The study included students in grades 4, 5, and 6 in three elementary schools in Brockton, Massachusetts. These three schools differed from the four schools studied in Fitzgerald and
The baseline study sample was evenly distributed between students in grades 4, 5, and 6 (34.4%, 37.1%, 28.6%, respectively) and between girls and boys (50.3% and 49.7%, respectively). Over 80% of students were eligible for free or reduced-price lunch. Just over a fifth (21.1%) of students in the baseline sample had disabilities, and over 75% were minority students (51.5% African American, 22.2% White, 20.8% Hispanic, and 5.5% other).
The intervention group attended a 2-hour afterschool program 4 days per week for 23 weeks from October 2005 through April 2006. The first hour was dedicated to a snack and homework. The second hour was dedicated to READ 180®. In this study, the standard 90-minute READ 180® model (version 1.6) was shortened to 60 minutes to accommodate the district’s afterschool program. Teachers implemented three 20-minute rotations, but did not implement the whole-group lesson. The first rotation consisted of a 20-minute individualized computer-assisted READ 180® instruction, which included structured reading practice with videos, leveled text, and word reading and fluency activities. The rotation focused on a substantive area selected by the student. The second rotation consisted of independent reading of books that were matched to student’s Lexile level. The third rotation consisted of small-group teacher-directed lessons that were tailored to the reading level of the students in each group.
The comparison condition was also implemented 4 days per week over 23 weeks from October 2005 through April 2006. Like the intervention group, the first hour of the comparison condition’s afterschool program was dedicated to a snack and homework. The second hour included both literacy and non-literacy activities; however, the amount of time dedicated to these activities varied each day. Teachers were instructed to implement activities that encouraged attendance in the afterschool program. Each teacher was provided with a selection of 16 activities, including informal art-based projects, games, and commercially-developed materials for afterschool programs in various subject areas (e.g., astronomy, history, geography, space exploration, math, or literacy). The teachers had flexibility in choosing and tailoring which activities to use.
Support for implementation
Classrooms were observed twice during the study period and rated from 1 to 3 (low to high fidelity to the intervention). Ratings ranged from 2.9–3 in observations at the beginning of the intervention period and from 2.3–2.8 in observations at the end of the intervention period.