Effectiveness of an English intervention for first-grade English language learners at risk for reading problems

A first-grade reading and language development intervention for English language learners (Spanish/English) at risk for reading difficulties was examined. The intervention was conducted in the same language as students’ core reading instruction (English). Two hundred sixteen firstgrade students from 14 classrooms in 4 schools from 2 districts were screened in both English and Spanish. Forty-eight students (22%) did not pass the screening in both languages and were randomly assigned within schools to an intervention or contrast group; after 7 months, 41 students remained in the study. Intervention groups of 3 to 5 students met daily (50 minutes) and were provided systematic and explicit instruction in oral language and reading by trained bilingual reading intervention teachers. Students assigned to the contrast condition received their school’s existing intervention for struggling readers. Intervention students significantly outperformed contrast students on multiple measures of English letter naming, phonological awareness and other language skills, and reading and academic achievement. Differences were less significant for Spanish measures of these domains, though the strongest effects favoring the intervention students were in the areas of phonological awareness and related reading skills.
Authors citation
Vaughn, Sharon, et al.
The Elementary School Journal, 107(2)
Year of Study
Program Evaluated
Reading and language development intervention
Tutor Type
18 weeks
Sample size
Grade Level(s)
1st Grade
Student-Tutor Ratio
Effect Size
Study Design
Randomized Controlled Trial
Vaughn, Sharon, et al. "Effectiveness of an English intervention for first-grade English language learners at risk for reading problems." The Elementary School Journal 107.2 (2006)