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Citation:Lennon, J. E., & Slesinski, C. (1999). Early intervention in reading: Results of a screening and intervention program for kindergarten students. School Psychology Review, 28, 353-364.

Annotation:
The purpose of this study is to examine a field-based early intervention program for kindergartners. The reading intervention uses the interactive systems model in an attempt to demonstrate the efficacy of early intervention on reading development. The study hopes to show the value of intensive early intervention over delayed remediation or placement in special education. The intervention consists of daily tutoring sessions (30 minutes a day, 5 days a week) for a maximum of 50 sessions. It uses a 1:2 tutor to student ratio and is an integration of whole language and phonics approaches. Results indicated that students who received the intervention outperformed the waiting group control students. In addition, kindergartners from previous years had special education placement rates of approximately 15%; however, this cohort had a placement rate of 5%, suggesting that placement for this cohort was below previous levels. Results suggest that it may be possible to identify students who need special attention and also to suggest a ÒdosageÓ level based on the letter-naming task. A dosage that is dependent of the studentÕs needs could allow teachers to provide more intensive instruction during shorter periods of time with improved results. Subjects included kindergarten students at 5 schools who were likely to be at risk for reading failure. StudentsÕ reading level was evaluated by using a letter-naming task. They were then divided into low-, mid- and high-scoring groups. Low- and mid-scoring students were randomly assigned to tutoring during either the first or second 10-week session. Those assigned to the second session served as the waiting group control. The high-scoring group did not receive tutoring, but served as a comparison group. Reading assessments were taken before the intervention, at the end of the first 10-week session, and then again at the end of the second 10-week session. A longitudinal follow-up was also taken two years after the initiation of the project, investigating special education records. The lack of achievement data for the students is also a limitation. In addition, a lack of experimental control limits causal inferences. This study was a field-based study in one school district; therefore results may not generalize to other settings.

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