Participants were from four elementary schools in an urban school district. At the schools, nearly half of the students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, Title I services were available to students, and two-thirds of students were racial or ethnic minorities.
Vadasy, Jenkins, and Pool (2000) is a randomized controlled trial in which 46 first-graders from four elementary schools were randomly assigned to either participate in Sound Partners or receive the schools’ regular classroom instruction. Teachers in 11 classrooms identified up to 6 students each whose reading performance in the fall concerned them. The 64 students identified by the teachers were pretested on four assessments, and those with the 46 lowest scores were randomly assigned. The remaining 18 students were kept as replacement students. In the course of the study, the researchers replaced two treatment and two comparison students on the basis of convenience and scheduling considerations. The groups were balanced on gender (9 girls and 14 boys in each group). The study also examined second-year follow-up scores for a subsample of 37 students. This analysis is not included in this review, however, because the authors did not demonstrate that the intervention and comparison students included in the follow-up results were equivalent at baseline.
In the study, tutoring took place for 27 weeks. Students attended from 54 to 89 sessions over this period, with an average of 72 sessions per child. The version of Sound Partners used for the study included additional, revised, or expanded components of a preceding version.
Students in the counterfactual condition participated in the schools’ regular classroom and Title I reading instruction activities.
For both pre- and posttests, the authors administered the Wide Range Achievement Test–Revised Reading subtest. For additional posttests, the authors used the Dolch Word Recognition, the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery–Revised Word Attack subtest, the Bryant Pseudoword Test, the Yopp-Singer Segmentation Task, and the primary and first-grade passages of the Analytical Reading Inventory. The authors also used two spelling assessments, but they were not included in this review because they are outside the scope of the Beginning Reading review protocol. For a more detailed description of the included outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1 and A2.2.
Support for implementation
The researchers recruited tutors through the school newsletters. Nine tutors participated in the study (mainly parents of children in the schools). Tutors received $5 per hour for their tutoring and training time, which included eight hours of training before the program began and six additional hours of training during the school year. Training for tutors consisted of explanations, modeling, role-playing of each lesson component, guidelines for behavior management, record keeping, and error correction strategies. Follow-up training occurred during the year by tutor request or when researchers identified a need. Researchers replaced two tutors in the middle of the year with one new tutor.