Does Practice Make Perfect? Independent Reading Quantity, Quality and Student Achievement

Multiple schools, Multiple cities, Alabama (AL), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), California (CA), Colorado (CO), Delaware (DE), Georgia (GA), Idaho (ID), Illinois (IL), Kentucky (KY), Louisiana (LA), Michigan (MI), Mississippi (MS), Missouri (MO), Nebraska (NE), New Mexico (NM), North Carolin


DETAILS: Location: 24 U.S. states; Design: Independent, correlational, peer-reviewed; Sample: 45,670 students in grades 1-12 at 139 schools Measure: Star Reading; Duration: 1 school year.

RESULTS: Does reading practice make perfect? Or is reading achievement related to the quality of practice as well as the quantity? To answer these questions, data for students who read more than 3 million books were analyzed. Measures largely of quantity (engaged reading volume) and purely of quality (success in reading comprehension) showed a positive relationship with achievement gain at all levels of achievement. However, both high quantity and high quality in combination were necessary for high achievement gains, especially for older students. Both were weakly associated with student initial reading achievement, but more strongly associated with the class in which the student was enrolled, possibly suggesting the properties of teacher intervention in guiding independent reading were important. Implications for theory building, research, and practice were explored.

PLEASE NOTE: Email to request a copy of this peer-reviewed journal article: Topping, K. J., Samuels, J., & Paul, T. (2007). Does practice make perfect? Independent reading quantity, quality and student achievement. Learning and Instruction, 17, 253-264.

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