Purpose of Study:
This report describes a follow-up analysis of an earlier study examining changes in the reading proficiency of middle school students (sixth, seventh, and eighth grade) following a six-month course of web-based silent reading practice using the Reading Plus program. For this follow-up, the students were divided into four groups closely matched on pre-training reading ability, but with differing amounts of program use during the school year.
Middle school students attending one of two schools in the southeast U.S. were evaluated in both the fall and spring of the 2013-2014 school year using the nationally normed Group Reading Assessment Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE™). During the 24 weeks between these two assessments, students were scheduled to complete four reading practice lessons per week.
Drawing from all participants in the study, individuals with four different levels of program usage (<40, 41-70, 71-100, and >100 SeeReader lessons) were closely matched on the basis of their pre-training GRADE Total Test Standard Scores, and secondarily by their Comprehension and then Vocabulary scores, yielding four matched groups of 51 students each (group size was limited by the smaller number of students with low program use).
While students in the four use groups started the school year at a comparable level of reading proficiency, and all groups improved their reading proficiency over the school year, significantly larger increases in GRADE Total Test Standard Scores (TTSS) and Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE1) scores were measured in students with more program use (use group effect: TTSS, p = .01; NCE, p = .03). Further, students who completed at least 100 reading practice lessons (~30 hours) achieved reading proficiency gains nearly four times as large as those measured in students who completed 40 or fewer lessons (~7 hours).
The encouraging gains achieved by the 100-plus lesson group are especially noteworthy because they were achieved with an investment of a relatively small amount of instructional time (~30 hours).