All About Adolescent Literacy

All about adolescent literacy. Resources for parents and educators of kids in grades 4-12.
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Intervention

Early interventions are designed to help students before they begin to fail. Knowing which students are at risk for reading difficulty and what to do for those students are the first steps in providing effective early intervention. Find out how to use this knowledge to help address the reading problems of struggling readers.


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The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Final Report: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth Graders

Somers, M.-A., Corrin, W., Sepanik, S., Salinger T., Levin, J., and Zmach, C. (2010). The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Final Report: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers (NCEE 2010-4022). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

The Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO) demonstration evaluated two supplemental literacy programs — Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy (RAAL) and Xtreme Reading (XR)— targeted to ninth grade students whose reading skills were at least two years below grade level.

Over two years, about 6,000 eligible students in 34 high schools from 10 districts were randomly assigned to enroll in the year-long ERO class or remain in a regularly scheduled elective class (non-ERO group). At the end of 9th grade, both groups were assessed using a standardized, nationally normed reading test, and participated in surveys about their reading activities and behaviors. School records were used to examine the effect of the literacy programs on academic performance during the program year (9th grade) and a year afterwards.

The study found: 1) the ERO supplemental literacy programs improved students' reading comprehension skills during the 9th grade, corresponding to an improvement from the 23rd to the 25th percentile. However, 77% of students assigned to the ERO class were still reading 2 or more years behind grade level at the end of the 9th grade; 2) during the 9th grade, the ERO program also had a positive impact on students' academic performance in core subject areas, including their grades and credit accumulation. Students in the ERO group scored higher on their states' English/Language Arts and mathematics assessment than did those in the non-ERO group; and 3) the ERO program effects did not continue beyond the program year. While there were statistically significant and positive impacts on students' GPA, credit accumulation and state test scores in 9th grade, the impacts were not significant the following school year.

The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Final Report: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth Graders

Somers, M.A., Corrin, W., Sepanik, S., Salinger T., Levin, J., and Zmach, C. (2010). The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Final Report: The Impact of Supplemental Literacy Courses for Struggling Ninth-Grade Readers Executive Summary (NCEE 2010-4022). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

The Enhanced Reading Opportunities (ERO) demonstration evaluated two supplemental literacy programs — Reading Apprenticeship Academic Literacy (RAAL) and Xtreme Reading (XR) — targeted to ninth grade students whose reading skills were at least two years below grade level. Over two years, about 6,000 eligible students in 34 high schools from 10 districts were randomly assigned to enroll in the year-long ERO class or remain in a regularly scheduled elective class (non-ERO group). At the end of 9th grade, both groups were assessed using a standardized, nationally normed reading test, and participated in surveys about their reading activities and behaviors. School records were used to examine the effect of the literacy programs on academic performance during the program year (9th grade) and a year afterwards.

The study found:

  • Taken together, the ERO supplemental literacy programs improved students' reading comprehension skills during the 9th grade, corresponding to an improvement from the 23rd to the 25th percentile. However, 77% of students assigned to the ERO class were still reading 2 or more years behind grade level at the end of the 9th grade.
  • During the 9th grade, the ERO program also had a positive impact on students' academic performance in core subject areas, including their grades and credit accumulation. Students in the ERO group scored higher on their states' English/Language Arts and mathematics assessment than did those in the non-ERO group.
  • The ERO program effects did not continue beyond the program year. While there were statistically significant and positive impacts on students' GPA, credit accumulation and state test scores in 9th grade, the impacts were not significant the following school year. When analyzed separately, the RAAL program significantly improved students' reading comprehension during the 9th grade year while the XR program did not have a statistically significant impact on reading comprehension. Impacts on other outcomes were similar for the two programs.

Success At Every Step: How 23 Programs Support Youth on the Path to College and Beyond

Hooker, S. & Brand, B. (2009). Success at every step: how 23 programs support youth on the path to college and beyond. Washington, DC: AYPF.

This report describes programs that have been proven to help young people successfully complete high school and be prepared for success in postsecondary education and careers. These programs represent a wide range of interventions, including school-wide reform initiatives, community-based afterschool services, work-based learning opportunities, and college access programs. From an analysis of the included programs, the report identifies common programmatic and structural elements that may contribute to their effectiveness and summarizes key outcomes.

Interventions for Adolescent Struggling Readers: A Meta-Analysis with Implications for Practice

Scammacca, N., Roberts, G., Vaughn. S., Edmonds, M., Wexler, J., Reutebuch, C. K., & Torgesen, J. K. (2007), Interventions for adolescent struggling readers: A meta-analysis with implications for practice. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

This meta-analysis summarizes aspects of recent research on reading instruction for adolescent struggling readers, synthesizing research findings to determine the relative effectiveness of interventions, and outlines the implications of these findings for practice. It focuses on interventions designed to improve students' use of reading comprehension strategies, reading vocabulary, accurate decoding of unfamiliar words in text, and increased reading fluency.

Effective Instruction for Adolescent Struggling Readers: A Practice Brief

Boardman, A. G., Roberts, G., Vaughn, S., Wexler, J., Murray, C. S., & Kosanovich, M. (2008). Effective instruction for adolescent struggling readers: A practice brief. Portsmouth, NH: RMC Research Corporation, Center on Instruction.

The Center on Instruction created this practice brief to provide schools, districts, and states with background knowledge about best practices for older students who struggle to read. It focuses on the reading skills that adolescents need to more fully access content-area curricula and, in turn, secure a productive future.

A Description of Foundation Skills Interventions for Struggling Middle-Grade Readers in Four Urban Northeast and Islands Region School Districts

Zorfass, J., & Urbano, C. (2008). A description of foundation skills interventions for struggling middle-grade readers in four urban Northeast and Islands Region school districts (Issues & Answers Report, REL 2008-No. 042). Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Regional Educational Laboratory Northeast & Islands. Retrieved from http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/edlabs.

This study, conducted during the 2006-07 academic year, describes how four mid-size urban school districts in the Northeast and Islands Region—Worcester, Massachusetts; Nashua, New Hampshire; Yonkers, New York; and Providence, Rhode Island, conducted foundation skills assessments and provided foundation skills programs to struggling middle-grade readers.

The study identifies six factors that, according to the district representatives interviewed, can promote or hinder program implementation:

  1. Building on the federal Reading First initiative by expanding selected aspects of the program to upper elementary and middle grades,
  2. Using Response-to-Intervention and three-tier reading models,
  3. Fostering collaboration among relevant departments and programs,
  4. Recruiting highly qualified teachers in relevant areas,
  5. Solving problems of time and scheduling, and
  6. Ensuring that programs are carried out as designed.

The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study: Early Impact and Implementation Findings

Kemple, J., Corrin, W., Nelson, E., Salinger, T., Herrmann, S., and Drummond, K. (2008). The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study: Early Impact and Implementation Findings (NCEE 2008-4015). Washington, DC: National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance, Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education.

While much has been learned about literacy in the elementary grades, less is known about programmatic approaches that help struggling adolescent readers acquire the skills they need to succeed in high school. The Enhanced Reading Opportunities Study tests the effectiveness of two supplemental literacy interventions targeted to ninth-grade readers with reading comprehension skills that are two to four years below grade level. The interventions studied are (1) Reading Apprenticeship for Academic Literacy from WestEd and (2) Xtreme Reading from the University of Kansas Center for Research on Learning.


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