Read Aloud Small-Group Curriculum

Study: Fien, Santoro, Baker, Park, Chard, et al. (2011)

Fien, H., Santoro, L., Baker, S. K., Park, Y., Chard, D. J., Williams, S., & Haria, P. (2011). Enhancing teacher read alouds with small-group vocabulary instruction for students with low vocabulary in first-grade classrooms. School Psychology Review, 40 (2), 307-318.
Descriptive Information Usage Acquisition and Cost Program Specifications and Requirements Training

The Read Aloud Small-Group Curriculum is an instructional program designed to provide additional opportunities to preview, review, and enhance vocabulary and comprehension through the use of teacher read alouds with expository text. There are 9 instructional units in the program. Each weekly unit includes 4, 20 minute lessons. A consistent set of instructional routines is used across lessons before, during, and after each read aloud. Before a read aloud, instruction focuses on background knowledge building and explicit vocabulary instruction. During reading, teachers introduce question-asking strategies focused on identifying the main idea and details. A guided note-taking process is also used to help students record information about the main idea. After a read aloud, students engage in cumulative review activities. Vocabulary is discussed through the use of game formats, and comprehension is reviewed through the use of a main idea categorization activity. Throughout the Small-Group Curriculum, text-based discourse is used as a context for student language use and as an opportunity to prompt student vocabulary use and language-based elaborations. The program is aligned with the Common Core State Standards, Next Generation Science Standards, and National Science Education Standards.

The Read Aloud Small-Group Curriculum is intended for use in grades K-2. The program is designed for use with students with learning disabilities, English language learners, and any student at risk of academic failure.  The academic area of focus is reading (including comprehension and vocabulary).

The program has been used by 54 practitioners: 18 practitioners used the program in the first study (Fien et al., 2012), 24 practitioners used the program in the follow-up study (Fien et al., manuscript in preparation), and 12 practitioners have used the program as a supplemental summer school intervention.

Where to obtain: UO CTL Marketplace website


Phone: 1-888-497-4290


Cost: See website for details.

The Read Aloud Small Group Curriculum is designed for use with small groups of two to five students.

The program takes 20 minutes per session with a recommended 4 sessions per week for 9 weeks.

The program includes highly specified teacher manuals. No technology required. 

A full-day training and regular, on-going support was provided to instructors implementing the program in the research study. Lesson plans, teaching materials, and extensive feedback were provided to help facilitate high levels of implementation fidelity.

The minimum qualifications of instructors are that they be paraprofessionals. The program assumes that the instructor has some experience with reading instruction.

Practitioners may obtain ongoing professional/technical support by contacting:


Phone: 1-888-497-4290


Participants: Convincing Evidence

Sample size: 106 (54 program, 52 control)

Risk Status: Students were identified as being at risk for academic failure if they scored below the 50th percentile on relational vocabulary skills.





p of chi square





Grade level







  Grade 1






  Grade 2






  Grade 3






  Grade 4






  Grade 5






  Grade 6






  Grade 7






  Grade 8






  Grade 9






  Grade 10






  Grade 11






  Grade 12













  American Indian






  Asian/Pacific Islander
























Socioeconomic status

  Subsidized lunch






  No subsidized lunch






Disability status

  Speech-language impairments






  Learning disabilities






  Behavior disorders






  Intellectual disabilities












  Not identified with a disability






ELL status

  English language learner






  Not English language learner



















Training of Instructors: Instructors received a full-day training and regular ongoing support to implement the small-group intervention.

Design: Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: N/A

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?: N/A

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:


Fidelity of Implementation: Convincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained:  A research team member observed and documented the implementation of the small-group lessons and evaluated the integrity of intervention implementation. Fidelity was evaluated according to the presence or absence of critical components, and a percentage of total components demonstrated. Fidelity was assessed four times for each instructor.

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: Average fidelity of implementation was 87% (range of 79% to 97%) and represented the number of items observed divided by the total number of items.

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Convincing Evidence

Targeted  Measure Reliability Statistics Relevance to Program Instructional Content Exposure to Related Content Among Control Group

Vocabulary Knowledge

Interrater agreement: 0.95; Internal consistency, as measured by Cronbach's alpha: 0.80 and 0.87* 

Highly Relevant

Whole-Class Read Aloud

Expository Retells

Interrater agreement: 0.98 for total score

Highly Relevant

Whole-Class Read Aloud

*Found in Baker, et al., (2013)

Broader Measure Reliability Statistics Relevance to Program Instructional Content Exposure to Related Content Among Control Group

Narrative Retells

Interrater agreement: 0.85 for total score*

Highly Relevant

Whole-class Read Aloud

*Found in Baker, et al., (2013)

Number of Outcome Measures: 3 Reading

Mean ES - Targeted: Data Unavailable*u

Mean ES - Broader: Data Unavailable

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Vocabulary Knowledge 0.66***, u
Reading Expository Retell

 Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Reading Narrative Retell


*       p ≤ 0.05
**     p ≤ 0.01
***   p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCRTI 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=2-5)

Duration of Intervention: 20 minutes, 4 times a week, 9 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Paraprofessional, 4-8 hours of training

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: No

What Works Clearinghouse Review

This program was not reviewed by What Works Clearinghouse.


Evidence for ESSA

This program was not reviewed by Evidence for ESSA.

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 1 study

Baker, S., Santoro, L., Chard, D., Fien, H., Park, Y., & Otterstedt, J. (2013). An evaluation of an explicit read aloud intervention taught in whole-classroom formats in first grade. The Elementary School Journal, 113(3), 331-358.