Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

J. Ron Nelson

Date of this Version

Summer 8-15-2020

Document Type



Cooper, S. (2020). Assessing the effects of extended practice on letter naming fluency [Unpublished manuscript]. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Educational Studies (Special Education), Under the Supervision of Professor J. Ron Nelson. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2020

Copyright 2020 Samantha Cooper


The purpose of this dissertation study was to assess the additive effect (beyond mastery instruction) of extended practice. A multiple baseline design across child participants was used to assess the effects of extended practice of letter names on the rate of correctly identified letter names per minute specific to three Blocks of letters. The study involved three pre-kindergarten children enrolled in preschool located in a medium sized suburban city in Nebraska. Within the study, each child was exposed to three experimental conditions: (A) Baseline, (B) Extended Practice and (C) Outcome Assessment. The (A) Baseline condition covered one, two or three consecutive sessions; for each session, children were administered researcher-created fluency measures at school. The (B) Extended Practice condition was intended to occur over three consecutive sessions at school. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this condition was broken into two sub conditions: (B1) Extended Practice at school; (B2) Extended Practice at home; each child experienced extended practice differently. The (C) Outcome Assessment condition covered two non-consecutive sessions one day apart. For each session, children were administered the researcher-created fluency measures. All measures in this condition were intended to be administered at school by the research-assistant after children completed three consecutive extended practice sessions. Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the assessment procedures varied for each condition. Across child participants, there were no clear intervention effects. For two children, Block 1 fluency scores showed an increase in fluency scores before and after extended practice. However, fluency scores across Blocks 2 and 3 show minimal letter naming fluency gains or a lack of fluency gains before and after extended practice. While it appears that extended practice intervention was ineffective, using these results to judge the efficacy of the extended practice intervention is limited due to adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic on the original study methodology. The results, limitations and areas for future research are discussed.

Adviser: J. Ron Nelson