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How to sustain Reading Corps’ intervention benefits
By Qiyang Zhang, Johns Hopkins University
Reading Corps is a Tier-2 tutoring program for K-3 students. Its intervention benefits are established by empirical evidence and rigorous evaluation methods, but little is known about how to sustain these benefits in the long run. A recent publication in Journal of School Psychology adopted a cluster randomized controlled trial to explore intervention maintenance.
Researchers recruited students from kindergarten (n = 177), second grade (n = 149), and third grade (n = 204) who successfully completed and exited Reading Corps in the previous fall semester. Through random assignment of schools, students assigned to the treatment group received weekly 5-minute oral practice sessions during the spring semester and students in the control group received no additional on-going monitoring or practice sessions. The 5-minute practice session was composed of a 1-minute grade-level progress monitoring probe and performance comparison to their previous literacy performance. The literacy outcome was measured by three dimensions: letter and fluency assessment, FastBridge Learning CBM-R (number of words read correct in 1 minute), and the Minnesota comprehension exam in reading.
Looking at students’ literacy growth from winter to spring semester, the effect size was +0.60 for kindergarten, +0.03 for second grade, and +0.14 for third grade. This research provides some evidence for the beneficial effects of brief follow-up sessions in early literacy. Fade-out is a common effect in most interventions, but very few studies investigate ways to counter the attenuated effects. The authors concluded that more research is needed to sort out effective ways to boost intervention effects in the long run.