Posted on August 5, 2021
Categories: effective instruction, equity, literacy, reading specialists

In 2019-20, the School District of Philadelphia (SDP) placed certified Reading Specialists in 38 schools. Reading Specialists were primarily responsible for providing additional support to K-3 students reading below grade level. Typically, Reading Specialists taught daily small-group lessons to address student deficits in reading, writing, phonics, and word study.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, school buildings closed and SDP transitioned to digital learning in March 2020. Although Reading Specialists continued to support their students virtually, spring student assessment data was not collected. Thus, this brief summarizes the performance of students who received support from a Reading Specialist before the transition to digital learning and support, from October 2019 (fall) to February 2020 (winter).

Key findings include:

  • Reading Specialists served about 1,600 students at 38 schools. Nearly all of these students required intensive intervention according to their fall aimswebPlus assessment.
  • Kindergarten students saw the highest increase in average national percentile rank (NPR) between the fall and winter aimswebPlus assessments.
  • Kindergarteners and first-graders who worked with a Reading Specialist had the highest aimswebPlus Rate of Improvement (ROI) from fall to winter.

Use the button to download the 12-page brief.