Christ & Heistad Studies on RTI Website Demonstrate Read Naturally's Significant Impact
The National Center on Response to Intervention (NCRTI) has posted a review of Dr. Ted Christ's 2009 ten-week study of Read Naturally, which shows that Read Naturally has statistically significant and academically meaningful effects on both reading fluency and accuracy. NCRTI has also posted a review of Dr. Dave Heistad’s 2004 study, which demonstrates that Read Naturally has a substantial and academically meaningful long-term impact on broad, high-stakes comprehension measures like the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA). Both reviews can be found on the NCRTI website.
Christ Study Results
The adjusted posttests of Read Naturally students in the Christ study showed statistically significant, moderate to large effect sizes in fluency and accuracy. The Gort 4 Accuracy measure and the Gort 4 Fluency measure both had effect sizes of .67, which correspond with moderate to large effects. View results
Both the intervention group using Read Naturally and the control group started at about the 25th percentile in accuracy. The control group did not maintain reading accuracy and declined to about the 16th percentile. In contrast, a random selection of students from the same class who received Read Naturally Software Edition had statistically significant improvement from the 25th to the 37th percentile on national norms after only 10 weeks of intervention. The following graph depicts those results for accuracy:
Reading Accuracy (GORT)
The intervention group using Read Naturally Software Edition (SE) started at the 16th percentile and improved to the 25th percentile on national norms. In comparison, the control group started at the 25th percentile and did not improve. The following graph depicts those fluency results in percentile ranks:
Reading Fluency (GORT)
More About the Christ Study
This University of Minnesota study was a randomized control trial conducted in early 2009 across six schools with 109 low-performing students in third grade. Those students assigned to the Read Naturally group received intervention instruction for 30 minutes per day, five days a week, for 10 weeks. Students in the control group received normal classroom reading instruction with no supplemental fluency instruction.
Multiple standardized measures of reading accuracy and fluency indicated that students in the Read Naturally group outperformed students in the control group on all measures of accuracy and fluency.
The study examined the students’ fluency gains using results from Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) assessments. The Read Naturally students gained, on average, 1.53 WRC/min per week compared to 1.10 WRC/min per week for students in the control group—39% greater gains for students in the Read Naturally group.
The following graph illustrates that the DIBELS average for the Read Naturally group was below that of the control group at pre-test, and after 10 weeks of intervention, the Read Naturally students outperformed those in the control group.
Chart Comparing Average DIBELS Scores
Over the Course of the 10-Week Study
Students in the Read Naturally group gained, on average, .40 WRC/min per week more than students in the control group. The magnitude of improvement should be compared to typical growth and expected levels of achievement among third-grade students. Published estimates of typical growth in third grade approximate 1.2 WRC/min among students in general education and .58 WRC/min among students in special education. Students are expected to exceed 100 WRC/min by the end of the third grade if they are to be successful on large scale state-wide assessments. A sustained additional improvement of .40 WRC/min per week across the academic year is substantial. Assuming a typical growth rate of approximately 1.20 WRC/min per week, a 39% improvement would result in improved growth to 1.68 WRC/min per week, which is a cumulative gain of 14.4 more words read correct across 36 weeks.
These results were not specific to DIBELS measures. After accounting for pre-test levels of performance, the students in the Read Naturally group scored one to two standard score units better on most standardized measures of fluency and accuracy after 10 weeks of intervention. If extrapolated across the school year, those gains would translate to approximately three to seven standard score units of improved performance for those students within the Read Naturally group compared to the control group. Such improvements would be substantial.
The observed gains for the experimental group were obtained with minimal resources. Teacher and personnel time is one of the most valuable resources in schools. The Read Naturally intervention was implemented with minimal support. Teachers received the recommended training in the Read Naturally strategy and completed the SE Self-Study course to supplement them in the software implementation. Individual teachers were able to supervise their groups of students while the students received individualized instruction from Read Naturally SE.
Heistad Study Results
While the Christ study demonstrates Read Naturally's effect on fluency and accuracy, the Heistad study demonstrates Read Naturally’s long-term impact on comprehension. The Heistad study shows a moderate effect size of .39 on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments and .24 on the Northwest Achievement Levels Test. View results
These results are a substantial and academically meaningful measure of Read Naturally’s ability to make a statistically significant impact on students’ comprehension. The following graphs compare the scores of Read Naturally and control group students on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA) and the Northwest Achievement Levels Test (NALT).
Average Scores on the Minnesota
Average Scores on the Northwest
Achievement Levels Test
More About the Heistad Study
The Heistad study, conducted during the 2003–2004 school year, included 156 students from four Minneapolis schools. Half of the students received Read Naturally instruction and were paired with students who did not receive Read Naturally instruction but had comparable baseline test scores and demographics.
The results of the study showed that the Read Naturally students outperformed the control group on the Northwest Achievement Levels Test (gains of 10.8 vs. 8.3 for the control group), and the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (average score of 1366.4 vs. 1307.3 for the control group).
This means that students who received Read Naturally instruction had improved performance on the state-wide tests (at statistically significant levels), and a larger proportion of those students met proficiency standards for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) compared to similar students from the same district. That is, 43% of students who received Read Naturally instruction scored at Level 3 or above on the state test (i.e., met NCLB standards) compared to 27% of the students in the control group.
Christ and Heistad Study Conclusions
The Christ study demonstrates that Read Naturally can make an immediately significant impact on student performance in fluency and accuracy. The Heistad study demonstrates that Read Naturally has a significant impact on comprehension when measured over a school year.
Complete Results of the Christ Study
Complete Results of the Heistad Study
More Control Group Studies