The intervention was implemented in four elementary schools. The elementary schools were all in a single district in the mid-Atlantic region.
In each group, 11 students were male and 12 were female. The racial breakdown of the intervention group was as follows: 3 Black students, 15 White students, and 5 biracial students. The racial breakdown of the comparison group was as follows: 7 Black students, 1 Asian student, 13 White students, and 2 students who preferred not to answer. Mother's education levels for the intervention group were as follows: less than high school graduate, 1 student; high school graduate, 2 students; some college, 4 students; college graduate, 8 students; some graduate school, 5 students; graduate degree, 3 students. Mother's education levels for the comparison group were as follows: high school graduate, 1 student; some college, 3 students; college graduate, 13 students; some graduate school, 3 students; graduate degree, 3 students. In the intervention group, 3 students were receiving special education services. In the comparison group, 2 students were receiving special education services. The authors note that 3 of these students had Individualized Education Program (IEPs) and 2 had Section 504 plans, but they do not describe how these students were distributed across the two groups. Four students were English learners but only 3 were provided with English language instruction; one of these students was in the intervention group and 2 in the comparison group.
The study examined the effectiveness of a reading intervention for students struggling with reading. The intervention focused on the theme of life in or near the ocean. Explicit reading comprehension instruction was provided for 6 areas: (1) previewing texts, (2) activating background knowledge, (3) strategies for decoding and understanding words that are unfamiliar, (4) "shrinking" the paragraph to identify the main idea, (5) summarizing, and (6) using an adaptation of the question-answer relationships (QAR) strategy. Students used an acronym, PLUG IN to help them remember the strategy. The acronym stands for: Previewing, Linking to what you know, Using fix-up strategies, Generating questions, In your own words, and Now, answer the questions.
The intervention ran for five months, from October through February. The intervention was delivered over thirty minute sessions in small groups of two to four students. There were a total of 40 sessions that were administered 4 times per week over a period of 10 to 12 weeks. Instruction followed a 4-day sequence. On day 1, the tutor provided explicit instruction on the strategy and modeled its use. On day 2, instruction included more modeling and supported and independent practice. On day 3, students practiced the strategy while reading trade books. On day 4, students supported each other, while taking turns in the role of "coach". This approach was adapted from Collaborative Strategic Reading.
The comparison condition was business as usual. Nine of the students in the comparison group participated in supplemental reading instruction. Four students received instruction with Corrective Reading (180-200 minutes per week), four students received instruction with Voyage (150-180 minutes per week), and one student received instruction with Soar to Success (175 minutes per week).
Support for implementation
Tutors attended about 20 hours of training. Lesson plans for days 1 and 2 were scripted. One of the study authors observed implementation of the intervention and provided feedback to the tutors as needed.