A Quasiexperimental Evaluation of Two Versions of First-Grade PALS: One With and One Without Repeated Reading

Douglas Fuchs, Eunsoo Cho, Jessica R. Toste, Lynn S. Fuchs, Jennifer K. Gilbert, Kristen L. McMaster, Ebba Svenson, Anneke Thompson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


We attempted to strengthen an evidence-based, peer-mediated, first-grade reading program (First Grade Peer-Assisted Learning Strategies [PALS]) by modestly revising its content and adding a repeated-reading (RR) component. In a cluster-randomized trial, we conducted a component analysis of the revised program by creating two versions of it. “PALS+Fluency” represented the modified program with an RR component, whereas “PALS-Only” represented the same program without RR. We tested the efficacy of the two PALS versions together against controls and against each other to determine if peer-mediated RR had “value added.” With moderator analyses, we further explored whether the PALS programs benefited weaker and stronger readers alike. Thirty-three first-grade classroom teachers (and 491 students) from eight urban schools were randomly assigned to the three study groups within their schools. The PALS-Only and PALS+Fluency programs ran for 22 weeks. Multilevel modeling showed that the combined effects of the two PALS programs on phonological awareness (PA), word reading, and reading fluency were superior to those of controls. Students’ pretreatment PA moderated combined program effects on PA and word reading, indicating stronger effects for students with weaker PA. PALS-Only students improved PA skills (over PALS+Fluency students) with stronger effects for those with weaker pretreatment PA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-162
Number of pages22
JournalExceptional children
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 29 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported in part by Grant No. H324V980001 (Center on Accelerating Student Learning) from the Office of Special Education Programs, U.S. Department of Education. Nothing in this article necessarily reflects the positions or policies of the agency, and no endorsement by it should be inferred. We thank teachers and administrators of the Metro-Nashville Public Schools for their sustained interest in our research. Without their support, this and related work would not have been possible. We acknowledge a possible conflict of interest. We distribute (at cost) a teacher manual for the program evaluated in this article.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2020.


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