Testing the Efficacy of Reading Rules: A Tier 1 and Tier 2 Intervention for First-grade Children With Decoding and Comprehension Difficulties

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Posted on September 21, 2021 by childrenslearninginstitute



Principal Investigators: 

Emily Solari, Ph.D., University of California at Davis

Carolyn Denton, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)


Tricia Zucker, Ph.D., University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth)

Funding Agency:

Institute of Education Sciences

Description of Project:

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effects of a program called Reading RULES.  Reading RULES was developed at the Children’s Learning Institute for first-grade students who are at risk for reading difficulties or disabilities in both word reading and comprehension. Students who do not learn to read adequately in the early grades typically have persistent reading difficulties. Potential persistent reading problems may be prevented or their severity reduced if they are addressed aggressively and early. Reading RULES provides carefully-sequenced instruction in word reading, fluency, vocabulary, listening comprehension, and reading comprehension, combining whole-class mini-lessons in comprehension and vocabulary with supplemental small-group Tier 2 intervention for the students in the classroom who are most at-risk for reading difficulties.


Approximately 96 first-grade classrooms will participate in this research project. The study will focus on five first-grade students from each classroom who are at risk for reading difficulties, as well as five students in the same classrooms who are not at-risk for reading difficulties. Teachers and their classrooms will be randomly assigned to use Reading RULES for 20 weeks or to continue their typical reading instruction and interventions, and the reading development of students in the two groups will be compared. Students will be assessed before, during, and after intervention and in second grade to determine whether students who receive Reading RULES have better reading outcomes than those in the comparison classrooms.


Participants are 960 first grade children who are at-risk for reading difficulties or disabilities and attend participating schools, 480 from the California site and 480 from the Texas site. At each site, 160 children (from 16 classrooms) will participate each year for three years.


The study is being conducted in schools in the greater Davis, California area and in the greater Houston, Texas area.