WWC review of this study

Four methods of identifying change in the context of a multiple component reading intervention for struggling middle school readers

Frijters, J. C., Lovett, M. W., Sevcik, R. A., & Morris, R. D. (2013). Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26(4), 539-563.

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
    , grades

Reviewed: December 2019

At least one finding shows promising evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Statistically significant positive effect found for the domain
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Woodcock-Johnson III (WJ-III): Word Attack subtest

PHAST Reading vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
270 students





Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 29%
    Male: 72%

  • Suburban, Urban
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    Georgia, International
  • Race


This study was conducted in middle schools in Toronto and surrounding area in southern Ontario, and the metropolitan Atlanta area. Study participants were those students identified as being significantly below age-expected achievement in reading.

Study sample

Study participants had an average age of 12.42 years, with the majority male (71.5%) and Caucasian (71.1%). An additional 15.2% identified as African American.

Intervention Group

PHAST Reading is a multiple-component active reading remediation intervention, administered for 1 hour each day, for a total of 125 hours of instruction in small groups. Combining direct instruction, dialogue-based strategy instruction, and daily reading practice, PHAST Reading integrates phonological and strategy-based reading instruction to help students decode words and become strategic readers.

Comparison Group

Students assigned to the comparison group received at least 125 hours of small-group instruction using locally developed, eclectic programs that taught decoding, reading comprehension, and/or writing content.

Support for implementation

No support for implementation was provided.


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