New Study Details Ingredients for Successful Implementation of Reading Intervention Programs in School Systems


Year-long analysis of READ 180® was conducted by the American Institutes for Research and sponsored by the Council of Great City Schools and Scholastic


NEW YORK, N.Y. (October 26, 2010) – A new study shines light on the system-wide strategies necessary for school districts to effectively implement reading intervention programs that are sustainable and boost student achievement. For the report, called Implementation Matters: Systems for Success, researchers studied how READ 180®, the most widely-used reading intervention program in the country, was implemented in five urban school districts. The study provides recommendations for how schools and school districts can put the right systems in place to ensure that they implement an intervention program as it was designed so that their instructional initiatives will be successful. While the study was conducted for a single program, researchers believe that its findings are applicable for any reading intervention program.

The report was released jointly by the American Institutes for Research (AIR) with the assistance of Berkeley Policy Associates (BPA), the Council of the Great City Schools (CGCS), and Scholastic Inc., creator of READ 180.

"AIR was very pleased to have been a part of this project. The findings will be very useful to educators who are looking for guidance on how to sustain high-quality implementation of READ 180 or virtually any other intervention for struggling readers," said Terry Salinger, Managing Director & Chief Scientist for Literacy Research at the American Institutes for Research.


Implementation Matters describes 14 lessons learned through extensive surveys and interviews with school leaders and teachers in each of the five school districts studied. Researchers found that these elements unfolded across three phases of a program’s implementation: 1) Initiating Implementation, 2) Developing Implementation, and 3) Sustaining Implementation. For example:

  • During the Initiating Implementation phase, data showed that district leaders enhanced buy-in when they established a common understanding of the goals of the intervention.
  • In the Developing Implementation phase, the importance of setting clear expectations for student placement and exit, on-model classroom instruction, and monitoring of student progress was critical.
  • As districts enter the Sustaining Implementation phase, on-model implementation was enhanced when one or more individuals played an “intermediary” role between all district stakeholders and Scholastic in order to monitor and support program implementation.

The authors conclude with nine recommendations for how districts can support each phase of implementation.


"This report highlights the importance of strong, well-supported implementation of instructional initiatives," said Michael Casserly, Executive Director of The Council of the Great City Schools. "We continue to study and learn from the successes and challenges urban districts face in their efforts to improve instruction and raise student achievement. This report is a good example of that sharing."

In 1998, Scholastic and CGCS partnered on an earlier study to investigate the effectiveness of READ 180 in urban schools. That study was one of the earliest to find that READ 180 is most effective when implemented according to the intended model. The current project takes the next logical step: investigating what school districts can do to create the conditions for and support sustained on-model implementation of reading intervention programs in order to maximize their effectiveness.

"After more than a decade of using READ 180 to help struggling readers learn and partnering with schools to boost literacy achievement, we’ve documented once more that the program works best when it is used as designed,” said Margery Mayer, President of Scholastic Education. "Whether it's through our long-standing collaboration with the Council of Great City Schools and other partners or own internal work, we will continue to develop programs and find ways to support schools seeking to help their students achieve at a higher level."

To read the Executive Summary or download the full report, click here.

For more information about Scholastic, visit our Media Room at


Tyler Reed Scholastic 212.343.6427