Please take our brief survey

Blueprints Programs = Positive Youth Development

Return to Search Results

Promising Program Seal

Targeted Reading Intervention

Blueprints Program Rating: Promising

Individualized instruction by classroom teachers takes the form of 15-minute sessions for a struggling reader in kindergarten and first grade until the child makes rapid progress in reading and then the teacher works with another struggling reader.

  • Dr. Lynn Vernon-Feagans
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • School of Education
  • Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute
  • 301K Peabody Hall, #3500
  • Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500
  • USA
  • (919) 966-5484
  • (919) 843-5623
  • (919) 962-1533
  • lynnevf@email.unc.edu
  • targetedreadingintervention.org
  • Academic Performance
  • Preschool Communication/Language Development

    Program Type

    • Academic Services
    • School - Individual Strategies
    • Teacher Training

    Program Setting

    • School

    Continuum of Intervention

    • Indicated Prevention (Early Symptoms of Problem)

    Individualized instruction by classroom teachers takes the form of 15-minute sessions for a struggling reader in kindergarten and first grade until the child makes rapid progress in reading and then the teacher works with another struggling reader.

      Population Demographics

      The early grades of elementary school children (K-1 grades).

      Age

      • Late Childhood (5-11) - K/Elementary

      Gender

      • Male and Female

      Race/Ethnicity

      • All Race/Ethnicity

      Race/Ethnicity/Gender Details

      The treatment proved similarly effective for demographic subgroups.

      The risk factors or factors to be changed by the program relate to individualized instruction for the student and professional development for the classroom teacher.

      • School
      Risk Factors
      • School: Poor academic performance
      Protective Factors
      • School: Instructional Practice, Opportunities for prosocial involvement in education

      See also: Targeted Reading Intervention Logic Model (PDF)

      Targeted Reading Intervention has the classroom teacher – rather than a specialized tutor or educator – deliver individualized instruction to struggling readers in regular kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. The instruction takes the form of 15-minute one-on-one instructional sessions in the regular classroom until the child makes rapid progress, and the teacher can go on to instruct another struggling reader. Teachers use a variety of word and comprehension strategies to improve reading and emphasize both identification of letter sounds in words and comprehension of words in text. The program intends primarily to help struggling readers, particularly those in rural, low-wealth communities where teachers have limited access to professional development and students have little access to intervention services. Along with helping struggling readers, the program aims to provide effective professional development for teachers, with the intention to benefit all students in the classroom.

      The program has the classroom teacher – rather than a specialized tutor or educator – deliver individualized instruction to struggling readers in regular kindergarten and first-grade classrooms. The instruction takes the form of 15-minute sessions offered daily over the course of the school year. Teachers use a variety of word strategies to improve reading and emphasize both identification of letter sounds in words and comprehension of words in text. The program intends to help struggling readers, particularly those in rural, low-wealth communities where teachers have limited access to professional development and students have little access to intervention services. Along with helping struggling readers, the program aims to provide effective professional development for teachers, with the intention to benefit all students in the classroom.

      Five elements were identified in the literature as effective learning strategies for struggling readers: 1) explicit instruction in the alphabetic principle combined with reading for meaning, 2) intervention in the first few grades of elementary school, 3) small-group or one-on-one intensive instruction, 4) an effective emotional and cognitive relationship with the teacher, and 5) individualized instruction that matches the child’s level of skill and particular needs.

      Each 15-minute session includes the following: 1) re-reading in which the teacher asks the student to re-read material to develop fluency, 2) word work in which the teacher uses multi-sensory strategies to help the child manipulate, say, and write words, and 3) guided oral reading in which the teacher selects a reading appropriate for the student’s level and allows the child to summarize what they have read and answer questions about the story.

      The program also aims to encourage the professional development of teachers by having them work individually with students and receive coaching from program consultants about their work with students. Weekly, each program teacher uses a laptop computer with a webcam in the classroom so that the program consultant can see the teacher working with the student and give real-time feedback. In addition, weekly team meetings are conducted via webcam with the program consultant and program teachers to deliver ongoing professional development and problem-solving for particular children.

      A transactional theory of development posits that teachers and students (or adults and children more generally) influence each other in dynamic cycles that over time can lead to positive or negative outcomes. Teachers change by actually experiencing the gains that children are making in reading. Positive experiences with the student, in turn, enhance teacher efficacy and transforms the way s/he teaches reading to all children. Such outcomes are enhanced by personalized interaction with an individual student or a small group of students. Thus, professional development of teachers in reading development and individualized instruction provides the means to transform teacher instruction.

      • Skill Oriented

      All studies of Targeted Reading Intervention randomly assigned a small number of schools (from 4 to 16) to an experimental condition implementing the reading program and a control condition teaching reading as usual. The schools came from rural disadvantaged areas of the southeastern and southwestern United States. Within each kindergarten and first-grade classroom in the experimental and control schools, five struggling readers and five non-struggling readers were selected. These students were assessed in the fall at the beginning of the school year and in the spring near the end of the school year. Analyses compared experimental and control schools on measures of reading outcomes in the spring for both struggling and non-struggling readers.

      Kindergarten and first-grade students participating in the program intervention showed greater improvement on several reading measures than students in the control schools. For struggling and non-struggling readers whose teachers participated in the program, struggling readers generally, but not consistently, showed stronger gains.

      Amendum et al. (2011)

      • Struggling readers in the experimental schools had higher posttest scores than struggling readers in the control schools on all four Woodcock Johnson reading measures: Word Attack, Word-Letter Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds.
      • Both struggling and non-struggling readers in the experimental schools had higher posttest scores than struggling and non-struggling readers in the control schools on three of the four reading measures: Word Attack, Word-Letter Identification, and Passage Comprehension.

      Vernon-Feagans et al. (2009, 2010)

      • Both struggling and non-struggling readers in the experimental schools had higher posttest scores than struggling and non-struggling readers in the control schools on all four Woodcock Johnson reading measures: Word Attack, Word-Letter Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds.
      • In some cases, struggling readers improved enough to catch-up with their non-struggling peers.

      None reported.

      Averaged across studies, effect sizes of the program fell in the medium range. They ranged from a low of .31 to a high of .72 in the main study (Amendum et al., 2011), from .41 to .57 in Study 2 (Vernon-Feagans et al., 2009), from .34 to .72 in Study 3 (Vernon-Feagans et al., 2009), and from .38 to .61 in Study 4 (Vernon-Feagans et al., 2010).

      The samples came from rural schools in the southeastern and southwestern United States that received Title I funding and had a largely disadvantaged student population. The results did not vary by gender or race/ethnicity, but the program may not generalize to urban schools, more advantaged children, and other regions of the country.

      The main study (Amendum et al., 2011) had the strongest design but still faced some limitations:

      • Baseline equivalence was not fully established.
      • One experimental school that withdrew after assignment because of problems with technology should have, if at all possible, been included in the assessments and analysis to meet intent-to-treat requirements.
      • The analysis, while adjusting for clustering within schools and classrooms, treats condition membership as an individual-level variable when randomization was done at the school level.
      • No long-term effects were examined.

      Problems in the design and analysis in the other studies (Vernon-Feagans et al., 2009, 2010) are more serious, in large part because the papers did not discuss some key methodological issues.

      • Baseline equivalence was not examined.
      • Differential attrition was not examined (although imputation of missing data may counter any bias).
      • The score on a measure of intervention duration and quality was not high (only 3 on a scale from 1 to 5).
      • The analysis, while adjusting for clustering within schools and classrooms, treats condition membership as an individual-level variable when randomization was done at the school level.
      • The analyses did not control for baseline outcomes.
      • No long-term effects were examined.

      • Blueprints: Promising

      Bearfield Primary School
      145 Herford County High School Road
      Ahoskie, NC 27910
      (252) 209-6140
      Contact: Principal Julie Shields

      Amendum, S. J., Vernon-Feagans, L. V., & Ginsberg, M. C. (2011). The effectiveness of a technologically facilitated classroom-based early reading intervention. The Elementary School Journal, 112(1), 107-131.

      Vernon-Feagans, L., Amendum, S., Kainz, K., Ginsberg, M., Wood, T., & Bock, A. (2009). The Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI): A classroom teacher tier 2 intervention to help struggling readers in early elementary school. In Evidence for Interventions for Struggling Readers. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, D.C.

      Vernon-Feagans, L., Kainz, K., Hedrick, A., Ginsberg, M., & Amendum, S. (in press). The Targeted Reading Intervention: A classroom teacher professional development program to promote effective teaching for struggling readers in kindergarten and first grade. The Journal of Educational Psychology.

      Dr. Lynne Vernon-Feagans
      University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
      301K Peabody Hall, #3500
      Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3500
      (919) 843-5623
      lynnevf@email.unc.edu
      targetedreadingintervention.org

      Study 1

      Amendum, S. J., Vernon-Feagans, L. V., & Ginsberg, M. C. (2011). The effectiveness of a technologically facilitated classroom-based early reading intervention. The Elementary School Journal, 112(1), 107-131.

      Evaluation Methodology

      Amendum, S. J., Vernon-Feagans, L. V., & Ginsberg, M. C. (2011). The effectiveness of a technologically facilitated classroom-based early reading intervention. The Elementary School Journal, 112(1), 107-131.

      Design: The study used a cluster randomized design of eight schools from five school districts in the southwestern United States. Schools were matched and paired before randomization, but one school withdrew after assignment to the experimental group because of problems using the program technology. The seven remaining schools included 26 experimental and 17 control classrooms at kindergarten and first-grade levels. The study offered no information on selection of the schools for participation or the representativeness of rural schools.

      Within the classrooms, students with severe disability or unable to speak at least some conversational English were excluded. Of the remaining students, teachers and program consultants used assessments of reading skills and knowledge of the child’s progress in school to rank each child from lowest to highest performance. In both the experimental and control classrooms, five children reading below grade level (i.e., struggling readers) were randomly selected for study, as were five children reading above grade level (i.e., non-struggling readers). These two groups together included 10 students per classroom.

      The combination of experimental and control schools with struggling and non-struggling readers defined four conditions: 1) struggling readers in experimental schools (n = 112), 2) non-struggling readers in experimental schools (n = 125), 3) struggling readers in control schools (n = 63), and 4) non-struggling readers in control schools (n = 64). Only struggling students in the experimental schools received the treatment, but the professional development of teachers giving the instruction should also help non-struggling readers in the experimental schools.

      Baseline assessment occurred in the fall of the school year, and post-intervention assessment occurred in the following spring. Attrition was low. With 364 students having scores at baseline, the sample dropped to 350 (96%) at posttest. The experimental school that withdrew early (but after assignment) because of problems with technology was not included in the assessments and analysis.

      Sample Characteristics: All schools received Title I funding. Minority students comprised 57-98% of the students in the schools and most students (57-78%) were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

      Measures: The key outcome measures came from four subsets of the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement III battery:

      1. Word Attack to measure skills in applying phonetic analysis to pronouncing unfamiliar words,
      2. Letter-Word Identification to measure letter and word identification skills,
      3. Passage Comprehension to measure understanding, and
      4. Spelling of Sounds to measure spelling ability.

      Reliabilities for the four scales ranged from .74 to .91.

      The Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test – Third Edition, which served as a predictor rather than outcome, measures vocabulary knowledge and has an alpha reliability for elementary students of .92-.95.

      Analysis: In an intent-to-treat analysis, multiple imputation was used to deal with missing data. ANCOVAs included sociodemographic variables, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores, treatment condition, and an interaction between treatment condition and the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test scores. The models also treated pretest outcome scores as covariates. Planned contrasts were used to make comparisons across subsets of the four conditions.

      The authors state that all estimates came from hierarchical linear models that accounted for the nested structure of the data, estimating random intercepts for classrooms and allowing for school-specific variation between classrooms within schools. This procedure dealt with clustering effects both for schools and classrooms. However, it appeared that, outside adjustment of the standard errors for clustering, the randomization variable distinguishing between experimental and control schools was measured at the individual level. Based on a check of the t-distribution, the reported probabilities associated with particular t-values must have used degrees of freedom roughly equal to the number of students (364) rather than the number of schools (7). This may have biased tests in a way that overstated the significance of program effects.

      Outcomes

      Implementation Fidelity: The teachers participated in four professional-development activities that contributed to program fidelity: 1) a summer institute, 2) weekly or biweekly coaching sessions via the webcam, 3) weekly meetings via webcam about the reading progress of individual children, and 4) monthly or bimonthly webcam meetings to discuss strategies and content for improving the program.

      Quantitative measures assessing the duration and quality of program practices came from reports by teachers when meeting with program consultants. The duration measure tapped the total number of weeks spent with an experimental child. The quality measure tapped teachers’ use of the tools and faithfulness to program strategies. With the two measures averaged into one, the mean on a scale from 1 to 5 equaled 3.41.

      Baseline Equivalence: The study compared all participants (struggling and non-struggling readers) across the experimental and control schools and compared all participants across the experimental and control schools. The comparisons of struggling readers revealed significant differences by race, with white students more likely to attend the experimental schools. The models therefore controlled for race. The comparisons of schools revealed that the experimental schools scored significantly higher at baseline on the Letter-Word Identification scores and Spelling of Sounds scores and marginally significantly higher on Word Attack (p = .07) and Passage Comprehension (p =.13). These differences indicate a pattern of non-equivalence. With only seven schools, deviations from randomness can be expected, and the study controlled for baseline outcomes. Regardless, randomization may not have worked well with the small number of schools.

      Differential Attrition: None reported, but the posttest lost only 4% of participants, and missing data were imputed for the small number of students not present for the spring assessment.

      Posttest: The struggling readers did better at posttest in the experimental schools than in the control schools on all four reading measures: Word Attack, Word-Letter Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds. Effect sizes ranged from .40 to .72. For both struggling and non-struggling readers combined, the experimental schools did better than the control schools on three of the four measures: Word Attack, Word-Letter Identification, and Passage Comprehension. Effect sizes ranged from .31 to .61. The effects for all readers suggest that non-struggling readers benefitted indirectly from the program. However, the program worked no better for students scoring low at baseline on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test than those scoring high.

      Longterm: The study did not gather follow-up data or examine sustained effects.

      Vernon-Feagans, Lynne, Amendum, S., Kainz, K., Ginsberg, M., Wood, T., & Bock, A. (2009). The Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI): A classroom teacher tier 2 intervention to help struggling readers in early elementary school. In Evidence for Interventions for Struggling Readers. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, D.C.

      Studies 2 and 3 were reported in the same paper and based on the same kind of design. However, because they differed in their samples of schools, outcome measures, and ways of guiding teachers, this review treats them separately.

      Evaluation Methodology

      Design: The study used a cluster randomized control design with randomization at the school level. Six elementary schools in two poor rural counties in the southeastern United States participated in the study. Before randomization, the six schools were divided into three pairs based on matching characteristics of size, percent free and reduced-price lunch, percent minority, and involvement in the Reading First program. Random assignment selected one school out of each pair for the experimental condition and one school out of each pair for the control condition. No information was provided on how the schools were selected for participation or the representativeness of rural schools more generally.

      Within each of the schools, the study examined kindergarten and first grade classrooms. For the six schools, there were 14 experimental classrooms, and 18 control classrooms.

      In each classroom, teachers used assessment data and their judgment to identify children whose reading skills were below and above grade level. The study then selected five struggling readers and five non-struggling readers in each experimental and control classroom. Struggling readers in the experimental classrooms received the Targeted Reading Intervention, while other groups received reading instruction as usual. The total number of participants was 276.

      The program was delivered to struggling readers in one-on-one (or sometimes small group) sessions by the classroom teacher within the regular classroom. Each session lasted about 15 minutes. The number of sessions per week or school years was not discussed. The pretest occurred in the fall and the posttest occurred in the spring of the study year.

      All schools and classrooms participated throughout the study. Of the 276 participants, 270 (98%) had baseline scores and 252 (91%) had posttest scores on key measures.

      Sample Characteristics: The sampled students were diverse but generally disadvantaged. Approximately 60% of the students were African American and less than 10% of the mothers had a college degree. Most of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

      Measures: The key outcome measures came from two subsets of the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement III battery: Word Attack to measure skills in applying phonetic analysis to pronouncing unfamiliar words and Letter-Word Identification to measure letter and word identification skills.

      Two other subtests from the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing served as predictors of the outcomes: phonological awareness and rapid color naming.

      Analysis: The analyses used multiple imputation techniques, under the assumption that data were missing at random, to replace missing data. Random intercept regression models accounted for clustering within classrooms and schools but, as described in Study 1, the analysis was still conducted at the individual level. Perhaps most problematic, the analysis does not mention controlling for baseline outcomes.

      Outcomes

      Implementation Fidelity: Teachers implementing TRI met face-to-face over three days in a summer institute and met in-person biweekly with TRI consultants during the academic year.

      Quantitative measures assessing the duration and quality of TRI practices came from reports by teachers when meeting with program consultants. The duration measure tapped the total number of weeks spent with an experimental child. The quality measure tapped the teachers’ use of the tools and faithfulness to TRI strategies. The two scales were averaged into one. The average score of 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5) showed mixed success in implementation of the program.

      Baseline Equivalence: Not examined.

      Differential Attrition: Not examined, although multiple imputation of missing data might counter bias due to attrition.

      Posttest: Struggling and non-struggling readers in the experimental schools scored significantly higher than struggling and non-struggling readers in the control schools on the two achievement test measures of Word Attack (d=.41) and Letter-Word Identification (d=.50). For struggling readers, the experimental group scored significantly higher than the control group on Letter-Word Identification (d=.57), but not on Word Attack.

      Another test indicated that struggling readers who scored low on the Rapid Color Naming and Phonological Awareness measures gained the most from the intervention on Word Attack but not Letter-Word Identification.

      Overall, the evidence across both outcome variables unexpectedly showed more consistent benefits of the intervention for all students than for struggling readers.

      Longterm: The study did not gather follow-up data or examine sustained effects.

      Effect Size: Effect sizes of .41 to .57 fall in the medium range.

      Generalizability: The sample of disadvantaged rural schools in the southeastern United States limits the generalizability to more advantaged and urban schools in other parts of the country.

      Limitations: Problems in the design and analysis are serious, in large part because the paper did not discuss some key methodological issues.

      • Baseline equivalence was not examined.
      • Differential attrition was not examined (although imputation of missing data may counter bias).
      • The score on the measure of intervention duration and quality was not high (only 3 on a scale from 1 to 5).
      • The analysis, while adjusting for clustering within schools and classrooms, was done at the individual level when randomization was done at the school level.
      • The analysis did not control for baseline outcomes.

      Vernon-Feagans, Lynne, Amendum, S., Kainz, K., Ginsberg, M., Wood, T., & Bock, A. (2009). The Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI): A classroom teacher tier 2 intervention to help struggling readers in early elementary school. In Evidence for Interventions for Struggling Readers. Symposium conducted at the annual meeting of the Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness, Washington, D.C.

      This study replicates Study 2 nearly exactly in design and the results are reported in the same paper. However, it used a different sample of schools, set of measures, and technology for communication with teachers.

      Evaluation Methodology

      Design: The study used a cluster randomized control design with randomization done at the school level. Four elementary schools in rural counties in Texas and New Mexico were selected to participate. Before randomization, the four schools were divided into two pairs based on matching characteristics of size, percent free and reduced-price lunch, percent minority, and involvement in the Reading First program. Random assignment selected one school out of each pair for the experimental condition and one school out of each pair for the control condition. No information was provided on how the schools were selected for participation or the representativeness of rural schools more generally. Within each of the schools, the study examined kindergarten and first grade classrooms. For the four schools, there were 26 experimental classrooms and 17 control classrooms.

      In each classroom, teachers used assessment data and their judgment to identify children whose reading skills were below and above grade level. The study then selected five struggling readers and five non-struggling readers in each experimental and control classroom. Both struggling and non-struggling readers in the experimental classrooms received the Targeted Reading Intervention, while both groups of readers in the control schools received reading instruction as usual. The total number of participants was 359.

      The program was delivered to struggling readers in one-on-one (or sometimes small group) sessions by the classroom teacher within the regular classroom. Each session lasted about 15 minutes. The number of sessions per week or school years is not discussed. The pretest occurred in the fall and the posttest occurred in the spring of the school year.

      All schools and classrooms participated throughout the study. The study mentioned missing data but gives no specific figures on students who left the study or failed to complete pretest and posttest measures.

      Sample Characteristics: The sampled students were diverse but generally disadvantaged. About one-third of the students were white, 25% African American, and 35% other. Additionally, less than 15% of the mothers had a college degree. Most of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch.

      Measures: The key outcome measures came from four subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement III battery: Word Attack, Letter-Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds. In addition, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (3rd Edition) was used as an outcome measure.

      Analysis: The analyses used multiple imputation techniques, under the assumption that data were missing at random, to replace missing data. Random intercept regression models accounted for clustering within classrooms and schools but, as described in Study 1, the analysis was still conducted at the individual level. Perhaps most problematic, the analysis did not appear to control for baseline outcomes.

      Outcomes

      Implementation Fidelity. As in Study 2, teachers implementing TRI met face-to-face over three days in a summer institute. They also met with program consultants during the academic year but did so via a webcam rather than in person.

      Quantitative measures assessing the duration and quality of TRI practices came from reports by teachers when meeting with program consultants. The duration measure tapped the total number of weeks spent with an experimental child. The quality measure tapped the teachers’ use of the tools and faithfulness to TRI strategies. The two scales were averaged into one. The average score of 3 (on a scale of 1 to 5) showed mixed success in implementation of the program.

      Baseline Equivalence. Not examined.

      Differential Attrition. Not examined, although multiple imputation of missing data might counter bias due to attrition.

      Posttest: The results showed program benefits for struggling and non-struggling readers on the four outcome variables (Word Attack, Letter-Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds). For both struggling and non-struggling readers, the experimental group scored significantly higher than the control group on three of four measures: Word Attack (d=.35), Letter-Word Identification (d=.34), and Passage Comprehension (d=.61). For struggling readers, the experimental group scored significantly higher than the control group on all four measures: Word Attack (d=.52), Letter-Word Identification (d=.52), and Passage Comprehension (d=.72), and Spelling of Sounds (d=.40). However, no evidence emerged that the benefits of the intervention were higher for struggling readers with lower scores on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary.

      Longterm: The study did not gather follow-up data or examine sustained effects.

      Effect Size: Effect sizes of .34 to .72 fall in the medium range.

      Generalizability: The sample of disadvantaged rural schools in the southwestern United States limits the generalizability to more advantaged and urban schools in other parts of the country.

      Limitations

      Problems in the design and analysis are serious, in large part because the paper did not discuss some key methodological issues.

      • Baseline equivalence was not examined.
      • Differential attrition was not examined (although imputation of missing data may counter any bias).
      • The score on the measure of intervention duration and quality was not high (only 3 on a scale from 1 to 5).
      • The analysis, while adjusting for clustering within schools and classrooms, was done at the individual level when randomization was done at the school level.
      • The analysis did not control for baseline outcomes.

      Vernon-Feagans, L., Kainz, K., Hedrick, A., Ginsberg, M., & Amendum, S. (in press). The Targeted Reading Intervention: A classroom teacher professional development program to promote effective teaching for struggling readers in kindergarten and first grade. The Journal of Educational Psychology.

      This study highlights the use of web technology to provide real time consultation with the teachers and provide for their professional development. As a conference presentation rather than a published article, the paper is only five single-spaced pages and lacks information on key study details.

      Evaluation Methodology

      Design: The study used a cluster randomized control design with randomization at the school level. Sixteen elementary schools in five rural counties participated in the study. Before randomization, the six schools were divided into eight pairs based on matching characteristics of size, percent minority, percent free and reduced-price lunch, and involvement in the Reading First program. All the schools received Title I funding. Prior to randomization, one school withdrew because of difficulties with the technology required to effectively implement the intervention. Within each of the 15 schools (75 classrooms), the study examined kindergarten and first grade classrooms.

      Within each kindergarten and first-grade classroom, teachers with the aid of the program consultants used mandated state assessment data and classroom performance during the beginning of the school year to identify children as struggling or non-struggling readers. Five struggling and five non-struggling readers were then randomly selected in each experimental and control classroom. The combination of experimental and control schools with struggling and non-struggling readers defined four conditions: 1) struggling readers in experimental schools (n = 194), 2) non-struggling readers in experimental schools (n = 206), 3) struggling readers in control schools (n = 116), and 4) non-struggling readers in control schools (n = 132). Only struggling readers in the experimental schools received the intervention, but non-struggling readers in the experimental schools may benefit as well from the professional development of teachers implementing the program. The total number of participants was 648.

      The program was delivered to struggling readers in one-on-one (or sometimes small group) sessions by the classroom teacher within the regular classroom. Each session lasted about 15 minutes. The number of sessions per week or school year was not discussed. The pretest occurred in the fall and posttest occurred in the spring of the study year.

      All but one school participated throughout the study. Of the 648 students, some baseline measures contained missing data (for example, one measure had data on 578 or 89% of the students). The study did not report the sample size at posttest or give figures on attrition.

      Sample Characteristics: The sampled students were diverse, but generally disadvantaged. About 50% of the children were from minority backgrounds, and half were boys. Maternal education was generally low as the average was a high school degree with just a few mothers with a college degree.

      Measures: The key outcome measures came from four subtests of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement III battery: Word Attack, Letter-Word Identification, Passage Comprehension, and Spelling of Sounds. In addition, Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (3rd Edition) was used as an outcome measure.

      Analysis: Multilevel ANCOVA models with imputed missing data treated students as nested within classrooms (the school level added no significant variation and was not used). As described in Study 1, however, the analysis appeared to have been conducted at the individual level. The models controlled for baseline outcome scores and sociodemographic characteristics as covariates.

      Outcomes

      Implementation Fidelity. Teacher fidelity was assessed through weekly online reporting procedures and ratings of quality done over the course of the year by consultants. Fidelity was at or above 80% for all teachers.

      Baseline Equivalence. Not examined.

      Differential Attrition. Not examined.

      Posttest. The key hypothesis of this study compared the struggling readers in the experimental classrooms with the struggling readers in the control classrooms. Controlling for baseline scores, struggling readers in the experimental schools scored significantly higher than struggling readers in the control schools on four of the five achievement test measures: Word Attack (d=.38), Letter-Word Identification (d=.61), Passage Comprehension (d=.58), and Spelling of Sounds (d=.42). Significant differences were not found for the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test.

      A secondary hypothesis concerned the narrowing of differences between the struggling and non-struggling readers in the experimental classrooms. In support of the hypothesis and the effectiveness of the program, differences between the two groups did not reach significance at posttest for three of the five measures. In contrast, differences between struggling and non-struggling readers in the control schools remained significant for four of five measures.

      Longterm: The study did not gather follow-up data or examine sustained effects.

      Effect Size: Effect sizes of .38 to .61 fall in the medium range.

      Generalizability: The sample of disadvantaged rural schools in an unidentified part of the country limits the generalizability to more advantaged and urban schools in other parts of the country.

      Limitations

      • The study failed to present information on the analysis sample size, baseline equivalence, and differential attrition.
      • The analysis, while adjusting for clustering within schools and classrooms, was done at the individual level when randomization was done at the school level.