|Grade Levels||Group Size||Tutor Type||Students Per Tutor Per Year*||Qualifying Studies||Cost Per Student||Average Effect Size|
|4-8||4||Teaching Asst.||72 per tutor||3||$600||+0.21|
*Estimated number of students a tutor can serve in a year. This is based on an estimate of 9 sessions per day, and one-half year of tutoring for each student. For example, a tutor working with groups of two would see 18 students a day, and if students receive a half year of tutoring, tutors could see 36 students in a year.
ThemeReads (based on the TExT model used in QuickReads) is designed for students in grades 4 to 8 who are reading at grade levels 3 to 6. ThemeReads is currently disseminated by the Success for All Foundation (SFAF). SFAF also provides Tutoring With the Lightning Squad (TWLS), to students in grades 1 to 5 who are reading at grade levels K to 3, so students in grade levels 4-8 reading below the fourth grade level receive TWLS.
The purpose of ThemeReads is to increase vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and background knowledge. ThemeReads books are brief, content-rich texts meant to be read quickly and with understanding, allowing practice both with reading and with acquisition of specialized vocabulary and knowledge in content areas. The program helps students gain automaticity with high value words with related structure or syllable patterns. These words are repeated often within and among the texts. With an increase in automaticity, students are able to improve overall fluency and concentrate their efforts on new vocabulary and overall understanding. ThemeReads texts focus around various content area themes, with multiple texts on each topic, providing more opportunity to practice reading content area words and synthesizing across texts to develop deeper knowledge in each topic.
Tutors in ThemeReads are teaching assistants who should have a four-year college degree and successful experience working with children, perhaps as a tutor, teacher, camp counselor, or Sunday school teacher. Tutors are usually hired by school districts, or school districts may contract with AmeriCorps agencies, with Success for All Foundation, or with other organizations to hire and support the tutors. A full-time tutor should be able to provide 9 30-minute sessions daily (36 children). Tutors usually tutor in person, but may also work online when in-person tutoring is not possible.
ThemeReads is designed for students in grades 4 to 8 who are reading at the third grade level and above. Students scoring below this level receive Tutoring With the Lightning Squad.
Students in ThemeReads work in pairs at shared computers. The software can work on any modern computer or tablet.
See “Program Description,” above. Curriculum materials can be accessed entirely on the computer.
A computer-administered assessment determines initial placement in the tutoring program. A tutor dashboard tracks the progress of every student, and progress is measured over time, against standard grade-level competencies. Each student’s individual progress is shared with the student’s classroom teacher and parents weekly.
Students work in pairs, sharing a computer, alternating roles as “reader” and “coach.” Tutors carry out regular progress assessments, identify and fill in gaps, and ensure that all students are on track to success.
Professional Development, Progress Monitoring, and Follow-up
ThemeReads coaches (from Success for All) provide tutors with two days of initial training, either in-person or on-line. Lead tutors in each district or region, hired by local districts, are trained to do regular coaching visits to observe tutors in action. Data from all participating students are summarized electronically and shared with tutors, lead tutors, and SFA trainers. These data are used in regular coaching conversations or observation visits to help make sure that all students are on track to success.
The Success for All Foundation charges an annual license fee of $6400 per school in Year 1, and $5000 thereafter. This covers training, coaching, materials, and software licensing for as many tutors are using ThemeReads in a school.
|FT Tutor (S&B) (est.)||$35,000|
|PT Lead Tutor $75K/15 (est.)||$5,000|
|Total cost per tutor||$43,200|
|Per student (72 per year)||$600|
|Notes: Tutors and lead tutors are usually district employees, or contractors. Substitute actual salaries and benefits to get actual cost.|
Research on Program Outcomes
ThemeReads (based on the TExT model that was used in QuickReads) has been evaluated in three studies, with diverse student groups. All three found positive effects on independent measures, such as GORT and Woodcock, with an average effect size of +0.21.
- Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2009). Supplemental fluency intervention and determinants of reading outcomes. Scientific Studies of Reading, 13(5), 383–425.
- Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2008a). Benefits of repeated reading intervention for low-achieving fourth- and fifth-Grade Students. Remedial and Special Education, 29(4), 235–249.
- Vadasy, P. F., & Sanders, E. A. (2008). Repeated reading intervention: Outcomes and interactions with readers’ skills and classroom instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 100(2), 272–290.