) generalization strategy was employed by training accurate and rapid responding to target words. The multiple exemplar (ME) generalization strategy was utilized by practicing the target words in individually and in sentences. Results indicated that all generalization strategies resulted in increased accuracy of words read in isolation and in context. Performance over time was relatively stable across conditions.
Students in the TH condition demonstrated a degree of spontaneous generalization to connected text after receiving two sessions of a flashcard intervention that did not include procedures specifically designed to promote generalization. Results suggested that building accuracy of target words in isolation and hoping for generalization was an effective instructional strategy for many students. While significant performance differences in context between the FB and ME conditions were not observed, implementation of the FB and ME generalization strategies during instruction resulted in a greater degree of generalization connected text than use of the TH strategy. This finding suggests that utilizing generalization strategies during isolated word training that include procedures specifically designed to elicit generalization may be the most effective way to promote generalization to connected text.