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Preventing Early Reading Failure With One-To-One Tutoring: A Review of Five Programs

Wasik, B. A., & Slavin, R. E | Reading Research Quarterly, 28, 179-200., 1993

Wasik and Slavin considered the effectiveness of five tutorial programs from two perspectives: empirical and pragmatic. The authors reviewed quantitative and qualitative research on Reading Recovery, Success for All, Prevention of Learning Disabilities, Wallach Tutoring Program, and Programmed Tutorial Reading.


The authors’ general conclusions across programs were these:

  • Programs with the most comprehensive models of reading – the most complete instructional interventions – have greater impact than programs addressing only a few components of the reading process, and Reading Recovery and Success for All include several components.
  • Using tutors is not enough; the content of the program and the instructional delivery may be important variables.
  • Using certified teachers obtains substantially better results than using paraprofessionals.


The authors’ specific conclusions about Reading Recovery included these:

  • Reading Recovery brings the learning of many of the lowest-achieving students up to average-achieving peers.
  • Effects of Reading Recovery are impressive at the end of the implementation year, and effects are maintained for at least 2 years.
  • Evaluation results on lasting effects are positive but complex.
  • Only Reading Recovery has attempted to assess implementation and its effect on outcome data.


Although the authors raised some methodological issues about Reading Recovery research and about students served, they concluded that the rapidly expanding use of Reading Recovery throughout the United States shows that the program is practical to use.


This abstract first appeared in What Evidence Says About Reading Recovery. (2002). Columbus, OH: Reading Recovery Council of North America.

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