Reading and Writing

, Volume 23, Issue 8, pp 931–956 | Cite as

The relative effects of group size on reading progress of older students with reading difficulties

  • Sharon VaughnEmail author
  • Jeanne Wanzek
  • Jade Wexler
  • Amy Barth
  • Paul T. Cirino
  • Jack Fletcher
  • Melissa Romain
  • Carolyn A. Denton
  • Greg Roberts
  • David Francis


This study reports findings on the relative effects from a yearlong secondary intervention contrasting large-group, small-group, and school-provided interventions emphasizing word study, vocabulary development, fluency, and comprehension with seventh- and eighth-graders with reading difficulties. Findings indicate that few statistically significant results or clinically significant gains were associated with group size or intervention. Findings also indicate that a significant acceleration of reading outcomes for seventh- and eighth-graders from high-poverty schools is unlikely to result from a 50 min daily class. Instead, the findings indicate, achieving this outcome will require more comprehensive models including more extensive intervention (e.g., more time, even smaller groups), interventions that are longer in duration (multiple years), and interventions that vary in emphasis based on specific students’ needs (e.g., increased focus on comprehension or word study).


Group size Older students Reading progress 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon Vaughn
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jeanne Wanzek
    • 2
  • Jade Wexler
    • 1
  • Amy Barth
    • 3
  • Paul T. Cirino
    • 3
  • Jack Fletcher
    • 4
  • Melissa Romain
    • 4
  • Carolyn A. Denton
    • 5
  • Greg Roberts
    • 1
  • David Francis
    • 6
  1. 1.The University of Texas at AustinAustinUSA
  2. 2.Florida State UniversityTallahasseeUSA
  3. 3.Texas Medical Center AnnexUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Texas Medical Center AnnexUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA
  5. 5.The University of Texas Health Science Center HoustonHoustonUSA
  6. 6.Texas Institute for Measurement, Evaluation, and StatisticsUniversity of HoustonHoustonUSA

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