Behavioral Momentum During a Continuous Reading Task: An Exploratory Study

Brooks R. Vostal, David Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) often fail to master literacy skills, in part because disruptive behaviors interfere with task engagement and persistence. The theory of behavioral momentum explains the persistence of behavior in the face of changing environmental conditions. The current exploratory study examined variables related to behavioral momentum in the context of a continuous reading task. Participants were three adolescents identified with EBD who were instructional on fifth-grade material. Results indicated that when participants read a third-grade paragraph immediately before a fifth-grade paragraph, they decreased the latency to initiate reading of the fifth-grade paragraph and increased words read correctly per minute on the first 10 words of the fifth-grade paragraph. Results are discussed in terms of the theory of behavioral momentum and the nature of interventions that may be developed to increase reading persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-181
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Behavioral Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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