Project ALIGN

Overview

The purpose of this five-year project is to conduct a randomized control trial (RCT) to evaluate the efficacy of aligned reading comprehension and vocabulary instruction in core and intervention settings for students with reading disabilities (SWRD) in the fifth grade. This study addresses the gap in alignment between classroom instruction and reading intervention by examining the effects of implementing aligned, coordinated reading comprehension and vocabulary practices in core content-area instruction (social studies) and small-group reading intervention.

Purpose

There has been a longstanding pattern of null findings or small effects in reading-comprehension research for upper-elementary SWRD. New approaches to improving reading comprehension require system-wide changes that address students’ instruction across the school day rather than in segmented, isolated intervention blocks. Many schools provide intensive interventions for SWRDs, but the reading instruction is compartmentalized in that (a) interventions are often non-overlapping with the pedagogical focus of core instruction, (b) interventions frequently address different skills and content than that provided in core instruction, and (c) instruction provided in intervention and core settings may use different language or terms. This unsystematic, incohesive delivery of instruction across the school day limits the practice opportunities needed for SWRDs to make progress in the area of reading comprehension.

Procedures

Year 1: Prepare measures, professional development, and materials for core reading-comprehension instruction and small-group reading-comprehension intervention

Years 2–5: Conduct an RCT to examine the efficacy of the aligned and nonaligned intervention in comparison to the business-as-usual condition

Participants

Project ALIGN will work with 72 schools, 432 teachers, and 864 students in Kansas and Texas across four years of implementation. The core-setting reading comprehension and vocabulary practices are designed to meet the grade-level standards and literacy needs of a variety of learners in fifth-grade general education classrooms, while the core-aligned intervention lessons have further support and a specific focus for students with disabilities.

Outcomes

  • Reading comprehension 
  • Vocabulary 
  • Social studies content knowledge