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Reference Resources iconReview Protocols

The What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) review for beginning readers focuses on reading interventions for students in grades K–3 (or ages 5–8) that are intended to increase skills in alphabetics (phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, letter identification, print awareness, and phonics), reading fluency, comprehension (vocabulary development and reading comprehension), or general reading achievement. Systematic reviews of evidence in this topic area address the following questions:

• Among interventions intended to provide basic literacy instruction, which ones improve reading skills (including alphabetics, reading fluency, comprehension, or general reading achievement) among students in grades K–3 (or ages 5–8)?

• Are some interventions more effective than others for certain types of reading skills?

• Are some interventions more effective for certain types of students, particularly students who have historically lagged behind in reading achievement?


Table of Contents

  • Purpose Statement
  • Key Definitions
  • Procedures for Conducting the Literature Search
  • Eligibility Criteria
  • Evidence Standards

Protocol Details

  • Version: 3.0
  • Released: September 2014

What is a Protocol?

A review protocol defines the scope of a systematic review. Developed with substantive experts, the protocol defines the parameters for the review, including the research, populations, settings, and outcomes. The protocol also specifies details of the literature search and any topic-specific applications of the design standards.

Protocol versions reflect the version of WWC standards in effect when the protocol was released. Protocol versions that predate the current version of the WWC standards handbook can be used to identify acceptable outcome domains for review within a given topic. The current WWC standards are used to guide the review of studies with acceptable outcomes.

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