The study took place in the Minneapolis Public School district, in schools that were not on the
No Child Left Behind list of schools failing to make adequate yearly progress in 2003.
Read Naturally® was implemented with students in grades 3–5 in four elementary schools in
the Minneapolis Public School district. Comparison group students were drawn from the same
grade in the same school district. The author does not specify the number of schools attended
by comparison group students. Students were selected for the Read Naturally® intervention
based on parent and teacher recommendations and, according to the author, were generally
not considered to be “on course” for proficiency on the state assessments administered
in the spring of grades 3–5. The analysis sample included 156 students in grades 3–5 (78 in
Read Naturally® and 78 in the comparison group); 46 in grade 3, 66 in grade 4, and 44 in grade
5. The demographic characteristics of the Read Naturally® students were: 56% male, 12%
classified as special education, 35% classified as English language learners (ELL), and 65%
receiving free or reduced-price lunch. With respect to race and ethnicity, 39% of the intervention
group students were Hispanic, 35% were African American, 22% were White, and 4%
were Native American. No similar demographic information for the comparison sample was
presented in the study.
Two schools used the Read Naturally® Masters version that employed audio cassettes and
hard-copy reading materials, while two schools used the Read Naturally® Software Edition.
Two schools implemented Read Naturally® as a pull-out intervention during the school day,
while two schools used it as part of an after-school program. No further information was provided
in the study regarding the intervention condition.
The study author created a matched comparison group from within the Minneapolis Public
School district using students that were not receiving the Read Naturally® program. Students
were first matched by a pretest score on the Northwest Achievement Levels Test (NALT)–
Reading measure, followed by the following demographic factors: grade, ELL status, special
education status, free or reduced-price lunch status, race/ethnicity, home language, and
gender. Read Naturally® students were only matched to other students attending schools classified
with the same AYP status as their own school.
The study included one eligible outcome measure, the reading portion of the NALT, a statebased
adaptive assessment. The NALT is administered in the spring, with prior year’s NALT scores used as a pretest measure in the study. For a more detailed description of this outcome measure, see Appendix B. The reading portion of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) was also administered to the subsample of 88 students in grades 3 and 5 at posttest in the spring of 2004. However, the results for the subsample of students using this outcome measure are not included in this review because baseline equivalence for the analysis sample was not established.
Support for implementation
One teacher in each intervention group school was trained in Read Naturally® procedures by a
Read Naturally® instructor. Training included: initial assessment of student level of instruction
using curriculum-based measurement procedures, placement procedures, use of comprehension
assessments and strategies, student goal setting, and progress monitoring procedures.