Evidence-Based Studies

Treatment Group/Matched Control Group

The effects of Read Naturally on grade 3 reading: A study in the Minneapolis Public Schools

Heistad, D. (2008)

Third-Grade Students, Minneapolis, MN

A study of third-grade students in the Minneapolis Public Schools showed that students using Read Naturally had greater reading gains than comparable students who did not use Read Naturally. The study was based on data collected during the 2003–2004 school year. Throughout the school year, one group of students used Read Naturally Masters Edition (ME) and Read Naturally SE, while one group did not.

A total of 44 third-graders from three Minneapolis schools were included in the study. Each Read Naturally student was matched with a student who was not in a Read Naturally program but had comparable baseline test scores and demographics. The demographic criteria were grade, English language learner status, special education status, free or reduced price lunch status, racial/ethnic category, home language, and gender.

The students were evaluated using three assessments—the Northwest Achievement Levels Test (NALT), the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments (MCA), and Read Naturally’s Reading Fluency Monitor.* The test results are shown in the table, graphs, and chart below. The NALT and RFM results are deemed to be statistically significant, but the MCA results are not, due to the small sample size.

Average Scores on Three Reading Assessments
   
Control Group
Read Naturally
Northwest Achievement Levels Test
Baseline (Spring 2003)
178.5
178.4
Final (Spring 2004)
187.7
192.3
Increase
9.2
13.9
Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments
1331.4
1363.2
Reading Fluency Monitor Assessments
Fall 2003
49.3
48.7
Winter 2004
64.5
71.5
Spring 2004
76.3
85.1
Increase
27.0
36.4
NALT Scores

A comparison of the students’ NALT pre-test scores with their final test scores in Spring 2004 showed that, on average, the Read Naturally students had gains of 13.9 points compared to gains of only 9.2 by students not in a Read Naturally program (see the following graph).

Average Scores on the Northwest Achievement Levels Test

Average Scores on the Northwest Achievement Levels Test

MCA Scores

A comparison of 22 matched pairs of students with MCA scores in grade 3 showed that students in the Read Naturally program scored higher than the control group. Specifically, the average score for the Read Naturally students was 1363.2 compared to an average score of 1331.4 for the control group (see the following chart).

Average Scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments

Average Scores on the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessments

RFM Scores

A comparison of the Reading Fluency Monitor scores for 20 third-grade students receiving Read Naturally instruction were compared with 20 matched students from RFM third-grade growth norms. The results showed that the Read Naturally students increased their scores on benchmark passages by an average of 36.4 points compared to an average increase of 27.0 points for the control group (see the following graph).

Average Reading Fluency Monitor Scores

Average Reading Fluency Monitor Scores

*Reading Fluency Monitor has been replaced by Benchmark Assessor Live.

For More Information

pointer Read the complete results of this study

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