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IES Grant

Title: Project Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR): Interventions for Struggling Adolescent and Adult Readers and Writers
Center: NCER Year: 2008
Principal Investigator: Vaughn, Sharon Awardee: University of Texas, Austin
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $3,000,000
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A080608

Co-Principal Investigator: Janette Klinger

Purpose: Less than 20 percent of students have reading comprehension skills at or above grade-appropriate proficiency levels. Minority students and English language learners are more likely to perform below proficiency levels. For example, 41 states reported that only 18.7% of English language learners scored above state-established norms for reading comprehension. A number of factors contribute to students not being able to comprehend text including: (a) inadequate decoding skills; (b) reading text with inadequate speed and accuracy (fluency); (c) not understanding the meanings of words; (d) not relating content to prior knowledge; (e) not applying comprehension strategies; and (f) not monitoring understanding. The Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) curriculum was developed to address reading comprehension problems with at-risk students, and over a 10-year period, it has been evaluated using quasi-experimental designs. The results indicate positive outcomes for students with learning disabilities and students at-risk for reading difficulties. Additionally, positive outcomes for average and high-achieving students and English language learners have also been reported. Given these promising results, a larger scale evaluation is warranted. The team will carry out two randomized control trials to assess the efficacy of CSR with adolescent struggling readers.

Project Activities: This project will conduct two randomized controlled trials to rigorously assess the effectiveness of CSR with adolescent struggling readers. Over the initial two years of the project, the team will evaluate the effects of participating in CSR on adolescent struggling readers. The evaluation will measure the student performance of teachers who deliver the intervention for two consecutive years against the student performance of teachers who are delivering the intervention for the first time. During the third and fourth years of the project, the team will assess the degree to which this intervention is effective for adolescent English learners. Teacher experience with the intervention will also be explored as a possible influence on student outcomes in year four.

Products: Based on the data, the research team will produce reports on the feasibility and the effectiveness of CSR as well as develop scholarly presentations and publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in low-income middle schools in the metropolitan areas of Denver, Colorado and Austin, Texas with special focus in years three and four on schools with high numbers of English language learners.

Population: Middle school teachers and students will participate in the studies. Students who participate have been school-identified as experiencing reading difficulty and will be scheduled for a reading intervention class. Verification of their reading difficulties will be determined based on a battery of reading related tests, and participants will be randomly selected from this pool.

Intervention: The Collaborative Strategic Reading (CSR) is a fully developed, feasible intervention, with preliminary evidence of its efficacy established through quasi-experimental research studies. CSR aims to improve the reading comprehension of struggling readers, including English language learners and students with reading disabilities, by using features associated with effective instruction (e.g., collaborative group work, interactive dialog, procedural strategies). The CSR curriculum addresses three prevailing educational challenges: (a) how to teach text comprehension strategies that improve students' reading comprehension; (b) how to adequately include struggling readers in text-related learning using grade-level text; and (c) how to provide opportunities for English language learners to interact effectively with peers and enhance their achievement. Initially presented by a teacher to the whole class using explicit instruction, modeling, and teacher think-alouds, the classroom moves to small group collaborative work over time. While students practice and gain proficiency, the teacher monitors and offers feedback.

Research Design and Methods: Multi-site cluster randomized designs will be used in these studies. Students school-identified as experiencing reading difficulty will be randomly assigned to classes, and classes will be randomly assigned to treatment and comparison conditions. In each of the four years of the project, teachers' classes (30 classes in Texas; 30 classes in Colorado) will be the units of assignment as well as analysis.

Control Condition: Students in the control condition will be provided with school-designed or "business as usual" reading interventions.

Key Measures: Measures of key outcomes (reading comprehension and vocabulary) include: Woodcock Johnson III Passage Comprehension Subtest, Test of Word Reading Efficiency, Gates MacGinitie Reading Tests, and a Strategy Use Measure.

Data Analytic Strategy: A series of hierarchical linear models will be estimated to investigate the effect of treatment on vocabulary and comprehension.

Book Describing the Tested Intervention, Including Intervention Materials:

Klinger, J.K., Vaughn, S., Boardman, A.G., & Swanson, E.A. (2012). Now We Get It! Boosting Comprehension With Collaborative Strategic Reading. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Curriculum Developed:

Klinger, J.K., Vaughn, S., Boardman, A.G., and Swanson, E.A. (2012). Now We Get It! Boosting Comprehension With Collaborative Strategic Reading

Products and Publications


Klinger, J.K., Vaughn, S., Boardman, A.G., and Swanson, E.A. (2012). Now We Get it! Boosting Comprehension With Collaborative Strategic Reading. San Francisco: John Wiley and Sons, Inc.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Boardman, A.G., Buckley, P., Vaughn, S., Roberts, G., Scornavacco, K., and Klingner, J.K. (2016). Relationship Between Implementation of Collaborative Strategic Reading and Student Outcomes for Adolescents With Disabilities. Journal of learning disabilities, 49(6), 644–657.

Boardman, A.G., Klingner, J.K., and Boelé, A.L. (2018). Strategy Instruction Shifts Teacher and Student Interactions During Text-Based Discussions. Reading Research Quarterly, 53(2): 175–195.

Boardman, A.G., Moore, B.A., and Scornavacco, K.R. (2015). Disrupting the" Norm" with Collaborative Strategic Reading. English Journal, 105(1), 48–54.

Boardman, A.G., Vaughn, S., Buckley, P., Reutebuch, C., Roberts, G., and Klingner, J. (2016). Collaborative Strategic Reading for Students With Learning Disabilities in Upper Elementary Classrooms. Exceptional Children, 82(4), 409–427.

Klingner, J.K., and Boardman, A.G. (2011). Addressing the "Research Gap" in Special Education Through Mixed Methods. Learning Disability Quarterly, 34(3): 208–218.

Vaughn, S., Klingner, J.K., Swanson, E.A., Boardman, A.G., Roberts, G., Mohammed, S.S., and Stillman-Spisak, S.J. (2011). Efficacy of Collaborative Strategic Reading With Middle School Students. American Educational Research Journal, 48(4): 938–964.

Vaughn, S., Roberts, G., Klingner, J.K., Swanson, E.A., Boardman, A., Stillman-Spisak, S.J., Mohammed, S.S., and Leroux, A.J. (2013). Collaborative Strategic Reading: Findings From Experienced Implementers. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 6(2): 137–163.

Nongovernment report, issue brief, or practice guide

Swanson, E., and Solis, M. (2011). Research to Practice: Collaborative Strategic Reading for Adolescents With LD. Overland Park, KS: Council for Learning Disabilities.

Swanson, E.A., and Solis, M. (2011). Collaborative Strategic Reading for Adolescents With Learning Disabilities. Overland Park, KS: LD Forum.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Interventions for Struggling Adolescent and Adult Readers and Writers in FY 2008.