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Evidence-Based Research Report on Read for Real-Executive Summary

Executive Summary

Research study conducted by Marzano & Associates, Inc.
2004-2005 School Year

Read for Real

Read for Real is a structured reading program that offers instructional practices and reading strategies to teach students to read nonfiction. The Read for Real instructional model teaches comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency through content-area selections appropriate to different reading levels. The program teaches efficient strategies for Before Reading, During Reading, and After Reading. The program is available for grades 3-8, in Levels A-F. The Teacher’s Guide details lesson plans with teaching suggestions for each unit and assessments for every reading selection. The program includes a Transparency and Blackline Master Book with transparencies and corresponding masters, as well as other resources. In other words, Read for Real is practical for teachers and effective for students.

The Design of the Read for Real Study

A recent independent study verifies that the use of Zaner-Bloser’s Read for Real instruction raises student scores on reading tests. The study measured the impact of Read for Real on students’ performance in reading skills and comprehension. This report summarizes the investigation, carried out in the 2004-2005 school year, by researchers from Marzano and Associates.

Based on evidence from a sufficiently large research population and from analysis of pre- and post-testing scores, as well as teacher interviews, the study meets the requirements for valid research. Researchers selected 13 school sites, serving grades 4 and 6, in five different districts throughout the United States. A total of 577 fourth graders and 350 sixth graders, in both the Read for Real experimental classrooms and the control classrooms using OTHER reading instructional methods and materials, participated.

In the fall of 2004, the research team administered pre-test reading assignments for both Read for Real and OTHER students. In the spring of 2005, the research team followed up with post-test reading assignments. The pre- and post-test reading assignments, from Gates-MacGinite Reading Tests, were reviewed by Marzano researchers and electronically scored by Riverside Publishing.

The Research Questions and Results

Evaluation Question #1: What is the impact of Read for Real on students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and total score as compared with other forms of reading instruction?

For all three independent measures—comprehension, vocabulary, and total score—the Read for Real groups had higher mean scores than the OTHER groups.

The findings indicate that the Read for Real group of students has an expected passing rate that is 7% greater than the OTHER student group. These data reinforce the finding that students taught with Read for Real, when compared with students taught with OTHER materials, will score higher on standardized reading tests.

Materials Used Percentage of Students Expected to Pass Percentage of Students Expected to Fail
Read for Real 53.5% 46.5%
OTHER materials 46.5% 53.5%

Evaluation Question #2: What is the impact of Read for Real on students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and total score as compared with other forms of reading instruction at different grade levels?

This question addresses the possible differential impact of Read for Real if the program is used at different grade levels. The study’s findings are based on pre- and post measurements of reading in grades 4 and 6. In other words, does Read for Real work better at one grade than another?

When researchers entered the independent variable of grade level into the analysis, they found no differential effect at different grades. For all three dependent measures (comprehension, vocabulary, and total score), the Read for Real groups, in both grades 4 and 6, had higher mean scores than the OTHER groups.

In fact, Read for Real scores were consistently higher. The findings show that Read for Real produces higher scores across grade levels.

Evaluation Question #3: What is the impact of Read for Real on students’ reading comprehension, vocabulary, and total score compared to other forms of reading instruction in urban, suburban, and rural settings?

The findings indicate that Read for Real students generally outperformed OTHER students in different demographic settings. The overall gains of Read for Real students were significantly higher.

Summary

Students who were taught with the Read for Real program outperformed students whose teachers used OTHER programs. All of these findings have been excerpted from the complete final report from the evaluation of the Read for Real program. The entire final report can be found on the Zaner-Bloser website (www.zaner-bloser.com).

Conclusions

  1. Given any two groups of students, when one group is taught with Read for Real and the other group is taught with OTHER materials, the students using Read for Real will outperform other students on reading tests.
  2. Regardless of grade level, when taking standardized tests students using Read for Real will outperform students using OTHER materials.
  3. In different demographic populations, students benefited from using the Read for Real program. Read for Real students will achieve higher mean scores on tests than students using OTHER programs.
  4. Based on interviews with teachers, the researchers found that, in general, the teachers using the Read for Real program rated it highly in terms of student interest and ease of use. At the time of these interviews, teachers had used a varying number of units in their classrooms. However, most Read for Real teachers rated themselves highly in the extent to which they had followed the Read for Real Teacher Guide. It is important to note that none of the teachers had participated in in-service training for the Read for Real program. In other words, the teachers found the materials and protocol to be accessible and useful.

In general, this independent research study found that students using the Read for Real program produce superior standardized test scores compared to those students using other materials.

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