The study was conducted in 19 full-day kindergarten classrooms in 9 elementary schools.
Seventy-five kindergarten students were recruited to participate in the study after having been identified by their teachers as needing additional reading instruction. Students also had to meet eligibility screens for the study by receiving low scores on a range of reading pretests. Thirty-nine students were randomly assigned to the intervention group, and 36 were assigned to the comparison group. Three students from the intervention group and five students from the comparison group dropped out of the study, yielding a final analysis sample of 36 students in the intervention group and 31 students in the comparison group. Outcomes were assessed immediately after the 18-week intervention period and again one year later, during the spring of the students’ first-grade year. However, the first-year follow-up results do not meet WWC evidence standards because the intervention is confounded with another mentoring program.
Students in the intervention group received individualized reading instruction from a trained paraeducator for 30 minutes a day, four days per week, for 18 weeks. Paraeducators taught students using a series of 62 scripted lessons, with three to four activities per lesson. The first 20 minutes of tutoring focused on phonics activities from the scripted lessons. During the last 10 minutes of tutoring, the students read aloud from Bob Books®. Most children read independently, but some read the story with the tutors (either echo reading or partner reading). Students completed an average of 47 lessons during the 18 weeks.
Students in the comparison group received their regular reading instruction and services.
Outcomes were assessed on eight measures: (1) DIBELS Letter Name Fluency subtest, (2) CTOPP phonological awareness composite, (3) Word Reading Accuracy subtest of the WRMT-R/NU, (4) TOWRE, (5) DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency subtest, (6) DIBELS Nonsense Word Fluency subtest, (7) an oral reading fluency test, and (8) the Passage Comprehension subtest of the WRMT-R/NU. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1– A2.3. The study also assessed outcomes on the Revised Spelling subtest of the Wide Range Achievement Test–Revised (WRAT-R), but that outcome is excluded from this review because it falls outside the scope of the Beginning Reading review protocol.
Support for implementation
The 11 paraeducators in this study were hired as employees of the school district. All but four had prior tutoring experience, and five had prior experience working with kindergarten students. Their average education level was 14 years, and six tutors had more than a high school education.