Elementary Math Interventions: Students With Math Difficulty With and Without Reading Difficulty


This article reviewed 65 studies involving elementary students (i.e., grades 1–5) identified with mathematics difficulty (MD) in which the study implemented a mathematics intervention. Of these studies, the synthesis identified 33 group designs, 9 quasi-experimental designs, and 23 single-case designs. The authors aimed to synthesize performance differences between students with MD with and without reading difficulty (RD). The authors identified three categories of students for analysis: students with MD+RD, MD alone, or MD nonspecified (i.e., no reading information provided). Overall, 80% of studies included students with MD nonspecified, and the interventions for these students demonstrated strong effects. For the limited number of studies with students with MD+RD or MD alone, intervention effects were strong for students with MD+RD and variable for students with MD-alone. In the three studies directly comparing the performance of students with MD+RD versus MD alone, the authors noted differential patterns of performance. To tailor interventions to student need, more research must be conducted to understand whether students with MD with variable reading profiles respond differentially to mathematics intervention.


Powell, S. R., Doabler, C. T., Akinola, O. A., Therrien, W. J., Maddox, S. A., & Hess, K. E. (2019). A synthesis of elementary mathematics interventions: Comparisons of students with mathematics difficulty with and without comorbid reading difficulty. Journal of Learning Disabilities. Advance online publication. doi:10.1177/0022219419881