Scholastic's Read 180 program
The Read 180 program is designed for grades 4-12 students who are performing below the proficient level on standards-based tests. Special Education and ELL students have additional materials to meet their special needs. Spanish language support is also available.
READ 180 is a comprehensive reading intervention program designed to meet the needs of students in elementary through high school whose reading achievement is below the proficient level. Three Stages of Instruction include Stage A targeting elementary students, Stage B targeting middle school students, and Stage C targeting high school students. Read 180 is based on the work of Dr. Ted Hasselbring at Vanderbilt and Janet Allen, who writes extensively on teaching. The instructional design of the program is based on the use of technology to enhance learning for students with mild disabilities.
Philosophy: The program is based on research on reading comprehension and reading development, as well as the use of technology to enhance learning in students with mild disabilities and those who are at-risk of school failure.
Instructional focus: Elements of phonics (not comprehensive phonics instruction), fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension are incorporated in various degrees. While the class takes place within the ELA program, topics and readings connect with general curriculum topics in other content areas.
Instructional components: A self-paced computer program is the center of the approach. The program is based on a 90-minute instructional model that begins and ends with whole group direct instruction. The multi-part instructional model includes 1) 20 minutes of whole-class direct instruction in skills such as word analysis, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension; 2) 20 minutes of diagnostically-informed instruction in a small group with the teacher at a "teacher station;" 3) 20 minutes of independent software use, focused on individual skill practice; 4) 20 minutes of modeled and independent reading from paperbacks and/or audiobooks; and then 5) a 10-minute whole-class wrap-up. The room is set-up to facilitate rotations of students from computers to small group instruction to independent reading.
The sequence at the computer station has three Zones: the Reading Zone, Word Zone, and Spelling Zone. The student begins in the Reading Zone by watching a video to build background knowledge of a topic. The student then reads a related short text passage at his pre-tested reading level. The passage is constructed to have phonics exemplars, sample spelling patterns, high frequency words, and content words that fit the student’s reading level. "Power words" are pronounced, spelled, defined, broken into parts, and translated into Spanish if necessary, and decoding tips are supplied. Comprehension questions follow. The Word Zone uses several word-recognition activities intended to target automaticity and fluency. The Spelling Zone assesses the students’ knowledge of words from the previous passage and focuses on spelling concepts. The Success Zone provides comprehension practice in short text activities.
Various reading skills and elements are integrated throughout the computer activities. For example, phonics elements are presents in some of the vocabulary instruction. Students can build their fluency by reading along with the computer audio at various rates and then practice reading at various rates without the audio support. READ 180 teaches vocabulary directly before being read a passage. It teaches vocabulary indirectly during reading and spelling activities.
Setting: READ 180 classes are limited to 18 students who take this as class instead of or in addition to ELA.
Materials:Software includes videos that emphasize content area based topics. They are designed to motivate students and build background for reading. Audio books offer struggling readers the opportunity to develop good reading skills and habits while enjoying authentic grade-level literature. Paperbacks present students with age-appropriate, relevant books at different reading levels. The library of print, video, and audio texts is organized around Lexile reading levels. The materials provide lesson plans for teachers and include a library of short, easy books that poor readers can read on their own. Students can read while listening to an audiotape featuring the voices of a narrator as well as a reading coach who pops in with comments and questions about the texts.
Alignment with standards: The program is aligned with No Child Left Behind in providing supplemental services for low-performing students.
The Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI) is used to place students and monitor progress. The software tracks the individual student’s results on each of the computer drills. Assessment is built into each of the skills activities. A Scholastic Management Suite provides immediate, continuous feedback to teachers for progress monitoring on skills activity results. The program offers six different categories of reports, including progress, diagnostic, instructional planning,, problem alerts, school-to-home, and management reports. Ongoing assessment is an integral part of the program. This assessment is done almost exclusively via the READ 180 software, which then adjusts the level of instruction accordingly.
This component is included with the purchase of the curriculum and consists of two days of training and a Scholastic Read online reading course. Ongoing assistance and coaching is available for teachers at an extra cost. An administrator’s training includes a program overview and training in how to support teachers in the READ 180 classroom. Teachers have access to online courses as well as an online community, where they can share best practices and tips for effective implementation.
A number of studies of the program have shown positive gains, although these were not randomized control group designs and so are not conclusive. An outside organization, Interactive Inc., conducted an efficacy study on behalf of the Great City Schools and Scholastic with students using READ 180 in Boston, Dallas, and Columbus. Students in the READ 180 group showed significantly greater reading gains than a control group. Individual school districts have also conducted evaluations, although not using randomized designs. In Des Moines, for example, a study of 300 special education students using READ 180 found that students made significant pre/post gains, and 18% of them placed out of special education services for reading after a year of using READ 180.
$30,000 per school. School-wide use is required. Supplemental materials are available at additional costs. In order to purchase series B materials, schools must have a series B license. Onsite technical assistance, Scholastic Read Online courses, and additional professional development require additional fees. Over 2000 schools were using READ 180 nationwide as of 2003.
Quality teen fiction, relevant to students’ lives, should be the point of entry with reluctant, struggling readers. It is important for students to experience the sense of accomplishment that finishing a book can bring, and how much fun it can be to escape reality by getting involved in a great book. Research has shown that when students interact with fiction and learn to love great books, they can become lifelong learners.