Date of Award

Summer 2022

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Ismahan Arslan-Ari


The fifth-grade boys at an elementary school in Texas consistently perform lower than girls on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) reading portion. The gender gap in reading is not exclusive to this school. Boys score lower than girls on state-administered reading assessments each year in the United States (U.S.) and have done so for decades (Bozack & Salvaggio, 2013; Clinton et al., 2014; Schwabe et al., 2015; Schwanenflugel & Knapp, 2018). This study explored the effects of using a recreational video game on fifth-grade boys struggling with reading comprehension in a six-week-long reading intervention program.

This study used a mixed-methods case study that lasted 28 weeks and comprised three phases: 1) Administrative, 2) Data collection, and 3) Data analysis. The participants included six tier-two and three readers, as determined by their Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test scores. They met with the reading teacher for an hour each week. Participants completed and reviewed the pretest containing 10 reading questions from the 2018 STAAR on week one; received a mini-lesson on reading comprehension strategies, participated in a guided discussion, played To the Moon on their Google Chromebooks, and took and reviewed a formative assessment on weeks two through five; and conducted the posttest containing 10 reading questions from the 2019 STAAR, Student Focus Group Interview, and Student Attitudes Survey on week six.

The researcher conducted inductive analysis on the Student Focus Group Interview and part two of the Student Attitudes Survey using Delve. Three themes emerged from the data: 1) Reading Comprehension Performance, 2) Impressions of To the Moon, and 3) Attitudes Toward Video Games. He conducted descriptive statistics of the pretest, posttest, formative assessments, and part one of the Student Attitudes Survey. The participants' performance improved from the pretest (M = 40, SD = 22.40) to the posttest (M = 42, SD = 13.30). Three boys saw significant improvement in their performance, with one increasing his score by 30 points. Overall, the participants had positive attitudes toward using To the Moon to improve their reading comprehension performance.


© 2022, Donald Wayne Meyer Jr.