Authors: Hatcher PJ, Hulme C, Miles JN, Carroll JM, Hatcher J, Gibbs S, Smith G, Bowyer-Crane C, Snowling MJ..

Article: Efficacy of small group reading intervention for beginning readers with reading-delay: a randomised controlled trial..

Publication: Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry (Wiley). 47(8):820-7 2006 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7610.2005.01559.x

[Full Text]



This study evaluated the effectiveness of an intervention for reading-delayed children in Year-1 classes.


A sample (N = 77) of children drawn from 14 schools representing those with the weakest reading skills were randomly allocated to one of two groups. A 20-week intervention group received the intervention for two consecutive 10-week periods, while a 10-week intervention group only received the intervention for the second 10 weeks of the study. The programme was delivered in daily 20-minute sessions that alternated between small group (N = 3) and individual teaching. The programme combined phoneme awareness training, word and text reading, and phonological linkage exercises.


The children receiving the intervention during the first 10-week period made significantly more progress on measures of letter knowledge, single word reading, and phoneme awareness than children not receiving the intervention. However, the children who only received the intervention during the second 10-week period made rapid progress and appeared to catch up with the children who had been given the more prolonged intervention. Failure to respond to the intervention was predicted by poor initial literacy skills and being in receipt of free school meals.


A reading intervention programme delivered on a daily basis by trained teaching assistants is an effective intervention for children who show reading delays at the end of their first year in school. However, around one-quarter of the children did not respond to this intervention and these children would appear to need more intensive or more prolonged help to improve their reading skills.


Variations in the response to intervention


As the analyses presented above show, overall children receiving this intervention showed gains in reading
skills relative to their peers,and there is evidence of diminishing returns from the intervention in the second 10-week period. However, this picture of average gains conceals wide variations in the amount
of progress made by different children…. Overall, therefore, it appears that children with severe reading problems at the beginning of the study (indexed by low scores on word recognition, letter knowledge and phoneme manipulation) and children in receipt of free school meals tended to respond less strongly to the programme.

Twenty-eight per cent of the 20-week intervention group and 21% of the 10-week intervention group had standard scores below 80 at the end of the intervention. Such children clearly require ongoing support if their literacy skills are to be brought to with in the aveage range. Moreover, children varied in their responsiveness to the teaching they received and a small number of children ‘resisted’ treatment.


Tagged as: nonresponse

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