The study was part of a larger evaluation of a program in nine elementary schools across three school districts in Oregon.
The original study involved 156 students in grades K–3. Students in kindergarten, first, and second grades were assessed during the spring prior to beginning the first year of
the intervention (Time 1), assessed again one year later (Time 2), and assessed a final time the following year (Time 3). Students were selected for participation in the study
on the basis of low reading achievement and aggressive tendencies. Specifically, students who scored below grade level on reading assessments and high on aggression (as
rated by teachers) were included in the study to examine the effect of supplemental reading instruction on students meeting these criteria. A post hoc analysis was conducted
on a small portion of these students (n=17) who were English language learners and for whom pre- and posttest data were available (there were 19 of these students at the
beginning of the study). All estimates of intervention effects are based on this subsample. The English language learners were included in the process of randomly assigning
all participants (limited and fluent English proficient) to a condition. All students were grouped by ethnicity and then rank-ordered by reading ability. Participants were matched,
beginning with poorest readers, and randomly assigned to a condition. That is, students from each pair were randomly assigned to the intervention or comparison condition.
The intervention group received their usual reading instruction supplemented by Reading Mastery if they were beginning readers in grades 1 or 2. Students below grade level in grades 3 or 4 were put into an appropriate level of SRA Corrective Reading. Both programs include components that facilitate the development of beginning reading skills, but the programs differ in instructional methodology. Reading Mastery and Corrective Reading both entail explicit instruction in phonemic awareness, sound-letter correspondence, and blending. New sounds were introduced to students assigned to the Corrective Reading group at a faster pace than to students in the Reading Mastery group, and stories used for the Corrective Reading group were selected based on their appeal to older students. Relative to English speaking peers, English language learning students
were provided additional time per lesson if assistants needed to explain English vocabulary. Most instruction was conducted in groups of two to three students, though some one-to-one instruction was provided. The program was delivered as a pull-out lasting 25–30 minutes a day.
The comparison group of English language learning students had the same regular reading instruction but did not participate in the supplemental instruction programs.
A series of reading subtests from Woodcock-Johnson were administered four times in the course of the two-year intervention. (See Appendix A2 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.) Outcomes reported here are drawn from the spring of the second year (that is, after two years of the intervention; reported in Appendix A3). In addition, a follow-up assessment was conducted one year after the conclusion of the study. It is reported in Appendix A4.
Support for implementation
Project assistants delivered the intervention to students, supplementing the normal reading instruction delivered by the classroom teacher. In all cases except one, instruction
took place as a pull-out program. All assistants received 10 hours of preservice training in testing, student-grouping, general instructional skills, and the theoretical approach of the program. To ensure program delivery met program standards, assistants were observed weekly in the first month of the program and twice a month thereafter.