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How effective are early grade reading interventions? A review of the evidence


Educational Research Review Volume 27, Number 1, ISSN 1747-938X Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


It is imperative that students learn to read in the early grades, yet many fail to do so in developing countries. Early Grade Reading (EGR) interventions have emerged as a common means to address this problem. We present a definition of EGR interventions as programs that aim to strengthen core reading skills in grades 1 through 4 by training teachers to teach reading using simplified instruction and evidence-based curricula, and by employing a combination of complementary approaches. We also clarify the theoretical reasons for why these interventions should improve literacy. Furthermore, we summarize evidence from 15 EGR interventions—11 from sub-Saharan Africa, two from Middle East and North Africa, and two from East Asia and the Pacific—and find that EGR interventions are not a guaranteed means to improve reading, and they rarely lead to fluency in the short term, but they are a mostly reliable means to make substantial improvements in reading skills over a short period of time, across a variety of contexts, with average effects equating to about three years of schooling.


Graham, J. & Kelly, S. (2019). How effective are early grade reading interventions? A review of the evidence. Educational Research Review, 27(1), 155-175. Elsevier Ltd. Retrieved December 12, 2019 from .

This record was imported from Educational Research Review on April 7, 2019. Educational Research Review is a publication of Elsevier.

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