Research-Based Reading Programs Are Not Enough
Reading programs are an important element of assisting children who may have reading delays and difficulties. These programs and interventions ought to be based on evidence from research that exhaustively explains the methods and results. This is to ensure that there is a system for the preparation, implementation, and evaluation.
The Samples and Sample Size
Those who wish to implement research-based methods and techniques should be wary of all parts of the research that were reports—especially the methodology and the results. Some research will highlight the outcome, especially if it’s good, but will not mention important factors such as the samples used when experimenting. Keep in mind that experiments only use a sample/representative of an entire population. This means that if the research says that the experiment showed positive results, it means that the experiment worked for the sample in the research. There is a possibility that the experiment may not have the same result for other groups.
Research-Based Reading Programs: It’s Not One Size Fits All
Reading programs will claim to be backed by research and will be able to provide evidence of its effectiveness. In an experiment about comprehension strategies, researchers may find that the experimental group had higher scores compared to the scores of a control group. One might immediately believe that the comprehension strategy was effective for everyone in the experimental group. However, there may be some outliers in each group—a few students in the control group might have had higher scores than the experimental group, while a few from the experimental group might have not responded well to the strategies.
To put things simply, if you implement a “successful” comprehension strategy (backed by research) to a class, you can expect that it might not be successful to a few students.
Learning is Still a Priority
Many educators and school administrators make decisions solely based on the “researched-based” or “evidence-based” keywords that are attached to certain policies. They tend to overlook the nuances of the application of these policies and strategies. Implementing the same interventions may not necessarily yield the same positive results that were reported in the research.
When teachers implement a reading program, they should carefully monitor the students’ progress and look out for those who might be having difficulty. Of course, these programs have a system, and it has to be followed very closely; however, teachers must develop ways to help struggling students before moving on to the next part of the program.
Teachers can get creative by making supplementary activities for those who are ahead or who are a little behind. These activities and formative assessments have to be aligned with the study and to do this, they should study the recommendations. This way, the focus is placed on learning, and not simply rigidly following the steps of a program.
Reading programs tend to be recommended and used based solely on the fact that they are “research-based.” However, teachers and school administrators should consider the applicability of these programs to their students. Just because a particular reading program is highly regarded because it is research-based doesn’t mean it will work for your students. Be mindful of factors such as the samples used, the norms of the study, as well as the quality of the reporting of the data.