Susan Kemp conducted a study that used Read Naturally passages but not the Read Naturally strategy. It was a study of SSR (sustained silent reading). In fact, 70% of the participants in the Kemp study were above the 50th percentile in fluency. In her dissertation, Kemp states: "Another limitation [of the study] is that Read Naturally was not just used with at-risk readers. The Read Naturally program was developed to help students who are at-risk. Typically this would represent students who are scoring below the 25th percentile.* Students participating in this study did not fit the description of at-risk."
Susan Kemp conducted a study that used Read Naturally passages but not the Read Naturally strategy. It was a study of SSR (Sustained Silent Reading). Susan Kemp stated that the purpose of her study was not to evaluate Read Naturally. Because the Kemp study did not intend to evaluate Read Naturally, its results cannot be interpreted as evidence of the program's effectiveness.
Notable discrepancies between the Kemp study and the intended use of Read Naturally include the following:
In addition, the Kemp study is flawed as a review of the Read Naturally strategy due to the following issues:
In spite of the Kemp study's design flaws, the group using Read Naturally passages did make significant gains in fluency. These students averaged a gain of 1.5 WCPM (words correct per minute) each week. The Hasbrouck/Tindal data shows that the average fluency gain per week for third grade students is 1.1 WCPM. This data indicates that the students in the Read Naturally group were accelerating their progress.
Nonetheless, because the Kemp study did not follow the Read Naturally strategy and was not intended as an evaluation of Read Naturally, WWC should not have reviewed it as though it was. Any conclusions drawn about Read Naturally's effectiveness on the basis of this study are therefore inaccurate.
Furthermore, WWC combines the Kemp study and the Denton study in the same ELL analysis. The Denton study was designed to evaluate Read Well, not Read Naturally. This study used phonemic decoding, which is not part of the Read Naturally strategy, as an assessment measure. The Denton study did not use fluency as an assessment measure, even though Read Naturally is a fluency-building program.
*Read Naturally Strategy programs are intended for students who score 10 or more words below the 50th percentile in fluency.
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