Study: Vadasy & Sanders (2008)

Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2008). Benefits of Repeated Reading Intervention for Low-Achieving Fourth- and Fifth-Grade Students. Remedial and Special Education, 29(4), 235-249.

Descriptive Information


Acquisition and Cost

Program Specifications and Requirements


QuickReads is designed to improve students' fluency, comprehension, and background knowledge. Quickreads consists of short texts that are designed to be read quickly and meaningfully, in order to present readers with an accessible, considerate, and research-based model of text.

QuickReads develops fluency by increasing automaticity. By repeatedly using high-frequency words and words with common phonics/syllabic patterns, students recognize these “high leverage” words and begin to read at a faster rate enabling them to focus on meaning and mastering content-area vocabulary.

QuickReads offers a quick and effective teacher-led instructional routine that develops consistent comprehension strategies within the context of short reading passages. It also supports building background knowledge by clustering multiple passages around high-interest topics students will encounter in science and social studies curricula, allowing the student to explore a subject in depth through a series of short focused readings.The QuickReads program levels offer increasingly complex text, designed to build student capacity to comprehend increasingly complex text. A Placement Guide and on-going progress monitoring are built into the QuickReads program.

QuickReads is intended for use in grades 2 through 6, but is developmentally appropriate for students reading on a 1st to 6th grade level. The program is designed for use with students with disabilities (particularly students with learning disabilities), English language learners, and any student at risk of academic failure. The academic area of focus is reading (including comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, and background knowledge).

QuickReads is in use throughout the country. A few school districts using the program include: Broward County Schools, Ft Lauderdale, FL; Miami-Dade Schools, Miami, Fl; and Plainfield School District, Plainfield, Il.

Where to Obtain:
P.O. Box 2500
Lebanon, In 46052-3009
Phone #: 800-848-9500
Web Site: www.pearsonschool.com

Cost: QuickReads is available in 2 kits: 1) QuickReads Print Complete Classroom Program, Levels A* -F for $660.97 and; 2) QuickReads Print Intervention Kits, Levels A –F for $385.97.

  • QuickReads Print Complete Classroom Program, Levels A* -F: Each level includes 24 copies of each of books 1, 2, and 3, teacher’s resource manual, 3 read-aloud audio CDs, professional development DVD, placement guide, and laminated instructional routine card.
  • QuickReads Print Intervention Kits, Levels A – F: Each level includes 12 copies each of books 1, 2, and 3, teacher’s resource manual, 3 read-aloud audio CDs, professional development DVD, placement guide, and laminated instructional routine card.

Additional Cost Information: 6-packs of student books are available for sale separately for $51.97.

QuickReads is designed for use with individual students and small groups of students. Small groups of students should ideally be comprised of 6 students, but can comprise up to 20.

QuickReads takes 15-20 minutes per session with a recommended 3-5 sessions per week every single week throughout the entire school year.

The program includes highly specified teacher manuals.

The program does not require technology.

There is no training required for the instructor. There is instructor training available in the form of free online training modules and 3 hour on-site product implementation essentials with up to 30 teachers.

Instructors must be at least paraprofessionals. The program does not assume the instructor has expertise in a given area.

Training manuals and materials are available. Practitioners may obtain ongoing professional/technical support.


Participants: Convincing Evidence

Sample size: 119 students (54 program, 65 control)

Risk Status: Students screened on the average of 3 passages drawn from DIBELS Oral Reading Fluency. Students who performed below grade level norms (“at risk” or “at some risk” according to the DIBELS norms) were considered eligible.


  Program Control p of chi square
Number Percentage Number Percentage
Grade level
  Grade 1          
  Grade 2          
  Grade 3          
  Grade 4 28 52% 37 57% 0.58
  Grade 5 26 48% 28 43% 0.58
  Grade 6          
  Grade 7          
  Grade 8          
  Grade 9          
  Grade 10          
  Grade 11          
  Grade 12          
Mean Age          
  African-American 23 43% 24 37% 0.53
  American Indian unknown   unknown    
  Asian/Pacific Islander 2 4% 9 14% 0.06
  Hispanic 5 9% 10 15% 0.32
  White 15 28% 14 22% 0.43
  Other 9 17% 8 12% 0.50
Socioeconomic status
  Subsidized lunch unknown   unknown    
  No subsidized lunch unkonwn   unknown    
Disability status
  Speech-language impairments unknown   unknown    
  Learning disabilities unknown   unknown    
  Behavior disorders unknown   unknown    
  Intellectual disabilities unknown   unknown    
  Other (SPED Status) 10 19% 17 26% 0.32
  Not identified with a disability 44 81% 48 74% 0.32
ELL status
  English language learner 13 24% 19 29% 0.53
  Not English language learner 41 76% 46 71% 0.53
  Female 33 61% 31 48% 0.14
  Male 21 39% 34 52% 0.14

Training of Instructors: Twenty tutors were recruited from their school communities. Tutors’ educational levels, general tutoring experience, and experience working with fourth and fifth graders varied. Two tutors were employees of the district and served regularly as instructional assistants (IAs), and 3 were hourly employees. Prior to the study, tutors ranged from 0 to 11 years of tutoring experience and averaged 15 years of education: Two had master’s degrees, 11 had bachelor’s degrees (3 with teaching certificates), 2 had associate’s degrees, and 5 had attended some college. The average educational attainment of tutors in this study matches the paraeducator competency requirements under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001. 

Tutor training: Tutors participated in one initial 4-hour training by project staff. Training included an overview of reading fluency development and the repeated reading method. Research staff then modeled the use of Quick Reads materials and vocabulary instruction. The tutors practiced and received feedback before they began work with students. Following initial training, coaches visited tutors weekly to provide coaching and modeling and to collect observation data on tutor instruction and management. Midyear, tutors attended a 3-hour workshop provided by research staff to reinforce tutoring strategies and effective student management. The workshop addressed specific tutor skills for successful Quick Reads lessons and included a demonstration of a Quick Reads lesson with students in study.

Tutor coaching: Throughout the 20-week intervention, research staff supported and conducted observations of the tutors. Specific researcher coaches were assigned to a set of tutors, and for each tutor, a minimum of eight observations were conducted (of which there were at least two observations per dyad). Coaches met monthly to discuss tutoring implementation progress.

Design: Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes.

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: Not applicable.

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes?: Yes.

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences? Not applicable.

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment?: Yes.

Was there attrition bias1? No.

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)?: Yes.

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/wwc_procedures_v2_1_standards_handbook.pdf


Fidelity of Implementation: Convincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: To monitor treatment implementation fidelity, data were collected via observation forms, including (a) tutors’ adherence to scripted Quick Reads protocols, (b) tutor behavior in terms of both organization and responsiveness to students’ needs, and (c) student progress in terms of the amount of time spent actively engaged in reading passages. Tutors’ fidelity to scripted protocols was measured using a dichotomous (yes–no) implementation checklist that included two to five criteria for each of the Quick Reads instructional steps (the percentage of observed correct criteria across all steps was calculated per observation). Tutors’ behavior was measured using a 5-point rating scale of 0 (never) to 4 (always) on eight criteria, including “organizational materials,” “tutoring time spent on instruction,” “full tutoring time used,” “smooth transitions,” “corrections match error and skill,” “use of specific praise,” “quick pace,” and “keeps students engaged.” Student progress was measured by recording the amount of time (in seconds) students were actively reading text. Across all three measurements (protocols, behaviors, and student progress), only components actually observed were recorded (i.e., if the beginning of the tutoring session was the only component observed, then tutor behavior and student progress were not recorded).

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: A total of 54 paired observations from five pairs of raters (one researcher-rater was used as a baseline for comparison with the other five) were used to obtain interobserver reliability. Adherence to scripted Quick Reads protocols reliability ranged from r = 0.53 to r = 0.91 and averaged r = 0.76. Reliabilities averaged r = 0.81 for tutor behavior ratings and r = 0.92 for the amount of time students spent on passage reading. Across 254 observations (approximately 13 per tutor), adherence to protocols averaged M = 90% (SD = 11.5%); across 248 observations (approximately 12 per tutor), tutor behaviors averaged M = 3.7 (SD = 0.55), and across 206 observations, each student (within the dyad) spent an average of M = 7.8 minutes per session (SD = 4.42) actively engaged in orally reading Quick Reads text.

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure Score type and range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content
CBM Vocabulary Curriculum-based measure raw score ranging from 0 to 40 points Sample internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha)  = 0.83 at pretest Vocabulary introduced specifically in program lessons
Fluency Rate Grade-level passage reading fluency, mean words correct per minute on three passages, at-risk to not at-risk range from 0 to 104 wcpm Sample passage intercorrelations (Pearson’s r) range from 0.74 to 0.91 at pretest Targeted skill of program


Broader Measure Score type and range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content
Passage Reading Comprehension Standard score with normal M=100, SD=15 Sample internal consistency (Cronbach’s alpha)  = 0.89 at pretest If students become more fluent they may free up working memory, hence comprehension may be bolstered as result
Word Reading Accuracy Standard score with normal M=100, SD=15 Sample internal consistency = 0.93 pretest Exposure to program lesson passages may expose children to new words, thus improving general word-level skills.
Word Reading Efficiency Standard score with normal M=100, SD=15 Sample internal consistency = 0.94 pretest Same as above
Word Comprehension Standard score with normal M=100, SD=15 Sample internal consistency = 0.92 pretest Same as above



Number of Outcome Measures: 6 Reading

Mean ES - Targeted: 0.22

Mean ES - Broader: 0.21*

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading CBM Vocabulary 0.31
Reading Fluency Rate 0.13

 Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Passage Comprehension 0.38*
Reading Word Reading Accuracy 0.30
Reading Word Reading Efficiency -0.02
Reading Word Comprehension 0.16


*      p ≤ 0.05
**    p ≤ 0.01
***  p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available


Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Small Group, (n=1-2)

Duration of Intervention: 30 minutes, 4 times a week, 18 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Paraprofessional, Training is not required

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: E-ESSA

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.


Evidence for ESSA

Struggling Readers

Program Outcomes: QuickReads has been evaluated in three studies and all three found positive effects on measures such as the GORT and Woodcock (effect size = +0.21). These outcomes qualify QuickReads for the ESSA "Strong" category, and for a "Solid Outcomes" rating (effects of at least +0.20 in two or more studies).

Number of Studies: 3

Average Effect Size: 0.21

Full Report


Whole Class

Program Outcomes: One study evaluated QuickReads-Whole Class. On Gates tests, the average effect size was +0.21, qualifying QuickReads-Whole Class for the ESSA “Strong” category. A comparison of print plus technology and print-only variations found that both were equally effective compared to controls.

Number of Studies: 1

Average Effect Size: 0.21

Full Report

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 2 studies

Trainin, G., Wilson, K. M., Rankin-Erickson, J., & Hayden, E. H. (2006). Teaching Fluency: An Experimental Study of the QuickReads Programs (2006). Available at www.pearsoned.com.

Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2008). Repeated Reading Intervention: Outcomes and Interactions with Readers' Skills and Classroom Instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 272-290.