We recently completed a research project investigating the effectiveness of Readable English for teaching reading and improving reading skills. The project involved 60 participants from three Year 2 classes, and was conducted under the approval of the New South Wales Department of Education.
One class of 23 students was randomly selected to act as a control group and the other two classes consisting of 37 students made up the Readable English test group. As a part of the research project, students in the test group participated in two half-hour classes per week for twelve weeks (a total of twelve hours class time). Students in the control group participated in their regular reading classes while the Readable English classes were being taught.
Students were pre- and post-tested before and after the program using a standardised reading assessment, the Neale Analysis of Reading Ability (Neale). The Neale involves students reading levelled passages aloud to an examiner and answering comprehension questions. Raw scores are converted to reading ages for three aspects of reading ability; accuracy, comprehension and rate.
Over the course of the four month experiment, there was a significantly larger improvement in reading age for accuracy in the Readable English group than the control group. On average, students in the control group improved by 5.3 months, which is as would be expected. The Readable English test group’s accuracy reading age increased on average by 10.7 months in the same period - twice the rate of the control group. The difference between these figures was statistically significant.
The improvement in comprehension followed a similar pattern: the control group improved their comprehension reading age by 4.5 months, and the Readable English group doubled this (an improvement of 9.8 months). The difference between these figures was also statistically significant.
There was no significant difference between the groups for changes in reading rate.
To test whether learning with Readable English improved students’ reading ability when reading Standard English text, both groups were assessed reading additional passages in Standard English. Again, both groups showed improvement in fluency over the test period, with the Readable English group improving at twice the rate of the control group. In the post test, the Readable English group read on average 25 more words correctly per minute than before training, compared to an improvement of 11 more words correct per minute in the control group. Again, the difference in improvement between the groups was statistically significant.
For a detailed report of the research project, please click here.