The study took place in sixteen public elementary schools across six school districts in three states. One of the school districts was in a large urban area, one was in a mid-sized city, and four were in rural areas.
The sample at randomization was 51% female, 35% African American, 44% Caucasian, 17% American Indian, 1% Asian, and 2% multiracial. Forty-six percent of the students at randomization identified as Hispanic. Eighty-five percent were low income, 13.2% were English Learners, and 15% were identified as having a disability. The study did not provide information about the analytic sample.
Passport to Literacy, a supplemental reading intervention, was implemented in daily, 30-minute sessions in groups of four to seven students for an entire school year (up to 120 lessons). The intervention is broken into twelve 10-day adventures, with each lesson targeting phonics and word recognition, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Each lesson begins with a short starter activity followed by two major components: Word Works and Read to Understand. During the Word Works component, students learned strategies related to phonics, word recognition, decoding, sight word reading, and spelling. During the Read to Understand component, students learned new vocabulary and reading comprehension skills. The intervention sessions occurred outside of classroom reading instruction blocks often during the time already designated for intervention/enrichment. For students who were present through the full school year, the number of lessons attended ranged from 58 to 106 lessons. On average each session lasted 28.56 minutes. About 27% of students in the intervention group also received other typical supplemental instruction provided by their schools and available to the comparison group. The other instruction was provided in small groups for some or all of the school year, with an average session being about 28 minutes.
The comparison condition was regular reading instruction in each school. This included core reading instruction, which was on average 75.40 minutes daily), and school-provided supplemental instruction for students who were eligible. This supplemental instruction most often ranged from 31-50 minutes per session, and most were offered in small groups. The average length of intervention instruction time was 28 minutes per session. Sixty-eight comparison students, or about 30% of the comparison group, received supplemental intervention provided by their respective schools for at least part of the school year.
Support for implementation
Prior to the implementation of Passport to Literacy, intervention teachers participated in approximately eight hours of training over 2 days. Training was provided by project coordinators, who also conducted coaching visits twice a month once intervention sessions began. Teachers were able to receive feedback on implementation as well as discuss questions and concerns. Monthly meetings with all intervention teachers were held to provide continued support and ensure implementation fidelity.