Can the iRead program improve young students' reading?

The Challenge 

By the end of the 3rd grade, students transition from learning to read to reading to learn. Reading proficiency is a key predictor of achievement in other subjects; students who do not acquire the necessary reading skills in the early grades have a greater risk of performing poorly in later grades and of dropping out of school.

Scholastic has developed a new reading program called iRead, which is designed specifically for students in kindergarten through 2nd grade. Scholastic contracted with Westat to evaluate the impact of iRead on early reading outcomes and to provide ongoing and in-depth feedback on its implementation.

Our Solutions 

  • Some of the questions Westat will answer for Scholastic are
    • What is the impact of iRead on the reading skills of kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders compared to matched students who did not receive the program?
    • What are teachers’ impressions of the iRead program?
    • How does using iRead affect teachers’ reading instruction?
  • Using a quasi-experimental design, Westat is estimating the impact of a year of exposure to the iRead program and providing Scholastic with key information on how teachers are implementing it. The evaluation will match 12 treatment schools to 12 comparison schools across 2 districts. Year 1 of the study is underway in Seattle Public Schools, while a second district has not yet been selected for Year 2.

The Results 

  • We matched 6 treatment schools to 6 comparison schools.
  • We collected baseline information on student reading achievement, teacher instruction, and teacher implementation of the program.

Our Client 

Scholastic