The study included students from three elementary schools.
First-grade students were identified as potentially at risk of having difficulty reading using a
two-stage process. First, a pool of potential candidates was identified based on low scores
(bottom 35%) on a test of letter-sound knowledge. Second, study authors computed a
probability of reading difficulty for each student, using logistic regression and based on a
combined score from three tests that measured phoneme elision, serial naming of numbers,
and vocabulary. Students with the highest probabilities of reading difficulty were eligible for
inclusion in the study.
In total, 112 students potentially at risk of reading difficulty were recruited to participate in
the study over 2 consecutive school years. Across these 2 years, 36 students were randomly
assigned to the LiPS® intervention group, 36 students were randomly assigned to another intervention (RWT), and 40 students were randomly assigned to the comparison group. The
final study sample, after attrition, included 35 students in the LiPS® group, 34 students in the
RWT group, and 39 students in the comparison group. The RWT condition does not factor
into the intervention’s rating of effectiveness, as the comparison group’s use of a basal reader
provided a more appropriate counterfactual to test the effectiveness of LiPS®; however, LiPS®
vs. RWT contrasts are presented as supplemental findings in Appendix D. These supplemental
findings in the comprehension, alphabetics, and reading fluency domains contrast an oral
language approach used in the LiPS® intervention with an approach focused more heavily on
spelling and writing in RWT. The supplemental findings do not factor into the intervention’s
rating of effectiveness.
About 56% of the total sample were male, 33% were minority (mostly African American),
and about 35% received free or reduced-price lunch. The average age at the beginning of
instruction was 6.5 years.
The LiPS® program is designed to teach students the skills they need to decode and encode
words and to identify individual sounds and blends in words. For this study, as a supplement
to regular classroom reading instruction, students were instructed in groups of three, and
received four 50-minute sessions per week throughout the school year (i.e., from October
through May). On average, students received 84.5 hours of LiPS® instruction.
Students in the comparison group did not receive any supplemental reading instruction. In
two of the schools, the standard reading instruction was Open Court’s Collections for Young
Scholars. The third school did not have a standard reading curriculum, but instead allowed
teachers to choose their materials for reading instruction.
Assessments were administered immediately following the delivery of the interventions in
May of a given school year. Outcomes in the alphabetics domain were measured using the
WRMT-R Word Attack and Word Identification subtests; the TOWRE Word Efficiency and
Phonemic Decoding Efficiency subtests; the CTOPP Blending Words, Segmenting Words,
Phoneme Elision, and Rapid Letter Naming subtests; and a developmental spelling analysis
(Tangel & Blachman, 1992). Outcomes in the comprehension domain were measured using
the WRMT-R Passage Comprehension subtest. The CTOPP Rapid Digit Naming subtest was
excluded from this review, since it was out of scope of the Beginning Reading Protocol.
Outcomes were also measured 1 year following the delivery of the intervention. Reading
fluency was measured using the Gray Oral Reading Test–Third Edition (GORT-3) Text Reading
Rate subtest. Alphabetics was measured using the WRMT-R, CTOPP, and the Wide Range
Achievement Test–Revised (WRAT-R) Spelling subtest. Comprehension was measured using
the WRMT-R Passage Comprehension subtest and the GORT-3 Comprehension subtest.
These 1-year follow-up assessments are presented as supplemental findings in Appendix D.
The supplemental findings do not factor into the intervention’s rating of effectiveness.
Support for implementation
Teachers received 18 hours of pre-service training in LiPS® at the beginning of each year.
Biweekly 3-hour staff meetings were held with teachers to discuss instructional or behavioral
issues in their classrooms. Supervisors with special expertise in the LiPS® program attended
roughly half of these staff meetings.