Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy

No 2019:7: A multi-sensory tutoring program for students at-risk of reading difficultiesa. Evidence from a randomized field experiment.

Martin Bøg (), Jens Dietrichson () and Anna Aldenius Isaksson ()
Additional contact information
Martin Bøg: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Jens Dietrichson: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Anna Aldenius Isaksson: IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, Postal: Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy, P O Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: Although reading is a fundamental skill, many students leave school without being proficient readers. We examine a literacy program targeting students most at-risk of reading difficulties in kindergarten and first grade. The program includes multi-sensory learning methods, which focus on phonological awareness and phonics and are delivered in a one-to-one or one-to-two tutoring setting. Using a randomized field experiment with 161 students in 12 Swedish schools, we find large positive effects on our two primary outcomes measures: a standardized test of decoding and a standardized test of letter knowledge. We also find positive effects on measures of phonological awareness and self-efficacy and small and statistically insignificant effects on measures of enjoyment and motivation. The program compares favorably to similar programs in terms of cost-effectiveness.

Keywords: phonological awareness; phonics; tutoring; multi-sensory; kindergarten; first grade; Sweden

JEL-codes: I00; I20; I24; J24; Z18

60 pages, April 17, 2019

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