Delayed Effects of a Low-Cost and Large-Scale Summer Reading Intervention on Elementary School Children’s Reading Comprehension
Last registered on June 03, 2016

Pre-Trial

Trial Information
General Information
Title
Delayed Effects of a Low-Cost and Large-Scale Summer Reading Intervention on Elementary School Children’s Reading Comprehension
RCT ID
AEARCTR-0000970
Initial registration date
December 03, 2015
Last updated
June 03, 2016 2:52 PM EDT
Location(s)
Region
Primary Investigator
Affiliation
Northwestern University
Other Primary Investigator(s)
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
Harvard University
PI Affiliation
University of Virginia
Additional Trial Information
Status
Completed
Start date
2013-04-01
End date
2016-06-01
Secondary IDs
Abstract
To improve the reading comprehension outcomes of children in high poverty schools, policymakers need to identify reading interventions that show promise of effectiveness at scale. This study evaluated the effectiveness of a low-cost and large-scale summer reading intervention that provided comprehension lessons at the end of the school year and stimulated home-based summer reading routines with narrative and informational books.
External Link(s)
Registration Citation
Citation
Guryan, Jonathan et al. 2016. "Delayed Effects of a Low-Cost and Large-Scale Summer Reading Intervention on Elementary School Children’s Reading Comprehension." AEA RCT Registry. June 03. https://doi.org/10.1257/rct.970-2.0.
Former Citation
Guryan, Jonathan et al. 2016. "Delayed Effects of a Low-Cost and Large-Scale Summer Reading Intervention on Elementary School Children’s Reading Comprehension." AEA RCT Registry. June 03. http://www.socialscienceregistry.org/trials/970/history/8615.
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Experimental Details
Interventions
Intervention(s)
Project READS (Reading Enhances Achievement During Summer) is a voluntary scaffolded summer reading program with two primary components. In the spring, just prior to the end of the school year, students in the program are taught six lessons (each lasting approximately one hour) during the school day. These lessons are focused around reading strategies that are designed to help beginning readers to read outside of school, with limited or no adult supports. Parents are also invited with their children to attend an afterschool family literacy event focused on the READS comprehension activities. Then during the summer, each student is mailed 10 books, one per week. Students are tested for reading comprehension in the spring and fall. The spring test serves as a baseline measure of reading skills, and the fall test serves as a post-test.

The books are chosen to match each student’s reading skill level and reading interests as best as possible. Reading skill levels are measured using the spring baseline reading comprehension test, which are translated into Lexiles, a proprietary system designed to align reading skills with the difficulty of children’s books. Students are also asked questions about the types of books they would like to read. Using an algorithm, books are then chosen that best match each student’s interest among those that are the appropriate difficulty given the student’s baseline reading skill level.

We implemented Project READS for 2nd and 3rd graders in 463 classrooms in 59 public schools in 7 North Carolina school districts in the spring and summer of 2013. Students randomly selected to be in the treatment group were given six reading comprehension lessons in the spring that focused on reading activities designed to foster children’s engagement with books at home during the summer. Parents were also invited to an afterschool family literacy event where they learned about the READS activities. Treatment group students were then mailed 10 books, one per week, during the summer. The books were matched to students based on their baseline reading skill level and their interests. Students were encouraged to read the books, and were asked to mail a tri-fold after they read each book; the tri-fold included three comprehension questions about each book and a few questions designed to prompt the students to use the reading strategies taught during the spring lessons. Students assigned to the control group received no books during the summer, and participated in six mathematics lessons during the spring while the treatment students participated in the reading lessons.
Intervention Start Date
2013-04-01
Intervention End Date
2014-10-31
Primary Outcomes
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Number of books read during the summer
Number of tri-folds returned
Tri-fold questions answered correctly
Enjoyment of books read during the summer
North Carolina State EOG reading comprehension test
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Number of books read during the summer: Measured by self-report on a student survey.
Number of tri-folds returned: Count of number of tri-folds students returned during the summer. Students were sent a tri-fold with each book that was mailed to them and asked to return the tri-folds after they had read the book that was mailed with the tri-fold.
Tri-fold questions answered correctly: Count of tri-fold questions answered correctly. Each tri-fold included comprehension questions that referred to the book that was mailed with the tri-fold.
Enjoyment of books read during the summer: Measured by self-report on a student survey.
EOG Reading Comprehension: Standardized z-score.
Secondary Outcomes
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Experimental Design
Experimental Design
Students in 2nd and 3rd grade in 59 public schools in North Carolina were invited to participate. Only those students who consented to participate were subject to random assignment. There were two randomization strata per classroom, one group that included all students who were both free or reduced price lunch eligible (FRL) and not limited English proficient (not LEP), and the other group that included all other students in the classroom. Within each stratum within each classroom, students were randomly selected to be in the treatment or control group. Students in the treatment group received a series of reading lessons in the spring, were mailed 10 books (one per week) during the summer, and were invited to a family night to explain the program and encourage participation.
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization was conducted by Jonathan Guryan in his office using the statistical software Stata on a computer.
Randomization Unit
Randomization was at the student level (within classroom).
Was the treatment clustered?
No
Experiment Characteristics
Sample size: planned number of clusters
6,383 students
Sample size: planned number of observations
6,383 students
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
3,174 students assigned to treatment (READS), 3,209 students assigned to control
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
IRB
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
IRB Name
Harvard University Committee on the Use of Human Subjects in Research
IRB Approval Date
2014-10-23
IRB Approval Number
MOD-20091-06
Post-Trial
Post Trial Information
Study Withdrawal
Intervention
Is the intervention completed?
Yes
Intervention Completion Date
September 09, 2013, 12:00 AM +00:00
Is data collection complete?
Yes
Data Collection Completion Date
October 01, 2014, 12:00 AM +00:00
Final Sample Size: Number of Clusters (Unit of Randomization)
59 schools (randomization was conducted at the student level within classrooms)
Was attrition correlated with treatment status?
No
Final Sample Size: Total Number of Observations
5569
Final Sample Size (or Number of Clusters) by Treatment Arms
treatment=2765 students; control=2804 students
Data Publication
Data Publication
Is public data available?
No
Program Files
Program Files
Reports and Papers
Preliminary Reports
Relevant Papers