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Elementary students running fast - accelerate reading - Kids Read Now

Brakes Off After Winter Break: High Effect Sizes Accelerate Reading – Part 1 of 6

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

After hitting the winter brakes, now it’s time to accelerate reading.

When you signed off after reading our final blog article last year, we hope you felt empowered, informed, and ready for some well-deserved R&R.

And if you felt exhausted, overwhelmed, and ready for a long winter’s nap, that’s OK too! We totally get it.

Depending on where you live, the roads may still be covered in snow, but your schools can’t afford to let up on the gas. You know all too well what winter benchmark assessments are just around the corner.

There’s a palpable sense of urgency among educators and literacy leaders. Maybe last fall’s reading scores were a wake-up call, or maybe yours were more like a siren blaring across your district.

Either way, you’re not alone, and it’s not too late.

John Hattie: “Possibly the world’s most influential education academic”

Professor John Hattie - Accelerate Reading - Kids Read Now

“It didn’t make sense to me that everybody had evidence and could claim they were right… I started wondering if I could use [meta-analysis] to put every educational intervention on a scale and measure them against each other.”
– Professor John Hattie

When tricky pedagogical decisions arise, as you may have done before, you can turn to the work of John Hattie. Hattie’s groundbreaking meta-analyses represent more than 2,100 meta-studies of over 300 million students worldwide.

Professor and education researcher John Hattie is Laureate Professor at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education at the University of Melbourne and Chair of the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.

Hattie is well known for his books Visible Learning and Visible Learning for teachers. Dubbed teaching’s “holy grail” by the Times Educational Supplement (TES), Visible Learning represents 25 years of research about what works best for learning. Since then, he has published 18 books on understanding and applying the Visible Learning research.

He is particularly interested in research about performance indicators, measurement models, and teacher evaluation. To that end, he has published over 1,000 papers, supervised 200 thesis students, and written 31 books total.

Pick the right key for the right lock to accelerate reading

Hattie’s hard-hitting evidence could be just what you need to ensure you get the maximum return (accelerated reading progress) on your investment (dwindling education budgets and resources).

Hattie’s quest to pull out the most impactful variables led him to calculate an “effect size” for each, gauging their influence on student learning against a benchmark, while considering implementation costs.

Not convinced? Here’s how:

Effect Size Barometer

Effect Size Barometer - Accelerate Reading - Kids Read Now

Source: https://www.visiblelearning.com/content/visible-learning-research

Positive effect sizes indicate desired outcomes, such as increased reading proficiency. You can learn more about effect size and statistical significance here.

In Visible Learning, the average effect size of 0.40 signifies a year’s growth per year of schooling for a student. It’s often conceptualized as a barometer, where 0.40 sits at the top with the Zone of Desired Effects to its right.

For education leaders, understanding the practical significance of a program’s effect size is crucial. This involves both comparing it with other programs targeting the same outcome, and assessing how it aligns with the expected growth or change in the absence of the program.

If something you’re considering carries an effect size above 0.40, then you can bet it’s likely worth your time and resources.

The effect size is just a starting point — an overall filter for results and possibilities. Emphatically, it’s about the fit. It’s important to choose the right key for the right lock. When it comes to accelerating reading progress, we’ve done that for you!

You can’t afford to ignore these 5 ways to accelerate reading

Hattie’s meta-analyses address factors that often fall by the wayside. It’s understandable with so much to do and so little time. But with so much ground to make up, students can’t afford to miss any “strand” of the Reading Rope.

We can do better. Visible Learning has the evidence and Kids Read Now has the tools to maximize comprehension, fluency, independent reading, caregiver involvement, and student motivation.

By weaving together Hattie’s findings with the strengths of the Kids Read Now program, we have a real shot at not just improving reading scores but at fostering enthusiastic, lifelong readers.

“Kids Read Now offers consistent and replicable positive impacts and is a model that can be scaled.”

Dr. Geoffrey D. Borman led research into the effects of Kids Read Now. A leader in education research, Dr. Borman is a policy analyst with a focus on educational outcomes, education policy, and education inequality.

Borman Report - Accelerate Reading - Kids Read Now

“Potential to accelerate” can take students from lagging to leading

Winter assessments feeling less scary yet?

Let’s take a closer look at Kids Read Now’s 5 major categories of influences. Each was carefully analyzed and selected for its above-average effect size (> 0.4), “potential to accelerate” reading, and low-lift, low-cost implementation.

Imagine each of these factors as a lever that can catapult students from lagging to leading in their reading journey. Understanding and investing in these areas means making every dollar count towards maximum educational impact.


📚 What is it?

🎯 Why is it essential for successful reading?


📚 What is it?

🎯 Why is it essential for successful reading?

Number 3 - Accelerate Reading - Kids Read Now

Independent Practice

71% of 3rd-5th graders’ reading levels increased!

At Gregg School, where we have participated for three years, we were pleasantly surprised to discover that 71% of our students grew one or more reading levels from June to September and 26% remained the same. This is an incredible accomplishment…

“…and we attribute the fact that 97% of our returning 3rd-5th grade readers maintained or grew their skills over the summer break to their participation in the Kids Read Now program!”

Ann Collins, Principal, Hugh Gregg Elementary - Kids Read Now

Caregiver Involvement


In the next article, you can dig even deeper into exactly how and to what extent these 5 key components accelerate reading.

Question: How does John Hattie’s research align with the critical components of successful reading in K-5 education?

Answer: John Hattie’s meta-analyses emphasize the significance of student-centered approaches, which align seamlessly with our five critical components of successful reading: comprehension, fluency, independent practice, parent/caregiver involvement, and motivation/engagement. These evidence-backed

Question: What is the significance of the d = 0.40 hinge point in Visible Learning research?

Answer: In Visible Learning, the d = 0.40 hinge point is used as a benchmark to evaluate the effectiveness of various educational strategies. It represents the mean average effect size across all studied influences, suggesting that strategies above this threshold are likely to be more effective in enhancing student achievement.

Question: Should the d = 0.40 hinge point be the sole factor in choosing educational strategies?

Answer: While the d = 0.40 hinge point is a useful guideline, it shouldn’t be the only factor considered when choosing educational strategies. The effectiveness of an intervention can vary based on the specific outcome (like vocabulary or comprehension), the cost, the challenge of implementation, and other contextual factors. Local knowledge and context-specific considerations are crucial.

Question: Why is motivation considered essential for successful reading?

Answer: Motivation is the driving force that influences students to pick up and read a text actively and persistently. Kids Read Now fosters this by letting students choose their own books that align with their interests and preferences, which is proven to boost engagement and contributes to a lifelong love of reading.

Question: How can caregiver involvement make a significant difference in a child’s literacy development?

Answer: When caregivers engagement in reading creates a more cohesive learning environment, reinforces literacy skills, and models a mindset The program involves your parents and guardians by providing them with tools and resources to support their child’s reading, including reading guides, tips for encouraging reading at home, and ways to engage with the self-selected books.

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