Research Insights: Can Struggling Primary School Readers Improve Their Reading through Targeted Remedial Interventions?

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Nov 2020
This paper assesses the effectiveness of an intervention aimed at improving the reading skills of struggling third-grade students in Colombia. In a series of randomized experiments, students participated in remedial tutorials conducted in small groups during school hours. Trained instructors used structured pedagogical materials that can be easily scaled up. Informed by the outcomes of each cohort, the intervention tools are fine-tuned for each subsequent cohort. The paper finds positive and persistent impacts on literacy scores and positive spillovers on some mathematics scores. The effectiveness of the program grew over time, likely because of higher dosage and the fine-tuning of materials.