UURC Research - Empirical Studies

In terms of actual empirical evidence, a robust set of studies undergirds UURC basic intervention models: Early StepsSM, Next StepsSM, and Higher StepsSM, as well as assessment instruments. Studies were conducted with at-risk and struggling readers from Title I schools in diverse settings and have been published in rigorous, peer-reviewed research journals (see references below).

All studies were scientific quasi-experiments, and as such, evaluated the effectiveness of the intervention program under study through comparison to a matched control group. Student reading achievement was evaluated before intervention commenced and at its conclusion nine months later. Measures included norm and criterion referenced standardized instruments (i.e., Woodcock Reading Mastery: Word Attack and Passage Comprehension, 1987; UURC Reading Level Assessment, UURC Word Recognition Automaticity, and UURC Developmental Spelling) instruments.

To summarize across studies, at-risk first graders who received 95 sessions of Early StepsSM finished the school year averaging between primer and end-of-grade 1 reading level, while their control peers finished on pre-primer after receiving 135 sessions of standard Title I intervention. Struggling readers who received Next StepsSM intervention achieved a year's growth in reading ability in an average of 45 intervention sessions. Their control peers - who received standard Title I intervention - achieved one-half year's growth in over 100 sessions. In an investigation of the impact of group size on student performance, results indicated that there was not a significant advantage for 1-to1 over 1:3. This finding has paved the way for UURC professional development in small group intervention.

References for Empirical Studies

Brown, K.J., Fields, M., & Craig, G. (2014, July). At-Risk Beginning Readers: Implications for Tier II Economies of Scale. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Santa Fe, NM. [In PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Fields, M., Craig, G.T., & Morris, D. (2008, July). Maintaining the Power of One-on-One in a Group of Three: Next Steps Triads. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Asheville, NC. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Fields, M., & Morris, D. (2006, December). Valid, Reliable & Efficient: A Psychometric Evaluation of "Flash" Word Recognition and "NSSI" Passage Reading Measures. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Reading Forum, Sanibel, FL. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Morris, D., & Fields, M.K. (2005). Intervention after grade one: Serving increased numbers of struggling readers effectively. Journal of Literacy Research, 37 (1), 61-94.

Brown, K.J., Morris, D., Fields, M., Lowe, S., Robertson, J., Reynolds, V., Skidmore, D., Van Gorder, D., & Weinstein, C. (2002, June). The Virginia Intervention Model Expands in the West: What Have We Learned? What Do We Still Need to Know? Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Reading Forum, Sanibel Island, FL. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Morris, D., Fields, M., Lowe, S., Skidmore, D. Van Gorder, D., & Weinstein, C. (2002, June). Reading Intervention After Grade 1: Serving Maximum Numbers of Struggling Readers Effectively. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the National Reading Conference, Miami, Florida. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Morris, D., Fields, M., Lowe, S., Skidmore, D. Van Gorder, D., Weinstein, C., Robertson, J., & Brock,U. (2003, June). The Virginia Intervention Model: Evaluating its effectiveness for struggling readers who speak English as a second language. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Boulder, CO. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Reynolds, V., Lowe, S., Skidmore, D., Van Gorder, D., Patillo, S., Weinstein, C., World, J., & Morris, A. (2000, July). Early Steps intervention in schools with explicit code instruction: Is it effective? Does isolated phonological awareness instruction increase effectiveness? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Stockholm, Sweden. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J., Fields, M., Lowe, S., Skidmore, D. Van Gorder, D., & Weinstein, C. (2001, June). The benefits of intervention for at-risk 1st graders: What happens in 2nd grade? Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Boulder, CO.

Craig, G.T., Brown, K.J., Fields, M., & Morris, D. (2009, July). Reliability and Validity of the Reading Level Assessment and the "Flash" Word Recognition Automaticity Measure Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Berlin. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Frye, B., Trathen, W., Olson, G., & Schalgal, R. (2002, December). Reliability measuring students' independent and instructional reading levels: A case for automaticity of word recognition (WRI word flash). Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Reading Forum.

Invernizzi, M., Rosemary, C., Juel, C., & Richards, H.C. (1997). At-risk readers and community volunteers: A 3-year perspective. Scientific Studies in Reading, 1 (3), 277-300.

Kuhn, M.R., Schwanenflugel, P.J., Morris, R.D., Morrow, L.M., Woo, D.G., Meisinger, E.B., Sevcik, R.A., Bradley, B.A., & Stahl, S.A. (2006). Teaching Children to Become Fluent and Automatic Readers. Journal of Literacy Research, 38 (4), 357-387.
[Annotated Abstract]

Mathes, P.G., Denton, C.A., Fletcher, J.M., Anthony, J.L., Francis, D.J. & Schatschneider, C. (2005). The effects of theoretically different instruction and student characteristics on the skills of struggling readers. Reading Research Quarterly, 140 (2), 148-182.

Morris, D., Bloodgood, J.W., Lomax, R.G., & Perney, J. (2003). Developmental steps in learning to read: A longitudinal study in kindergarten and first grade. Reading Research Quarterly, 38 (3), 302-328.

Morris, D., Shaw, B., & Perney, J. (1990). Helping low readers in grades 2 and 3: An after-school volunteer tutoring program. Elementary School Journal, 91 (2), 133-150.

Morris, D., Tyner, B., & Perney, J. (2000). Early Steps: Replicating the effects of a first-grade reading intervention program. Journal of Educational Psychology, 92 (4), 681-693.

Palmer, L., Trathen, W., Olson, G., & Schlagal, R. (2002, December). Measuring students' independent reading levels: Psychometric properties of developmental spelling tests and informal reading inventories. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Reading Forum, Sanibel, FL.

Santa, C., & Hoien, T. (1999). An assessment of Early Steps: A program for early intervention of reading problems. Reading Research Quarterly, 34 (1), 54-79.

Woodcock, R.W. (1987). Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests - Revised (Form G). Allen, TX, American Guidance Service.

Presentations at Public Conferences

Brown, K.J. (2013, September). Making Tier I Text accessible: For Improved Fluency & Comprehension. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Utah Council of the International Reading Association, Salt Lake City, UT. [PowerPoint format.]
[Handout 1]    [Handout 2]

Fields, M., Brown, K.J., & Craig, G. (2013, August). Maintaining the Power of One-on-One in a Group of Four: Early Steps Quads. Paper presented at the annual trainer retreat of the University of Utah Reading Clinic, Murray, UT. [PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J. (2012, September). Neutralizing Pendulum Swings: What Reading Teachers Can Do. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Utah Council of the International Reading Association, Ogden, UT. [PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J.(2007, March 2) Reading Words: The Instructional Road to Automaticity Presentation at the Utah Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in Salt Lake City, UT. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J. (2006, November). What kind of intervention for whom, and when?: Responses of Engligh language learners to intervention. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Utah Council of the International Reading Association, Salt Lake City, UT. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J.(2006, March 2) What should I say when they get stuck on a word? Presentation at the Utah Branch of the International Dyslexia Association in Sandy, UT. [Also in PowerPoint format.]

Brown, K.J.(2004, June 7) Who are struggling readers and what do they need? [Outline]. Keynoyte Speech in Vernal, UT. [Also as full PowerPoint.]