The study took place in four schools in one district in the United States. The participating elementary schools served 9% to 27% minority students, and less than 15% of the student population received special education services.
This study is a quasi-experiment that initially included a sample of 51 second- to sixth-grade classrooms assigned to one of three conditions: (1) comparison; (2) treatment, receiving Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® training in the summer preceding implementation; and (3) treatment, receiving the program training as well as follow-up support during the school year. The treatment classrooms were matched with comparison classrooms on the Gates–MacGinitie pretest scores. This review focuses on comparisons of the 15 classrooms taught by teachers who received either program training or program training with follow-up support, and the 15 classrooms in the comparison group.
There were two forms of the Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® intervention: (1) training only and (2) training plus follow-up support. The intervention group participated in teacher-led basal-related activities, partner reading, story-related writing, reading of words aloud, word meaning activities, story retelling, spelling, direct instruction in reading comprehension, home reading, integrated language arts and writing, weekly tests, and cooperative learning groups of four students. The program was implemented in intervention classrooms for seven to eight months.
Comparison group teachers continued to teach in accordance with their own style and used the regular district-adopted reading and language arts program (basal materials). All comparison schools used the same reading and language arts curricula: Houghton Mifflin Reading (Durr et al., 1989) and the Silver Burdett & Ginn English series (Ragno, Toth, & Gray, 1988).
For both the pretest and the posttest, students took the Gates–MacGinitie Reading Test Comprehension and Vocabulary subtests and the Basic Academic Skills Sample Reading Proficiency subtest. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1 and A2.2.
Support for implementation
The study’s investigator provided Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® training and follow-up assistance. The training took place during five 4-hour sessions (spanning one week) during the summer preceding the study. Teachers were provided with lesson plans that were aligned to the district’s basal series curriculum. Teachers practiced the Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition® components and received feedback from the investigator and peers. All Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition®–trained teachers participated in two follow-up meetings during the school year. Teachers assigned to receive classroom-based follow-up assistance also had the investigator observe lessons (on average, about 10 observations), provide feedback, demonstrate teaching procedures, and make recommendations for future lessons.