More than 300 reading teachers (RTs) responded to a survey designed to determine their perceptions and experiences of speech language pathologists (SLPs) providing services to children with written language difficulties. Respondents were from all regions of the United States. The results indicated that RTs may be supportive of SLPs addressing the written language needs of the students they serve. Many RTs registered some disagreement that SLPs had sufficient training to provide written language instruction and may lack knowledge of the curriculum. Although written language intervention is within SLPs' scope of practice, SLPs currently practicing in school settings may need to advocate for themselves to actively be involved in written language instruction.
A Survey of Reading Teachers: Collaboration With Speech-Language Pathologists
Near- and far-transfer effects of an executive function intervention for 2nd to 5th-grade struggling readers
Kelly B. Cartwright et al. Near- and far-transfer effects of an executive function intervention for 2nd to 5th-grade struggling readers. Cognitive Development, October-December 2020. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogdev.2020.100932
Executive function intervention improves cognitive flexibility and reading comprehension for struggling readers. This study assessed the impact of a teacher-delivered, small-group reading-specific executive function (EF) intervention on reading performance in a sample of 57 teacher-identified struggling readers in 2nd to 5th grades at a public elementary school in the Mid-Atlantic U.S. The reading-specific EF intervention produced medium to large effects on reading-specific and domain-general EF skills as well as on reading comprehension tests.
The Effects of Special Education on the Academic Performance of Students with Learning Disabilities
Schwartz, Amy Ellen, Bryant Gregory Hopkins, Leanna Stiefel. (2019). The Effects of Special Education on the Academic Performance of Students with Learning Disabilities. (EdWorkingPaper: 19-86). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: http://www.edworkingpapers.com/ai19-86
Does special education improve academic outcomes for students with disabilities? There is surprisingly little evidence to guide policy and answer this question. This paper provides an answer for the largest disability group, students with learning disabilities. The researchers used data from the New York City schools to track the academic performance of more than 44,000 students with learning disabilities over seven years. Test scores for students with learning disabilities improve after they are classified into special education, and the gains are greatest for students who entered special education before they reached middle school. Overall, students who began special education services in grades 4 and 5 "were more likely to be placed, and remain, in less restrictive service settings" than students who began later, the researchers found. The findings suggest that support services that help students remain in the general education classrooms may be particularly effective for students with learning disabilities.
Reading Aloud, Play, and Social-Emotional Development
This study looked at the impacts on social-emotional development at school entry of a pediatric primary care intervention called the Video Interaction Project (VIP), promoting positive parenting through reading aloud and play, delivered in two phases: infant through toddler (VIP 0-3) and preschool-age (VIP 3-5). VIP 0-3 resulted in sustained impacts on behavior problems 1.5 years after program completion. VIP 3-5 had additional, independent impacts. The children whose families had participated in the intervention when they were younger were still less likely to manifest those behavior problems — aggression, hyperactivity, difficulty with attention. These results support the use of pediatric primary care to promote reading aloud and play from birth to 5 years, and the potential for such programs to enhance social-emotional development.
Rapid and widespread white matter plasticity during an intensive reading intervention
Elizabeth Huber, Patrick M. Donnelly, Ariel Rokem & Jason D. Yeatman. Rapid and widespread white matter plasticity during an intensive reading intervention, Nature Communications volume 9:2260 (2018).
Using MRI measurements of the brain’s neural connections, or “white matter,” researchers have shown that, in struggling readers, the neural circuitry strengthened — and their reading performance improved — after just eight weeks of a specialized tutoring program. The study is the first to measure white matter during an intensive educational intervention and link children’s learning with their brains’ flexibility. After eight weeks of intensive instruction among study participants who struggled with reading or had been diagnosed with dyslexia, two of those three areas showed evidence of structural changes — a greater density of white matter and more organized “wiring.” These findings demonstrate that targeted, intensive reading programs not only lead to substantial improvements in reading skills, but also change the underlying wiring of the brain’s reading circuitry.
Current Evidence on the Effects of Intensive Early Reading Interventions
Wanzek, J., Stevens, E. A., Williams, K. J., Scammacca, N., Vaughn, S., & Sargent, K. (2018). Current Evidence on the Effects of Intensive Early Reading Interventions. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 51(6), 612–624. https://doi.org/10.1177/0022219418775110
In this meta-analysis, researchers updated an earlier synthesis by Wanzek and Vaughn (2007) on intensive early reading interventions by analyzing the effects from 25 reading intervention studies. Researchers examined the overall effect of intensive early reading interventions as well as relationships between intervention and student characteristics related to outcomes. Researchers found that intensive early reading interventions resulted in positive outcomes for early struggling readers in kindergarten through third grades.
Assistive technology as reading interventions for children with reading impairments with a one-year follow-up
Emma Lindeblad, Staffan Nilsson, Stefan Gustafson & Idor Svensson. Assistive technology as reading interventions for children with reading impairments with a one-year follow-up. Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, Vol 12 (7) 2017.
This pilot study looked at the possible transfer effect on reading ability in children with reading difficulties to compensate for their reading deficiencies. The study used assistive technology, smartphones and tablets. The 35 pupils aged 10-12 years were assessed five times with reading tests. Also, their parents and teachers were surveyed regarding their experience of using assistive technology. The study outcome shows that using AT can create transfer effects on reading ability one year after the study was finished. The study highlights that children with reading disability may develop at the same rate as non-impaired readers.
From word reading to multisentence comprehension: Improvements in brain activity in children with autism after reading intervention
Murdaugh, D. L., Deshpande, H. D., & Kana, R. K. (2017). From word reading to multisentence comprehension: Improvements in brain activity in children with autism after reading intervention. Neuroimage, 16, 303-312. doi:10.1002/aur.1503
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) show a unique reading profile characterized by decoding abilities equivalent to verbal abilities, but with lower comprehension skills. The purpose of this study was to assess brain changes associated with an intense reading intervention program in children with ASD using three reading tasks: word, sentence, and multisentence processing, each with differential demands of reading comprehension. Our results provide evidence for differential recruitment of brain regions based on task demands, and support the potential of targeted interventions to alter brain activation in response to positive gains in treatment. Children with ASD have a different reading profile from other reading disorders that needs to be specifically targeted in interventions.
Auditory Processing in Noise: A Preschool Biomarker for Literacy
White-Schwoch T, Woodruff Carr K, Thompson EC, Anderson S, Nicol T, Bradlow AR, et al. (2015) Auditory Processing in Noise: A Preschool Biomarker for Literacy. PLoS Biol 13(7): e1002196.
This study suggests that the neural processing of consonants in noise plays a fundamental role in language development. Children who struggle to listen in noisy environments may struggle to make meaning of the language they hear on a daily basis, which can in turn set them at risk for literacy challenges. Evaluating the neural coding of speech in noise may provide an objective neurophysiological marker for these at-risk children, opening a door to early and specific interventions that may stave off a life spent struggling to read.
Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Initiatives on Special Education Placements in Third Grade
Muschkin, C., Ladd, H., Dodge, K. (February 2015). Impact of North Carolina’s Early Childhood Initiatives on Special Education Placements in Third Grade . Washington, D.C.: CALDER: National Center for Analysis of Longitudinal Data in Education Research.
This study examined the community-wide effects of investments in two early childhood initiatives in North Carolina (Smart Start and More at Four) on the likelihood of a student being placed into special education. The researchers took advantage of variation across North Carolina counties and years in the timing of the introduction and funding levels of the two programs to identify their effects on third-grade outcomes. They found that both programs significantly reduce the likelihood of special education placement in the third grade, resulting in considerable cost savings to the state. The effects of the two programs differ across categories of disability, but do not vary significantly across subgroups of children identified by race, ethnicity, and maternal education levels.
Evaluation of Response to Intervention Practices for Elementary School Reading
Balu, R., Zhu, P., Doolittle, F., Schiller, E., Jenkins, J., and Gersten, R. (November 2015) Evaluation of Response to Intervention Practices for Elementary School Reading, Washington D.C.: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences.
Response to Intervention (RtI) is a framework for collecting and using data to match students to interventions of varying intensity. This study examines the implementation of RtI in Grade 1–3 reading in 13 states during the 2011–12 school year, focusing on 146 schools that were experienced with RtI. Full implementation of the RtI framework in Grade 1–3 reading was reported by 86 percent of the experienced schools. Fifty-five percent of these schools focused reading intervention services on Grade 1 students reading below grade level, while 45 percent of the schools also provided reading intervention services for Grade 1 students reading at or above grade level. Students who scored just below school-determined benchmarks on fall screening tests, and who were assigned to interventions for struggling readers, had lower spring reading scores in Grade 1 than students just above the threshold for intervention. In Grades 2 and 3, there were no statistically significant impacts of interventions for struggling readers on the spring reading scores of students just below the threshold for intervention.
Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities
Connor, C., Alberto, P.A., Compton, D.L., and O'Connor, R.E. (February 2014) Improving Reading Outcomes for Students with or at Risk for Reading Disabilities: A Synthesis of the Contributions from the Institute of Education Sciences Research Centers, U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Special Education Research.
This report describes what has been learned about the improvement of reading outcomes for children with or at risk for reading disabilities through published research funded by the Institute of Education Science (IES). The report describes contributions to the knowledge base across four focal areas: assessment, basic cognitive and linguistic processes that support successful reading, intervention, and professional development.
An Analysis of Two Reading Intervention Programs: How Do the Words, Texts, and Programs Compare?
Murray, Maria S.; Munger, Kristen A.; Hiebert, Elfrieda H. An Analysis of Two Reading Intervention Programs: How Do the Words, Texts, and Programs Compare? Elementary School Journal, v114 n4 p479-500, Jun 2014.
In this study, the student texts and teacher guides of two reading intervention programs for at-risk, first-grade students were analyzed and compared: Fountas and Pinnell's "Leveled Literacy Intervention" (LLI) and Scott Foresman's "My Sidewalks" (MS). The analyses drew on the framework of available theory and research on beginning texts developed by Mesmer, Cunningham, and Hiebert in 2012. This framework includes attention to word-level, text-level, and program-level features. The student texts of the two programs had similar average percentages of single-appearing words and words that can elicit a mental picture (concrete words); however, LLI texts featured more repetition of words, a slightly higher percentage of highly frequent words, and a considerably higher percentage of multisyllable words. MS texts contained a higher percentage of phonetically regular words and a higher lesson-to-text match between phonics elements in teacher guides and the words in student texts. Instructional implications and future research directions are discussed.
Emergent Literacy Intervention for Prekindergarteners at Risk for Reading Failure: Years 2 and 3 of a Multiyear Study
Bailet, L.L., Repper, K., Murphy, S., Piasta, S., Zettler-Greeley, C. (2013) Emergent Literacy Intervention for Prekindergarteners at Risk for Reading Failure: Years 2 and 3 of a Multiyear Study, Journal of Learning Disabilities March/April 2013 vol. 46 no. 2 133-153.
This study examined the effectiveness of an emergent literacy intervention for prekindergarten children at risk for reading failure, to replicate and improve on significant findings from Year 1 of the study. Lessons targeted critical emergent literacy skills through explicit, developmentally appropriate activities for prekindergarteners. Hierarchical linear models were used to nest children within center and measure treatment effects on phonological awareness, alphabet knowledge, and vocabulary skills. Results indicated significant treatment effects on multiple measures in Years 2 and 3. This study replicated and strengthened findings from Year 1 in demonstrating a positive impact of this intervention for prekindergarteners at risk for reading failure.
Don’t DYS Our Kids: Dyslexia and the Quest for Grade-Level Reading Proficiency
Fiester, L. (2012). Don't DYS Our Kids: Dyslexia and the Quest for Grade-Level Reading Proficiency. Commissioned by the Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation in partnership with the Campaign for Grade-Level Reading.
About 2.4 million children across the nation have been diagnosed with learning disabilities — but how successful is the U.S. education system in teaching these students to read? This new report provides a far-reaching overview of the history and progress in understanding and meeting the needs of children with dyslexia, as well as the persisting challenges that must be overcome, to ensure that all students can read proficiently by the third grade. The report also highlights best practices and examples of solutions that are already working in communities. Based on interviews with nearly 30 experts, the report includes a collection of recommended actions for advancing this movement.
Learning to Read: Developing 0-8 Information Systems to Improve Third Grade Reading Proficiency
Bruner, C. (2010). Learning to read: developing 0-8 information systems to improve third grade reading proficiency. Des Moines, IA: Child & Family Policy Center.
This resource guide provides background on the importance of third grade reading proficiency, resources and promising practices for developing information systems to address third grade reading proficiency, and recommendations for next steps at both the state and community levels.
Using Student Achievement Data to Support Instructional Decision Making
Hamilton, L., Halverson, R., Jackson, S., Mandinach, E., Supovitz, J., & Wayman, J. (2009). Using student achievement data to support instructional decision making (NCEE 2009-4067). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/practiceguides/.
This guide offers five recommendations to help educators effectively use data to monitor students' academic progress and evaluate instructional practices. The guide recommends that schools set a clear vision for schoolwide data use, develop a data-driven culture, and make data part of an ongoing cycle of instructional improvement. The guide also recommends teaching students how to use their own data to set learning goals.
Assisting Students Struggling with Reading: Response to Intervention (RtI) and Multi-Tier Intervention in the Primary Grades
Gersten, R., Compton, D., Connor, C.M., Dimino, J., Santoro, L., Linan-Thompson, S., and Tilly, W.D. (2008). Assisting students struggling with reading: Response to Intervention and multi-tier intervention for reading in the primary grades. A practice guide. (NCEE 2009-4045). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/publications/practiceguides/.
This guide offers five specific recommendations to help educators identify struggling readers and implement evidence-based strategies to promote their reading achievement. Teachers and reading specialists can utilize these strategies to implement RtI and multi-tier intervention methods and frameworks at the classroom or school level. Recommendations cover how to screen students for reading problems, design a multi-tier intervention program, adjust instruction to help struggling readers, and monitor student progress.
A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners
Brown, J. E., and Doolittle, J. (2008). A Cultural, Linguistic, and Ecological Framework for Response to Intervention with English Language Learners. Teaching Exceptional Children, 40(5), 66-72.
Looking through the lens of culturally responsive practice, we consider how best to implement Response to Intervention (RTI) in a way that will provide equitable educational opportunity for students who are English Language Learners.
Extensive Reading Interventions in Grades K-3: From Research to Practice
Scammacca, N., Vaughn, S., Roberts, G., Wanzek, J., & Torgesen, J. K. (2007). Extensive reading interventions in grades K-3: From research to practice. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.
This report summarizes 12 peer-reviewed, high-quality research studies between 1995 and 2005 and synthesizes their findings on the effects of extensive reading interventions (comprising at least 100 instructional sessions) for struggling K-3 readers. It then explains the related implications for practice for students with reading problems or learning disabilities in an RTI setting.
Recognition and Response: An Early Intervening System for Young Children At-Risk for Learning Disabilities
Coleman, M.R., Buysse, V. & Neitzel, J. (2006). Recognition and Response: An early intervening system for young children at-risk for learning disabilities. The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, FPG Child Development Institute: Chapel Hill, NC.
Some young children show signs that they may not be learning in an expected manner, even before they begin kindergarten. These children may exhibit problems in areas such as language development, phonological awareness, perceptual-motor abilities and attention, which are considered precursors of learning disabilities in older children. However, under current state and federal guidelines, these children are unlikely to meet eligibility criteria for having a learning disability. This is because formal identification of a child's learning disability generally does not occur until there is a measurable discrepancy between the child's aptitude and academic achievement, often not until the second or third grade. This report describes a method of addressing those warning signs immediately.
New Roles in Response to Intervention: Creating Success for Schools and Children
International Reading Association. (2006). New roles in response to intervention: Creating success for schools and children. Retrieved from http://www.asha.org/uploadedFiles/slp/schools/prof-consult/rtiroledefini....
The International Reading Association (IRA) convened a group from the special education and regular education associations to craft a set of fact sheets on the roles of the various professionals and parents who are involved in implementing response-to-intervention (RTI) procedures. The outcome of that effort is a collective set of papers that represent each organization's distinctive constituency and viewpoint regarding RTI.
Raising Achievement Test Scores of Early Elementary School Students Through Comprehensive School Counseling Programs
Sink, C.A., and Stroh, H.R. (2003). Raising Achievement Test Scores of Early Elementary School Students Through Comprehensive School Counseling Programs. Professional School Counseling, 6(5), 350-364.
This study shows that early elementary-age students enrolled for several years in schools with well-established comprehensive school counseling programs produce higher achievement test scores over and above those continuously enrolled children in non-CSCP schools.
Research to Practice: Phonemic Awareness in Kindergarten and First Grade
Abbott, M., Walton, C., & Greenwood, C. R. (2002). Research to practice: Phonemic awareness in kindergarten and first grade. Teaching Exceptional Children, 34 (4), 20-26.
Teachers attend a workshop and learn about a research-based practice. A consultant works with the teachers for a while to set up the program and maybe even conduct an evaluation and follow-up instruction. The consultant leaves; the teachers are on their own. A couple of years later, nobody can find evidence the program ever existed. Does this sound familiar? Why does this occur? What happens to make teachers drop programs that may even be excellent? The secret may lie in what does not happen. We set out to discover the secret to successful research-based practices as teachers use them in real life. The example we chose was a phonemic awareness program; this article describes how phonemic awareness research and intervention knowledge was successfully translated for teacher implementation over 3 years.
Components of Effective Remediation for Developmental Reading Disabilities: Combining Phonological and Strategy-Based Introduction to Improve Outcomes
Lovett, Maureen W., Lacerenza, L., Borden, Susan L., Frijters, Jan C., et al. (2000). Components of Effective Remediation for Developmental Reading Disabilities: Combining Phonological and Strategy-Based Introduction to Improve Outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92, 263-283.
The efficacy of a combination of phonological and strategy-based remedial approaches for reading disability (RD) was compared with that of each approach separately. Eighty-five children with severe RD were randomly assigned to 70 intervention hours in 1 of 5 sequences. Performance was assessed before, 3 times during, and after intervention. Four orthogonal contrasts based on a linear trend analysis model were evaluated. There were generalized treatment effects on standardized measures of word identification, passage comprehension, and nonword reading. A combination of PHAB/DI and WIST proved superior to either program alone on nonword reading, letter-sound and keyword knowledge, and 3 word identification measures. Generalization of nonword decoding to real word identification was achieved with a combination of effective remedial components.
Effective Schools and Accomplished Teachers: Lessons About Primary-Grade Reading Instruction in Low-Income Schools
Taylor, B.M., Pearson, P.D., Clark, K.M., & Walpole, S. (2000). Effective schools and accomplished teachers: Lessons about primary-grade reading instruction in low-income schools. The Elementary School Journal, 101, 121-165.
This study investigated school and classroom factors related to primary-grade reading achievement in schools with moderate to high numbers of students on subsidized lunch. Fourteen schools across the U.S. and two teachers in each of grades K-3 participated. A combination of school and teacher factors, many of which were intertwined, was found to be important in the most effective schools. Statistically significant school factors included strong links to parents, systematic assessment of pupil progress, and strong building communication and collaboration. A collaborative model for the delivery of reading instruction, including early reading interventions, was a hallmark of the most effective schools. Statistically significant teacher factors included time spent in small-group instruction, time spent in independent reading, high levels of student on-task behavior, and strong home communication. More of the most accomplished teachers and teachers in the most effective schools supplemented explicit phonics instruction with coaching in which they taught students strategies for applying phonics to their everyday reading. Additionally, more of the most accomplished teachers and teachers in the most effective schools employed higher-level questions in discussions of text, and the most accomplished teachers were more likely to ask students to write in response to reading. In all of the most effective schools, reading was clearly a priority at both the school and classroom levels.
Beating the Odds in Teaching All Children to Read
Taylor, B., Pearson, P., Clark, K., & Walpole, S. (1999). Beating the odds in teaching all children to read. CIERA Report 2-006. University of Michigan: Ann Arbor.
What schoolwide practices characterize schools in which at-risk learners are beating the odds? What instructional practices are used by the most accomplished primary-grade teachers and by teachers in the most effective schools? The authors used quantitative and descriptive methods to investigate school and classroom factors related to primary-grade reading achievement. Fourteen schools across the U.S. with moderate to high numbers of students on subsidized lunch were identified as most, moderately, or least effective based on several measures of reading achievement in the primary grades. A combination of school and teacher factors, many of which were intertwined, was found to be important in the most effective schools. Statistically significant school factors included strong links to parents, systematic assessment of pupil progress, strong building communication, and a collaborative model for the delivery of reading instruction, including early reading interventions. In all of the most effective schools, reading was clearly a priority at both the building and classroom level.
Preventing Reading Difficulties in Young Children
Snow, C.E., Burns, M.S., & Griffin, P. (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.
In this report, we are most concerned with the large numbers of children in America whose educational careers are imperiled because they do not read well enough to ensure understanding and to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive economy. Current difficulties in reading largely originate from rising demands for literacy, not from declining absolute levels of literacy. In a technological society, the demands for higher literacy are ever increasing, creating more grievous consequences for those who fall short. The U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services asked the National Academy of Sciences to establish a committee to examine the prevention of reading difficulties. Our committee was charged with conducting a study of the effectiveness of interventions for young children who are at risk of having problems learning to read. The goals of the project were three: (1) to comprehend a rich but diverse research base; and (2) to translate the research findings into advice and guidance for parents, educators, publishers, and others.
What Makes Literacy Tutoring Effective?
Juel, C. (1996). What makes literacy tutoring effective? Reading Research Quarterly, 31, 268-289.
In 1991, researchers Connie Juel reported that university student-athletes who were poor readers seemed to be effective tutors of first-grade children who were poor readers. This 1996 study explores factors that may account for successful tutoring outcomes when poor readers tutor other poor readers. Two activities were found to be particularly important in successful tutor-student relationship: (a) the use of texts that gradually and repetitively introduced both high-frequency vocabulary and words with common spelling patterns and (b) activities in which children were engaged in direct letter-sound instruction. Two forms of verbal interaction were found to be particularly important: (a) scaffolding of reading and writing and (b) modeling of how to read and spell unknown words.
Getting Reading Right from the Start: Effective Early Literacy Interventions
Hiebert, E.H., & Taylor, B.M. (1994). Getting reading right from the start: Effective early literacy interventions. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
This edited book brings together descriptions of seven literacy intervention programs used by experts to prevent early reading failure in grades K-1. Programs focus on story book reading and writing with attention to word-level strategies, and are developmental, not remedial. Early childhood literacy, diagnosis and treatment of reading difficulties.
The Long Term Economic Benefits of High Quality Early Childhood Intervention Programs
Diefendorf, M., & Goode, C. The long-term economic benefits of high quality early childhood intervention programs. NECTAC Clearinghouse on Early Intervention and Early Childhood Special Education. Chapel Hill, NC: NECTAC.
An extensive body of research indicates that high quality early intervention for at-risk infants, toddlers and young children and their families is a sound economic investment. Studies have found a number of long-term cost savings in terms of decreased grade repetition, reduced special education spending, enhanced productivity, lower welfare costs, increased tax revenues, and lower juvenile justice costs. This mini-bibliography provides a selection of articles, reports, and book chapters that review some of the major findings on this topic. Some of the included studies focus on services for young children with disabilities, although most address early intervention for children who are at risk for adverse developmental outcomes due to poverty and other environmental factors.