The PHAST Reading Program is designed to support struggling readers in middle school. The program combines instruction in phonological skills and strategies to build word identification accuracy. It also incorporates motivational practices due to the low motivation associated with struggling readers.
A recent study by Canadian and American researchers evaluated the effects of PHAST Reading on two groups: one addressing comprehension and one addressing fluency. The study was conducted in the US and Canada, and randomly assigned 514 struggling readers in grades 6, 7 and 8 to the PHAST Reading Comprehension (n = 217), PHAST Reading Fluency (n = 216) or the control group (n = 81). The interventions were delivered in pull-out sessions in student groups of 4 to 8.
After almost one year of intervention, results comparing PHAST Reading (the two groups together) to the control group showed that:
- There were larger effects for foundational reading skills than for reading comprehension.
- Regarding comprehension measures, significant effects were found on Woodcock Johnson Passage Comprehension (ES = +0.36) but not on SRI Comprehension (ES = +0.03) nor WJ Oral Comprehension (ES = -0.06).
- Effect sizes for the measures related to timed word identification and fluency were substantial (Woodcock Johnson (WJ-III) Word Identification: ES = +0.56; WJ-III Reading Fluency: ES =+ 0.26; TOWRE Sight Word Reading: ES = +0.22).
- A large effect size was observed for Woodcock Johnson Word Attack (ES = +0.78) and TOWRE Phonemic Decoding Efficiency (ES = +0.36).
- Finally, on the Comprehensive Tests of Phonological Processing (CTOPP) a significant effect size was found for the Blending Words subtest (ES = +0.27) and a non-significant negative effect on a Phoneme Reversal subtest (ES = -0.12).
- For all outcomes, no significant differences were observed between the two different types of intervention, PHAST Fluency and PHAST Comprehension.
Source:Lovett, M. W., Frijters, J. C., Steinbach, K. A., Sevcik, R. A., & Morris, R. D. (2020). Effective intervention for adolescents with reading disabilities: Combining reading and motivational remediation to improve outcomes. Journal of Educational Psychology. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1037/edu0000639