Slavin, R. E., Lake, C., Davis, S., & Madden, N. A. (2011). Effective programs for struggling readers: A best-evidence synthesis. Educational Research Review, 6(1), 1-26.
This article reviews research on the achievement outcomes of alternative approaches for struggling readers ages 5–10 (US grades K-5): One-to-one tutoring, small-group tutorials, classroom instructional process approaches, and computer-assisted instruction. Study inclusion criteria included use of randomized or well-matched control groups, study duration of at least 12 weeks, and use of valid measures independent of treatments. A total of 97 studies met these criteria. The review concludes that one-to-one tutoring is very effective in improving reading performance. Tutoring models that focus on phonics obtain much better outcomes than others. Teachers are more effective than paraprofessionals and volunteers as tutors. Small-group, phonetic tutorials can be effective, but are not as effective as one-to-one phonetically focused tutoring. Classroom instructional process programs, especially cooperative learning, can have very positive effects for struggling readers. Computer-assisted instruction had few effects on reading. Taken together, the findings support a strong focus on improving classroom instruction and then providing one-to-one, phonetic tutoring to students who continue to experience difficulties.
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