Program

Jun 28, 2012

OVERVIEW

Time to
Read is a school-based once-per-week community mentoring program designed to
increase literacy in 8 and 9 year old children who struggle with reading. An
experimental evaluation of Time to Read mentoring sessions found a significant
increase in aspirations for the future. However, an experimental study that
doubled the dose of the intervention (mentoring sessions twice per week) found
significant positive impacts on decoding, reading rate, and reading fluency, and
no impact on aspirations for the future.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target Population:
Children
aged 8 to 9 years, struggling with reading.

The Time
to Read mentoring program is a school-based intervention with elementary school
children who struggle with reading. The program aims to improve literacy in
children by engaging community volunteers to supplement their formal reading
education. Volunteers recruited from the local business community are briefly
trained in simple strategies to use when reading with children. The volunteers
are then matched with children from a local school who struggle with reading,
based on low test scores or teacher recommendation. Children meet with their
volunteer mentors in 30-minute reading sessions that occur outside the classroom
once or twice a week for the duration of one school year. Schools are provided
with reading resources, and children are allowed to choose what books they read
during their mentoring sessions. Children are also given the opportunity to
visit their mentors’ workplaces.

EVALUATIONS OF PROGRAM

Study One

Miller,
S., Connolly, P., Odena, O., & Styles, B. (2009). A Randomised Controlled
Trial Evaluation of Business in the Community’s Time to Read Pupil Mentoring
Programme.
Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, Queen’s University
Belfast.

Evaluated
Population:

A total of
734 children from 50 primary schools in Northern Ireland participated in this
study. Children were eligible if they scored below average on a standardized
test of reading ability. Students were excluded from the study if they had
special education needs that were beyond the scope of this intervention. The
sample was 57 percent male and had an average age of 8.7 years.

Approach: Children
were randomly assigned to the Time to Read intervention (n = 360) or a control
group (n = 374). Children in the Time to Read group attended mentoring sessions
once a week for a time between one and two academic years. The primary outcomes
measured were self-esteem, locus of control, enjoyment of learning, reading
skills, and aspirations for the future. These outcomes were assessed before the
intervention, and then every 4 months for 2 years.

Results:Time to Read had a significant positive impact on aspirations for the future
(effect size: 0.17) compared with the control group, but did not show
significant impacts on any of the other outcomes.

Study Two

Miller,
S., Connolly, P., & Maguire, L. K. (2012). The effects of a volunteer mentoring
programme on reading outcomes among eight- to nine-year-old children: A follow
up randomized controlled trial. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 10,
134-144. doi:10.1177/1476718X11407989

Evaluated
Population:

A total of
512 students from 50 primary schools in Belfast, Northern Ireland participated
in this study. Teachers identified students who were below average or lacked
confidence in reading. Students were excluded from the study if they had
special education needs that were beyond the scope of this intervention. The
sample was 59 percent male; racial/ethnic and age information was not reported.

Approach:
Students
were individually randomized to receive the Time to Read mentoring intervention
(n = 263) or a control group (n = 249). In this study, the Time to Read
mentoring sessions occurred twice a week. Primary outcomes measured at pre-test
and post-test (after the 8-month intervention) included decoding, reading rate,
reading accuracy, reading fluency, and reading comprehension. Secondary
outcomes included enjoyment of reading, reading confidence, and aspirations for
the future. At pre-test, the groups were equivalent on all measures except for
reading confidence, on which the control group scored significantly higher that
the treatment group. A multilevel statistical model was used to adjust for
clustering.

Results:Time to Read had significant positive impacts on decoding (effect size: 0.15),
reading rate (effect size: 0.22), and reading fluency (effect size: 0.14)
compared with the control group. No impacts were found for the other outcomes
measured. A sub-group analysis did not yield any significant information about
the effectiveness of this program with various groups.

SOURCES
FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Miller,
S., Connolly, P., Odena, O., & Styles, B. (2009). A Randomised Controlled
Trial Evaluation of Business in the Community’s Time to Read Pupil Mentoring
Programme.
Belfast: Centre for Effective Education, Queen’s University
Belfast.

Miller,
S., Connolly, P., & Maguire, L. K. (2012). The effects of a volunteer mentoring
programme on reading outcomes among eight- to nine-year-old children: A follow
up randomized controlled trial. Journal of Early Childhood Research, 10,
134-144. doi:10.1177/1476718X11407989

Contact
Information

Sarah
Miller

Centre for
Effective Education

Queens
University Belfast

69-71
University Street

Belfast
BT7 1HL, Northern Ireland, UK

Email:
s.j.miller@qub.ac.uk

KEYWORDS:
Children
(3-11), Elementary, Males and Females (Co-ed), School-based, Mentoring,
Reading/Literacy, Academic Motivation/Self-Concept/Expectations/Engagement,
Self-Esteem/Self-Concept

Program
information last updated on 6/28/12.

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