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READ 180 is a reading intervention program, utilizing adaptive technology, in wide use by students in Grades 4–12 who read at least two years below grade level. It was created by Scholastic Corporation. In 2011, Scholastic released its newest version, READ 180 Next Generation, which has been fully aligned to meet the demands of the Common Core State Standards Initiative. Scholastic sold READ 180 to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt in 2015.
READ 180 was founded in 1985 by Ted Hasselbring and members of the Cognition and Technology Group at Vanderbilt University. With a grant from the United States Department of Education’s Office of Special Education, Dr. Hasselbring developed software that used student performance data to individualize and differentiate the path of computerized reading instruction. This software became the prototype for the READ 180 program.
Between 1994 and 1998, Dr. Hasselbring and his team put their work to the test in Orange County, Florida. The Orange County Literacy Project used this READ 180 prototype with more than 10,000 struggling students. The dramatic results Orange County public schools experienced were documented in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. These results led Scholastic to partner with Orange County public schools and Vanderbilt University to license the software, and to launch READ 180.
After the initial launch of READ 180, Scholastic released Enterprise Edition in 2006 in collaboration with Dr. Kevin Feldman and Dr. Kate Kinsella. READ 180 Enterprise Edition featured the READ 180 rBook, structured engagement routines for English language learners, and the Scholastic Achievement Manager (SAM).
What is READ 180?
READ 180 is a reading program with the goal of providing differentiated instruction for a diverse classroom. The program focuses on reading components including, but not limited to phonemic awareness, phonological awareness, fluency, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. READ 180 is specifically meant for struggling readers, students who have been classified as reading below grade-level. The program can be used with all students but has been shown to work best with special education students and students classified as English Language Learners. READ 180 gives these students they tools they will need to improve their reading performance and set them on the path to become successful readers.
When students struggle with reading, they require a balanced literacy program. Balanced literacy creates an even balance between the time that is devoted to activities based on skills, like phonemic awareness and phonics, and activities based on literature, like making an inference. READ 180 is one of the many effective balanced literacy programs that can be used to help students improve their reading skills.
Teachers begin and end each class session with whole-group instruction, focusing on vocabulary, read aloud, and a specific comprehension skill (such as key ideas or inferences). Next students break into one of three rotations: small-group, student application, and independent reading. In the small group, the teacher leads students in small-group instruction, using the READ 180 text called the ReaL Book. During this time, the teacher monitors reading and differentiates instruction based on students’ needs. While this occurs, other students work independently in the READ 180 student application on computers. The software leads students through six Learning Zones: the Explore Zone, the Reading Zone, the Fluency Zone, the Language Zone, the Writing Zone, and the Success Zone. The final rotation asks students to read independently. Students may select from the READ 180 paperback library or digital library.
The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) is a technology-based universal screener and progress monitor. SRI is used to generate a Lexile, or readability level, for each student. The purpose of administering the SRI is to determine if the student is a candidate for intervention. SRI is software that “assesses students’ reading levels, tracks students’ growth over time, and helps guide instruction according to students’ needs.”
Effectiveness of READ 180
As a balanced reading program, READ 180 strives to be an effective literacy program in order to work in all school settings. Through many experiments and studies, that efficacy has been studied. One such study was conducted in Sierra Leone. This study was done because students were struggling with reading, a struggle that only increased after schools shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. After schools returned to in-person learning in Sierra Leone, schools began using READ 180. In the study conducted, researchers found that a significant improvement was observed after four weeks, specifically showing a decrease in reading mistakes in elementary school students. The study also stressed a need for schools in Sierra Leone to continue to use READ 180 to allow students to continue to improve.
Another study that was conducted in 2010 focused on a smaller group of students, specifically four English Language Learners in eighth graders. This study looked at the efficacy of READ 180 in regards to its response to students cultural needs as well as their reading needs. While the study looks specifically at the texts used in READ 180 and if they are culturally responsive, as that according to the study is important in capturing the attention of students who have immigrated to a new country, it also looks at the successes of READ 180. The study finds that program did in fact help students improve, specifically with their reading comprehension.
Lang, et. al conducted another study regarding READ 180 in 2009. This study explored the effectiveness of reading intervention programs that could be categorized as intensive. The study lasted for a year and looked at twelve hundred ninth-grade students who were in high-risk and moderated-risk groups. The study assigned these students one of four different reading intervention programs. One of those was READ 180, which was assigned to twenty-five percent of the participants. Looking at the results from those students, researchers found an increase in scores on standardized tests, especially for the students classified as moderate-risk. The study also found that READ 180 helped improve students' reading comprehension, as well as help them build fluency.
Another study conducted in 2008 looked at finding the best effective reading program through specific evidence-based research. The study looked at many different programs as well, READ 180 being one that they chose to research. The study looked at data collected from students of all ages using READ 180, as it can be used in elementary school through high school. The study noted that students showed improvement in reading thanks to READ 180. Part of this is due to the fact that students are receiving more reading instruction, as READ 180 is to be taught in ninety minute class periods, which is longer than the average student receives for reading instruction. The study also found that READ 180 is more successful for middle school and high school students.
- Houghton Mifflin Harcourt to Acquire Scholastic’s Educational Technology and Services Business for $575 Million
- A PDF READ 180: A Heritage of Research.
- A PDF An Alignment Guide.
- Kim, James S.; Capotosto, Lauren; Hartry, Ardice; Fitzgerald, Robert (June 2011). "Can a Mixed-Method Literacy Intervention Improve the Reading Achievement of Low-Performing Elementary School Students in an After-School Program?: Results From a Randomized Controlled Trial of READ 180 Enterprise". Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis. 33 (2): 183–201. doi:10.3102/0162373711399148. ISSN 0162-3737. S2CID 29054551.
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- Lombardi, Daniel; Behrman, Edward H. (December 2016). "Balanced Literacy and the underperforming English learner in high school". Reading Improvement. 53 (4): 165–174.
- Thulla, Philip F. Y.; Moriba, Samba; Adom, Dickson; Mensah-Gborie, Madiana N. S. (2022-07-01). "The Rate of Reading Poverty After the COVID-19 Pandemic School Shutdown and Specific Intervention Strategies for Lower Primary School Pupils in the Southern Province and Western Area of Sierra Leone". Journal of Language Teaching and Research. 13 (4): 689–696. doi:10.17507/jltr.1304.01. ISSN 2053-0684. S2CID 250230054.
- Wu, Chiu-hui; Coady, Maria R. (July 2010). "'The United States is America?': a cultural perspective on READ 180 materials". Language, Culture and Curriculum. 23 (2): 153–165. doi:10.1080/07908318.2010.494732. ISSN 0790-8318. S2CID 144873511.
- Lang, Laura; Torgesen, Joseph; Vogel, William; Chanter, Carol; Lefsky, Evan; Petscher, Yaacov (2009-04-07). "Exploring the Relative Effectiveness of Reading Interventions for High School Students". Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness. 2 (2): 149–175. doi:10.1080/19345740802641535. ISSN 1934-5747. S2CID 56196321.
- Slavin, Robert E.; Cheung, Alan; Groff, Cynthia; Lake, Cynthia (July 2008). "Effective Reading Programs for Middle and High Schools: A Best-Evidence Synthesis". Reading Research Quarterly. 43 (3): 290–322. doi:10.1598/RRQ.43.3.4.