WWC review of this study

Reading Recovery: Early intervention for at-risk first graders (Educational Research Service Monograph).

Pinnell, G. S., DeFord, D. E., & Lyons, C. A. (1988). Arlington, VA: Educational Research Service. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED303790

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    74
     Students
    , grade
    1
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: July 2013

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

Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement: Word Recognition subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

May 1985

Grade 1;
74 students

13.68

12.51

No

 
 
19
More Outcomes

Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement: Letter Identification subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

May 1985

Grade 1;
74 students

52.27

51.19

No

 
 
17
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS): Reading Vocabulary subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

Spring 1986

Grade 1;
71 students

36.64

26.11

Yes

 
 
26
More Outcomes

Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS): Reading Comprehension subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

Spring 1986

Grade 1;
70 students

36.67

28.88

No

 
 
17
Reading achievement outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement: Dictation subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

May 1985

Grade 1;
74 students

30.62

24.38

Yes

 
 
33
More Outcomes

Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement: Concepts About Print subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

May 1985

Grade 1;
74 students

15.81

14.3

No

 
 
19

Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement: Writing Vocabulary subtest

Reading Recovery® vs. Skills-oriented drill activities

May 1985

Grade 1;
74 students

32.86

26.05

No

 
 
18

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Urban
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    • b
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    Ohio

Setting

The study took place in 12 urban public schools in Columbus, Ohio.

Study sample

The study authors used several comparison groups to examine the effectiveness of the Reading Recovery® program. The study comparison that meets WWC evidence standards includes students attending classrooms of teachers who had not previously been trained in Reading Recovery®. Eligible first-grade students were designated as the lowest 20% of readers in their classroom, based on the scores on the Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement, teacher judgment, and a standardized test. Thirty-eight students were randomly assigned to participate in the Reading Recovery® program, and 37 students were randomly assigned to the comparison group. The analysis sample after sample attrition included 37 students in both the intervention and comparison groups.

Intervention Group

Students in the Reading Recovery® group attended regular education classes. Each student also participated in individualized instruction with a Reading Recovery® teacher for 30 minutes daily until the student reached average levels for the class (on average, students who reached average levels received 67 daily lessons).

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison group attended regular education classes. They also attended an alternative compensatory program focused on a series of skills-oriented drill activities. This program included primarily small group instruction (with minimal individual-level instruction) and was delivered by trained paraprofessionals for approximately 30–45 minutes per day.

Outcome descriptions

Researchers reported outcomes from nine literacy measures, seven of which were included in the WWC review and ratings of effectiveness. Five of the six reported subtests of the Observation Survey5 were included in the WWC review of this study: two in the alphabetics domain, including Letter Identification and Word Recognition; and three in the general reading achievement domain, including Concepts About Print, Dictation, and Writing Vocabulary. Results from the Observation Survey: Text Reading Level subtest were not reported in this review because the WWC determined that it was not possible to calculate effect sizes that were comparable to other measures. The study authors also reported two outcome measures that fall into the comprehension domain: the Reading Vocabulary subtest and the Reading Comprehension subtest of the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS). Finally, the study included a writing assessment that does not fall within one of the domains specified in the WWC Beginning Reading protocol. For a more detailed description of the included outcome measures, see Appendix B.

Support for implementation

Reading Recovery® teachers received a full year of special training, during which they practiced teaching using Reading Recovery® methods and observed other teachers through a one-way mirror. The 20 teachers who provided the Reading Recovery® intervention to the analysis sample included in this WWC review received training from a local teacher leader and were in their first year of teaching the intervention during the time of the study.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Pinnell, G. S. (1988). Success of at-risk children in a program that combines writing and reading (Technical Report No. 417). Urbana-Champaign: University of Illinois, Center for the Study of Reading.

  • Pinnell, G. S. (1989a). Reading Recovery: Helping at-risk children learn to read. The Elementary School Journal, 90, 161–183.

  • Pinnell, G. S. (1989b). Success of at-risk children in a program that combines writing and reading. In J. M. Mason (Ed.), Reading and writing connections (pp. 237–259). Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

  • Pinnell, G. S., Short, K. G., Lyons, C. A., & Young, P. (1986). The Reading Recovery Project in Columbus, OH Year 1: 1985–1986. Columbus: Ohio State University.

 

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