WWC review of this study

The effectiveness of one-to-one tutoring by community tutors for at-risk beginning readers.

Vadasy, P. F., Jenkins, J. R., Antil, L. R., Wayne, S. K., & O’Connor, R. E. (1997). Learning Disability Quarterly, 20(2), 126–139. doi: 10.2307/1511219 Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ556899

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    40
     Students
    , grade
    1
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: February 2017

Alphabetics outcomes—Substantively important positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Yopp-Singer Test of Phoneme Segmentation

One-on-one tutoring vs. Business as usual

7 Months

Full sample;
40 students

16.75

14.65

No

 
 
16
More Outcomes

Wide Range Achievement Test- Revised (WRAT-R): Reading subtest

One-on-one tutoring vs. Business as usual

7 Months

Full sample;
40 students

46.08

43.37

No

 
 
12

Wide Range Achievement Test- Revised (WRAT-R): Spelling subtest

One-on-one tutoring vs. Business as usual

7 Months

Full sample;
40 students

29.32

28.38

No

 
 
10

Woodcock Johnson (WJ): Word Attack subtest

One-on-one tutoring vs. Business as usual

7 Months

Full sample;
40 students

8.58

7.42

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 95% Minority

  • 5% Non-minority
  • Race
    Not specified
    95%
    White
    5%

  • Urban

Setting

The study took place in four elementary schools located in one large urban school district in the United States. The four schools were all located in a central city, and were located within a few miles of each other.

Study sample

Forty-five percent of students enrolled in one of the four schools involved in this study were eligible for free or reduced lunch. This data is not reported separately for the study sample, although the authors expect it exceeds 45%. The average age of students in the intervention condition was 79.2 months (6.6 years), and the average age of students in the comparison condition was 77.8 months (6.5 years). 95% of students in the study sample identified as belonging to a minority race.

Intervention Group

The intervention is a one-on-one reading tutoring program targeted to low-achieving first graders. Tutoring was delivered by nonprofessional volunteers. The tutoring protocol consisted of 100 30-minute lessons covering varying topics, including: 1) letter sounds and beginning sound instruction, 2) rhyming, 3) auditory blending, 4) segmenting, 5) story reading, and 6) writing. Tutoring ran from November to May, with a maximum of 53 contact hours. Lessons included between six and eight student activities each. As the tutoring was delivered by nonprofessional volunteers, the lessons were designed to be easily implemented.

Comparison Group

The comparison condition received standard reading services in their school, but were not offered the supplemental one-on-one tutoring intervention.

Support for implementation

No standard implementation supports are available, but the study authors do describe procedures they used to monitor implementation fidelity in their own study. Tutors were asked to keep logs on lesson progression, but these were not completed consistently. Instead, tutors were observed once per week and provided feedback and advice on implementation fidelity. Feedback to tutors can focus on help modeling correct vowel sounds, correct blending and segmenting procedures, providing suggestions for changes in individualized lesson plans, assistance with behavior management strategies, and assistance with student writing exercises.

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: September 2010

Alphabetics outcomes—Substantively important positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Bryant Pseudoword Test

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

19.47

13.29

No

 
 
21
More Outcomes

Yopp-Singer Test of Phoneme Segmentation

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

16.75

14.65

No

 
 
16

Wide Range Achievement Test- Revised (WRAT-R): Reading subtest

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

46.08

43.37

No

 
 
12

Pseudoword list

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

12.75

9.65

No

 
 
11

Woodcock-Johnson Revised (WJ-R): Word Attack subtest

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

8.58

7.42

No

--

Dolch Word Recognition

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

131.93

123.57

No

--
Reading fluency outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Analytical Reading Inventory

Sound Partners vs. business as usual

1 year posttest

Grade 1;
40 students

33.16

29.55

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 0% English language learners

  • 45% Free or reduced price lunch
  • Race
    Not specified
    95%

  • Urban
    • B
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    Washington

Setting

The study includes first-grade children from four schools in a large urban school district in Washington state. Forty-five percent of students in the four schools were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Students from 13 classrooms were in the final analytic sample of 40 students.

Study sample

After prescreening and pretesting 229 first-graders, the 46 students scoring lowest on the pretests were stratified and randomly assigned to intervention and control groups, with 23 students in each group. At study completion, 20 students remained in each group, for a total of 40 students. Ninety-five percent of the study students were of minority background.

Intervention Group

A set of 100, thirty-minute Sound Partners lessons, each including six to eight activities, was administered to students in the intervention group. Some activities were phased out once students mastered the target skills. Other activities were initiated only after most letter sounds had been introduced, and they continued throughout the lessons. Students received reading tutoring after school for 30 minutes per day, four days per week, for 23 weeks. Tutors were provided with lessons to guide the sessions, which focused for specific amounts of time on instruction in letter names and sounds, sound categorization, rhyming exercises, onset-rime segmentation, auditory blending, spelling, writing, and reading from Bob Books®.

Comparison Group

The control group students received only the regular reading instruction in their classrooms.

Outcome descriptions

For both pre- and posttests, the authors administered a test of alphabetics, the Wide Range Achievement Test–Revised Reading subtest. Alphabetics achievement was further assessed using the Dolch Word Recognition test, the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery–Revised Word Attack subtest, the Bryant Pseudoword Test, an additional pseudoword list, and the Yopp-Singer Segmentation Task. The authors assessed reading fluency using the primary and first-grade passages of the Analytical Reading Inventory. The authors also used spelling and writing 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

Tutors (nonprofessional educators who were community members) were trained as a group two weeks before they began tutoring. Six hours of training were provided at that time and included an introduction to the goals and methods of the tutoring lessons, a presentation and practice role-playing on each lesson component, general information on tutoring, suggestions for behavior management and safety, and record-keeping tasks. Three hours of follow-up training were provided after the tutoring began.

Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: February 2009

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 0% English language learners
  • Race
    Not specified
    95%

  • Urban
 

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