Reading intervention with K–4 struggling readers: The effect of using minimally trained tutors in one inner -city public school

Tammy Lipsey, Tennessee State University


The purpose of this quasi-experimental study was to evaluate the effectiveness of an early reading intervention method designed for students who were in need of extra help in reading. The early reading intervention (tutoring) was conducted for Kindergarten through fourth grade students. Specifically, this dissertation investigated the question: To what extent did tutoring by minimally trained tutors in best practices effect the reading growth of children at-risk of reading failure in grades K–4 as measured by changes in instructional levels on a running record? Minimally trained college students delivered the one-to-one tutoring. The tutors were pre-service and in-service teacher education students enrolled in methods courses at the university. Each child accepted into the program was tutored for a minimum of eight weeks. The effect of the tutoring was assessed with a running record assessment and a retelling checklist to examine comprehension growth. In the study, a reading intervention lesson was designed and implemented by minimally trained tutors under the supervision of a university reading professor who provided adjustments to the lesson based on the assessed needs of each “at risk” struggling student. Pre-service teachers provided positive responses in terms of broadening their reading knowledge gained in reading instruction and reading intervention for at-risk readers. The central finding of the study suggests that tutoring, by minimally trained college students using a set lesson format based in best practices, is effective as an early intervention for struggling readers. Furthermore, a minimum number of lessons may be critical in achieving a meaningful leap in reading level. Additionally, the results also suggested that repeated retellings as an instructional tool improve comprehension.

Subject Area

Elementary education|Literacy|Reading instruction|Curriculum development

Recommended Citation

Tammy Lipsey, "Reading intervention with K–4 struggling readers: The effect of using minimally trained tutors in one inner -city public school" (2010). ETD Collection for Tennessee State University. Paper AAI3404159.