The What Works Clearinghouse Institute of Education Sciences (which was created by the US Department of Education to be the central and trusted source of scientific evidence on education programs with a mission to review high quality research, determine which studies meet rigorous standards and the summarize findings in reports in order to provide educators with reliable evidence to inform decision making) published a report on the i3 Scaling up of Reading Recovery research that was conducted by the Consortium for Policy Research in Education.
In order to determine the impact of Reading Recovery on changing students’ performance in literacy, The Consortium for Policy Research in Education (with member institutions of the University of Pennsylvania; Teachers College Columbia University; Stanford University; University of Michigan; University of Wisconsin-Madison; Northwestern University; and Harvard University) completed an independent evaluation of the i3 Scale-up of Reading Recovery. In the research study a sample of first graders who met the Reading Recovery target criteria for selection were randomly assigned to either receive Reading Recovery or to continue receiving classroom instruction. The reading achievement of the students in the sample was assessed using an externally standardized assessment of reading achievement, the Iowa Test of Basic Skills. The study demonstrated:
- Treatment of students who participated in Reading Recovery outperformed students in the control group on each subscale of the ITBS Reading test (Total Reading, Reading Words, and Comprehension).
- The effect size for students taught in Reading Recovery were more than a half of a standard deviation greater than the control group and the nationwide population of all first grade students.
- The impact of Reading Recovery was 3.9 times the average effect of Title 1.
- Reading Recovery students’ gained an additional 1.9 months of learning over their peers in a five month period.
These data clearly point out the power of Reading Recovery in changing struggling readers’ performance. They also are very much in line with the earlier What Works Clearinghouse report about Reading Recovery. Reading Recovery continues to be the best first grade early literacy intervention available in our schools.
Reading Recovery in the Region
In our region each year Reading Recovery teachers ensure that more than 2,700 children benefit from lessons. Of these children, 9 percent are American Indian, 2 percent are Asian, 6 percent are black - not Hispanic, 10 percent are Hispanic, 5 percent are multiple races and the rest are white. Many of the children are from rural areas and many are from backgrounds with high poverty. About 10 percent of the children who are taught Reading Recovery lessons speak different languages at home. The highest percentages of these children speak Spanish at home. The disaggregated results show no differences in achievement based on demographic variables – indicating Reading Recovery is effective in reducing the achievement gap for all children. When children complete the entire series of lessons, 8 out of 10 are able to read on grade level with their peers and are able to profit from the instruction provided by the primary classroom teacher. On average, successful interventions last 16 weeks.