A program that uses older volunteers as tutors has significantly improved the reading skills of students in the early grades, a study says.
Researchers from Washington University in St. Louis studied more than 800 students in three cities in an effort to gauge the effectiveness of Experience Corps, a 14-year-old nationwide tutoring program that trains adults age 55 or older to help elementary school children with their reading.
Children in the Experience Corps group made 60 percent more progress during the year than those in the control group in two areas—comprehension and “word attack,” or phonetics—and 40 percent more progress than the control group in grade-specific reading skills, said Nancy Morrow-Howell, a professor of social work who was the lead researcher.
The study, which was released April 7, found little difference between the Experience Corps children and the control group in the fourth area, their grasp of vocabulary.
A version of this article appeared in the April 22, 2009 edition of Education Week