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Research Description

The efficacy of the RAVE-O program is documented in three previous large-scale, U.S. federally-funded, randomized treatment-control studies (through the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development and the Institute for Educational Studies; see summary in Wolf, Barzillai et al, 2009). In our first 5-year randomized treatment-control study, 279 severely impaired readers in the second and third grades received 70 hours of treatment in one of two control conditions, or in one of two multi-component programs, each combined with half an hour of the phonology program (Morris et al, in press; Wolf, Barzillai, et al., 2009). The two multi-component programs included RAVE-O and the PHAST word identification program by Lovett and her colleagues (Lovett et al., 2000), which directly targeted phonological, orthographic, and morphological components, along with metacognitive strategies for word identification and comprehension. The effects of these four conditions were compared across an extensive battery of tests covering all aspects of reading and many oral language measures. Significant differences in every reading and language measure at every level were found between children who received the two multi-component programs and both the classroom control and the phonological control condition. Very important to the targeted population in this proposal, these differences were sustained for children across every level of IQ and socio-economic status.

Further differences were found for children in the RAVE-O group, who outperformed all other groups on measures of vocabulary and most importantly on oral reading fluency and comprehension as measured on the Gray Oral Reading Quotient. The latter area has been the hardest area to change in all previous research (Morris, et al., in press; Wolf, Gottwald, et al, 2009; Wolf Barzillai, et al., 2009). These additional areas of growth for the children in the RAVE-O treatment were attributed to the distinctive semantic component that emphasizes not only vocabulary, but also semantic depth, breadth, and flexibility. Further, these differences in the children's set towards words were maintained over time, as indexed by sustained significant differences one year post-intervention. Indeed almost all the differences for both RAVE-O and PHAST were maintained in one- year, follow-up testing, showing the enduring power of multi-component methods. Although the efficacy of the multi-component approach has been demonstrated for the severely impaired readers in these studies, its efficacy has not been examined with the broad groups of struggling readers that make up the 35% of dysfluent readers found in many American classrooms. There is, however, more data available with these groups for the more implicit fluency approach within the repeated reading method programs.