Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)


Education Specialties

First Advisor

Michael Sampson

Second Advisor

Kyle Cook


The focus in this exploratory multiple case study was to examine the reading comprehension and enjoyment of four male, English-speaking teenage students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) during a 12-week Story Club series. Parents’ perceptions of their teenager’s reading comprehension were also considered. Story Club involved modifying a young adult novel into a script format after which students embodied character roles and engaged in rehearsals and performances. Furthermore, students designed artwork and theater props, received social-emotional instruction from a drama therapist, and were exposed to sensory experiences, all of which were aligned with literary events from the story. Because interventions such as explicit instruction, adapted text, and graphic organizers have been shown to be impactful for certain students with ASD, I explored how adapting the book, The Boxcar Children, into a script format, with simplified language and explicit social-emotional instruction, would affect student enjoyment and comprehension. Major findings from this study revealed the potential benefits of punctuation and exaggerated letters on students’ intonation and emotional understanding of the characters’ experiences, the impact of music on student enjoyment and comprehension, the encouragement and support of each student toward themselves and each other, and how mediated semiotic tools served as supports to comprehension.

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