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IES Grant

Title: First Grade Super-Readers: Intervention for the Prevention of Reading Comprehension and Decoding Difficulties in Young Children At-Risk for Reading Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Denton, Carolyn Awardee: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language Development      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,611,325
Goal: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324A100129

Co-Principal Investigator: Emily Solari

Purpose: First Grade Super Readers is intended to be an integrated, systematic reading intervention for first grade children who are at-risk of serious difficulties and disabilities in word reading and reading comprehension. This research team will develop First Grade Super Readers as a Tier 2 intervention within a Response-to-Intervention model to provide supplemental intervention to students who do not benefit sufficiently from quality classroom reading instruction. The intervention differs from existing first grade Tier 2 interventions in that it (a) builds both word-level processes and listening and reading comprehension through systematic and explicit instruction from easier to more complex skills and strategies; (b) guides application of skills and strategies while reading connected text; and (c) includes daily written response to text.

Project Activities: Researchers will design, field test, and revise the intervention based on input from teachers in several iterative cycles. A pilot study will be conducted in the final year to examine the feasibility and potential effectiveness of First Grade Super Readers.

Products: The products of this project will be published reports describing a fully developed reading intervention for first grade children at risk for reading difficulties.

Structured Abstract

Setting: A large, urban district in Texas.

Population: Development activities will be conducted with a diverse group of 5 first-grade teachers and 20 of their students with reading difficulties. English language learners receiving primary reading instruction in English will also be included. The pilot study will include 24 teachers and 96 students.

Intervention: The intervention includes both large and small group instruction. In the large-group setting teachers provide interactive instruction in listening comprehension for 15 minutes a day using a read-aloud of a trade book. Small group instruction is implemented in 30 to 40 minute lessons by either a classroom teacher or other teacher for 4 days per week over a 24 week period. Each small-group lesson consists of (a) explicit, systematic instruction in comprehension skills and strategies; (b) explicit, systematic instruction in word-level skills and strategies (phonemic awareness, decoding, word reading, spelling); (c) text reading practice in which the teacher scaffolds and provides feedback to support the application of skills and strategies in connected text and the development of automaticity; and (d) written response to a guiding question about the text, scaffolded by the teacher. Components of the intervention include: (a) a comprehensive scope and sequence; (b) detailed daily lesson plans; (c) diagnostic assessments for the decoding component; (d) a listening comprehension curriculum-based measure; (e) instructional materials; (f) teacher professional development materials; and (g) forms and procedures for collecting fidelity data.

Research Design and Methods: An iterative development process will be used in which the intervention is developed, field tested, and then refined based on feedback from teachers. In Year 1, researchers will develop the scope and sequence and first half of the lessons along with related components. A reiterative cycle is used in which teacher input is used to develop lessons, teachers provide feedback on the lessons and then further revisions are made. The cycle will then be repeated. Researchers will also develop a listening comprehension measure in Year 1. In Year 2, this sequence will be repeated with the second half of the lessons. Year 3 consists of a pilot study to determine the feasibility of the intervention, determine whether the intervention is related to positive student outcomes, and collect final teacher feedback. During year 3, a quasi-experimental design will be used with some teachers administering the intervention with ongoing coaching support; some administering the intervention without coaching support; and some providing reading instruction as usual. At the end of Year 3, intervention guides and materials will be finalized.

Control Condition: Students in the business-as-usual condition will receive instruction typically provided by the schools.

Key Measures: Information on the program will be collected through focus groups, teacher logs, interviews, surveys, and observations of teachers. The development process will be informed by continuous progress monitoring (CPM) data collected using the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), Vanderbilt Word Identification Fluency, and a researcher-developed listening comprehension curriculum-based measure. CPM data will also be collected during the pilot study, as will measures of oral language and reading, including selected subtests from the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing, Woodcock-Johnston Tests of Achievement-III, Test of Word Reading Efficiency, Expressive One Word Vocabulary Test, Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-4, Test of Silent Reading Efficiency and Comprehension, and Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test-4. Student demographics (gender, age, ethnicity, ELL status, and special education status) will be collected as well as attendance data for student participation in the lessons.

Data Analytic Strategy: Qualitative data (surveys, interviews, logs, and observations) will be coded and analyzed to identify and summarize themes for program improvement and to evaluate feasibility. Descriptive statistics, comparisons of slope and level, and pre-post analyses of quantitative student data will provide evidence of the potential effectiveness of First Grade Super Readers with and without coaching support.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Boyle, J. R., Forchelli, G. A., and Cariss, K. (2015). Note-taking Interventions to Assist Students with Disabilities in Content Area Classes. Preventing School Failure, 59(3): 186–195. doi:10.1080/1045988X.2014.903463 Full text

Solari, E.J., Denton, C.A., and Haring, C. (2017). How to Reach First-Grade Struggling Readers: An Integrated Instructional Approach. Teaching Exceptional Children, 49(3): 149–159. Retrieved from