Benedict Silverman Foundation

Reading Rescue

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Grade Levels Group Size Tutor Type Students Per Tutor Per Year* Cost per student Qualifying Studies Average Effect Size
11:1/1:3Pre-service university students, in-service teachers, retired teachers18-54$500-$10003+0.42

*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. 

Contact Info

Tiffany Zapico

Groups Studied
Asian American
English Learners
Free Lunch

Communities Studied

Program Description

Reading Rescue is a one-to-one intervention for first grade striving readers. The program is based on the Five Pillars of Literacy (as identified by the National Reading Panel) including phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension.



Teachers, Paraprofessionals, and pre-service teachers including undergraduate and graduate education majors.


First graders.


Laptops needed for Remote Version.




Pre/Post: Amira- standardized, computerized production assessment of foundational literacy skills.

Daily: Written records- error analysis solely focusing on grapheme-phoneme correspondences to inform phonics instruction and responses to three comprehension questions to inform comprehension support during lesson.

Program Operation

The intervention is 30 minutes per day. We have a one-to-one and a small group structure.

Professional Development, Progress Monitoring, and Follow-up

Programmatic oversight, data management and program fidelity checks are built into the model.


Philanthropic support is available for subsidized programming. Fee for service is minimal and fee waivers are available.

Research on Program Outcomes

Three studies of Reading Rescue have demonstrated the program’s effectiveness in improving students’ literacy skills. The first was a randomized study (Muller, 2014) that took place with 129 first grade students from 6 Title I, predominantly Hispanic elementary schools in New York City. Students who received the Reading Rescue intervention significantly outperformed students in the control groups on the GMRT (effect size = +0.33). The second study was a quasi-randomized study (Ehri et al., 2007) conducted with 126, Spanish-dominant students in New York City schools. After 6 months, Reading Rescue students outperformed control students on standardized reading measures (effect size = +.39). The final study, another randomized study of New York City first graders in high-need public schools investigated the use of a small group version of Reading Rescue in addition to the one-to-one model in comparison to a control group.  Again, the students in the Reading Rescue groups (small group and one-to-one) significantly outperformed students in the control group, with an average effect size across the various DIBELS measures of +0.48. Averaging across the three studies, weighting by sample size, the mean effect size was +0.42.

Key Studies

  • Ehri, L. C., Dreyer, L. G., Flugman, B., & Gross, A. (2007). Reading rescue: An effective tutoring intervention model for language-minority students who are struggling readers in first grade. American Educational Research Journal44(2), 414-448.
  • Muller, P. (2004). Reading Rescue in inner city schools: An experimental study examining reading outcomes of a one-on-one tutoring intervention. Bloomington: Indiana university, the Indiana Evaluation Center.
  • Miles, K.P., McFadden, K., Colenbrander, D., & Ehri, L.C. (under review). Maximizing Access to Reading Intervention: Comparing Small Group and One-to-One Protocols of Reading Rescue. Journal of Research in Reading.
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