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The Effects of Reading Interventions on the Word-Reading Performance of English Language Learners: A Meta-Analysis Open Access


Other title
English language learners
reading intervention
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Ludwig, Caralyn E.
Supervisor and department
Brown, Heather (Educational Psychology)
Georgiou, George (Educational Psychology)
Examining committee member and department
McQuarrie, Lynn (Educational Psychology)
Georgiou, George (Educational Psychology)
Brown, Heather (Educational Psychology)
Abbott, Marilyn (Educational Psychology)
Department of Educational Psychology
Special Education
Date accepted
Graduation date
2017-11:Fall 2017
Master of Education
Degree level
Despite a large body of research on the effectiveness of reading interventions for monolingual English speakers, research on reading interventions for English language learners (ELLs) is still relatively scarce. Because the number of ELLs in schools is growing rapidly and these students often have weaker English literacy skills than their English-speaking peers, this meta-analysis examined the effectiveness of reading interventions in improving the word-reading skills of school-aged ELLs. Fourteen experimental studies with reported outcomes for pre-test and post-test were selected, and four moderator variables (group size, intensity of the intervention, student risk status, and type of intervention) were explored to explain differences in the intervention effects. The results of the random effects analysis showed that the reading interventions had a large, positive effect on ELLs’ real word (g = 1.07), nonword (g = 1.00), and combined real word and nonword (g = 1.15) reading scores. Results also suggested that some reading interventions were more effective than others. We found differences in effectiveness related to the group size and the length of the intervention in the real word reading analysis, but more research into potential moderators is warranted. Overall, our findings suggest that reading interventions for ELLs produce significant effects, and should not be delayed until these students have reached a certain level of oral English proficiency. Such interventions are likely an important first step in closing the achievement gap between ELLs and their English-speaking peers.
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