Education and Human Sciences, College of (CEHS)


First Advisor

Mackenzie Savaiano

Second Advisor

Derek Rodgers

Date of this Version



A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirement For the Degree of Master of Arts, Major: Special Education, Under the Supervision of Professors Mackenzie Savaiano and Derek Rodgers. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2022

Copyright © 2022 Bridget A. Leutzinger


The current study is a replication and adaptation of Lemons and colleagues (2018) by using an explicit, adapted version of the SPARK curriculum to assess its effectiveness on the literacy outcomes for students with Down Syndrome. The primary purpose was to determine the effectiveness of the explicit reading intervention package (independent variable) on letter-sound knowledge (dependent variable) in elementary students with DS. The secondary purpose was to evaluate whether the explicit spelling intervention of letter-sound correspondence generalized the spelling skills of whole taught and untaught words. Two students, ages 10 and 11, participated in a multiple probe across lessons single-case research design. Results indicated a functional relation of letter-sound knowledge for both students. Spelling results modestly increased their knowledge of taught and untaught words, but they did not increase their generalizing of untaught words. Students with DS should be provided with explicit instruction to improve their phonics-based and phonological awareness skills.

Advisors: Makenzie Savaiano and Derek Rodgers