Raising a Reader home-based reading programme is building evidence base

Raising a Reader (RAR) is an early literacy programme that uses parent involvement in reading at home to promote early reading skills. The aim is to help families develop, practise, and sustain home literacy routines. RAR is used by 130,000 children across 34 US states.

A report by ChildTrends discusses Raising a Reader’s current evidence base and some lessons for the field. It describes how the programme has demonstrated positive effects in several small-scale independent evaluations. The next step is a large-scale randomised control trial (RCT), with ChildTrends as independent evaluator.

Among the existing studies of Raising a Reader is an RCT, results of which were published in Early Education and Development. The RCT involved 91 preschool classrooms in Texas that were randomly assigned to the Texas Early Education Model (TEEM) (which acted as the control); TEEM plus RAR; or TEEM plus RAR augmented by monthly meetings providing parental instruction in shared reading strategies (“Family Nights”).

The study found that Raising a Reader alone had “essentially no impact” but when combined with the Family Nights there was evidence of significant gains in children’s school readiness. The authors conclude that parent training in shared reading practices appears to be necessary for children to benefit from programmes that aim to enrich the home literacy environment.

Source: Connecting the Dots: Raising A Reader Builds Evidence Base for its Parent Engagement and Early Literacy Program (2014), Child Trends.

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