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The Effect of the Reading Plus Program on Reading Skills in Second Graders

Instruction | Upper Elementary School

Summary of Findings:

While many previous effectiveness studies involving Reading Plus have found significant improvements in reading skills and oculomotor efficiency, some research only found gains in the latter. The goal of this study was to expand upon existing research to evaluate changes in reading skills and oculomotor efficiency in second-grade students. At the beginning of the school year, all participating students were randomly assigned to either a Reading Plus treatment group or a business-as-usual control group. Before and after the training period, all students were assessed using a standardized reading test and the Visagraph.

Significantly larger gains in reading comprehension and word knowledge were achieved by students in the Reading Plus treatment group as compared to those in the control group. It was also found that students in the treatment group improved their reading rate to a larger extent and showed larger reductions in fixation durations as compared to those in the control group. Furthermore, the pretest reading rate was a significant predictor of pretest reading skill, and changes in fixation durations were predictive of changes in reading skill. Finally, the analyses also revealed that the pretreatment fixation duration predicted 19.5% of the changes in reading skill, a proxy for students’ response to the intervention.

“These results, taken in total, suggest that the model of reading improvement being advanced by [Reading Plus] may be an important tool in the educator’s toolbox.”

Cover of Journal of Behavioral Optometry

Study Profile

Type of Study: Experimental Study

Participants: N = 77

Measure: Gates-MacGinitie, Visagraph

Publication: Journal of Behavioral Optometry, Vol. 20, No. 3, 2009

Authors: John Shelley-Tremblay and Joshua Eyer