Responsive Feedback

 
The only intervention these students received was the use of Responsive Feedback as they read. Despite their apparent simplicity, these strategies are very effective at raising achievement.
 

Student A

Student A was reading 30 months behind his chronological age at assessment. After less than four months on Responsive Feedback, he made gains of 36 months. After completing the intervention, these gains steadily increased over the following two years, so that 28 months after graduating from the programme he was reading above his chronological age, having made a gain of five years.

 

Student B

This student was reading 48 months behind her chronological age at assessment. She was a hesitant reader who was lacking in confidence. After nine months of the intervention, she had gained five years, had increased in confidence, and was reading more fluently. When post-tested fourteen months later, she was reading above her chronological age, having gained seven years in total.

 

Student C

Student C began the intervention reading more than 42 months behind his chronological age. He was very unmotivated about learning in general and reading in particular. After three months he had made 4½ years’ progress. His reading level continued to improve post-intervention: he had gained 5½ years in total when post-tested 20 months after completion of the intervention.

 

Student D

This student was reading 36 months behind his chronological age at first assessment and was 42 months behind by his 2nd assessment — he had been on a waiting list and had to wait for a place to become available. Despite difficulties with truancy, he gained 42 months over eight months’ teaching. The intervention was discontinued in November because of absconding from classes and non-attendance since July. At this point he was reading within 2 years of his chronological age. When post-tested four months after his last lesson, he had made a total gain of 5½ years.

 

Conclusion

The only intervention these students received was the use of Responsive Feedback as they read. Despite their apparent simplicity, these strategies are very effective at raising achievement. I have used them as the only strategy for students who are reading between two and four years behind their chronological age, and have also incorporated them into the Thinking Reading programme. 

The other important and obvious conclusion is that there is nothing wrong with the intelligence of these children. Their ability to improve so quickly is evidence that they are bright and able to learn. What they needed was systematic instruction that taught them the skills they needed to catch up. Once this was addressed, their reading improved so that they rapidly caught up with their peers.