Published Online: October 27, 2009
Published in Print: October 28, 2009, as Literacy Program Found to Have Effect

Report Roundup

Literacy Program Found to Have Effect

"What Works Clearinghouse: Read 180"

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A review by the federal What Works Clearinghouse of an intervention for adolescent literacy finds that a popular computerized reading program has “potentially positive effects” on student achievement.

The analysis, released last week, examines the impact of Read 180, developed by Scholastic Inc.

Out of 101 studies on Read 180 that were reviewed, the clearinghouse found seven that met its standards, although “with reservations.” On the basis of the seven studies, the clearinghouse concluded that evidence for the impact of the curriculum is medium to large for improving students’ reading comprehension and general literacy achievement.

None of the seven studies examined the program’s effectiveness at teaching alphabetics or reading fluency.

“The What Works Clearinghouse, which has an incredibly high standard, has done independent research and has confirmed what we’ve been saying: that this program can help your kid have success when it is implemented with fidelity,” said Margery Mayer, the president of the education division of Scholastic, based in New York City.

“It’s tough criteria,” said Michael L. Kamil, a reading expert at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., “but when you look at the numbers, it’s not a big effect.”

Read 180 is a 90-minute instructional model used in about 13,000 classrooms, according to Scholastic.

The clearinghouse report explains that the program is composed of 20 minutes of whole-group instruction, followed by 60 minutes of student rotation through three activities and 10 minutes of wrap-up discussion with the whole class. The three activities in the middle of the 90 minutes are small-group instruction featuring a teacher working with individuals; independent use of a computer program on reading skills; and independent reading of Read 180 books or audiobooks.

Vol. 29, Issue 09, Page 4

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