Edward Gutierrez, Student, School of Psychology; Cinamon Romers, Student, School of Psychology; Kristine Jacquin, Faculty, School of Psychology
Objectives: To objectively determine whether students participating in the Reading Plus® program showed statistically significant improvements in reading abilities over the course of the intervention. In addition, the research examined factors impacting changes in students’ reading abilities over time.
Method: A sample of 2,126 students, grades 2-12, from 17 schools in Santa Barbara County participated in the Reading Plus® program via computers (this program is sponsored by United Way of Santa Barbara County). This program consists of six reading programs: Perceptual Accuracy and Visual Efficiency (PAVE), Guided Reading (GR), CLOZE Plus™, Reading Around Words (RAW), Word Memory, and D-Code. Students completed lessons within each program; performance was continuously evaluated. Variables used in the analyses included initial performance and final performance for each program. The total amount of training (lessons completed) and other factors were compared to the improvement shown on various tasks.
Results: Overall, students showed a statistically significant improvement in reading skills after participating in the Reading Plus® program. Specifically, students showed significant improvements in visual scanning and visual memory, reading rate, vocabulary (word meaning and word usage), and reading comprehension. Certain factors influenced the degree of reading improvement. Students with more PAVE lessons made greater improvements in visual skills and visual memory and were more likely to show improvements in all other reading skills. Students made improvements in reading rate and reading comprehension, and these were greatest in students who spent more total minutes in GR activities, completed more GR lessons and completed a higher average number of GR lessons per week. Students made improvements in vocabulary use and comprehension, greatest with more total minutes in CLOZE Plus™ activities and with completing more CLOZE Plus™ lessons. Students made improvements in RAW vocabulary skills. Improvements were greatest with more total time in activities and with completing more RAW lessons. Collectively these results show that reading performance improvements were greatest among students who were more involved in the Reading Plus® program.