How the Amount of Time Spent on Independent Reading Affects Reading Achievement: A Response to the National Reading Panel

One K-6 school, St. Paul, Minnesota (MN)


DETAILS: Location: Large city in upper Midwest; Design: Independent, experimental; Sample: 2 third-grade classrooms and 2 fifth-grade classrooms; Measure: Star Reading; Duration: 6 months.

RESULTS: Although there is correlational evidence showing that students who read more have higher achievement, the National Reading Panel has stated there was insufficient evidence to determine the direction of causality. This study was conducted to address this shortcoming in the literature and the question: Does more time spent reading produce higher achievement? Students were randomly assigned to spend either 40 minutes (experimental condition) or 15 minutes (control condition) per day independently reading. All students read books matched to their reading abilities, and took an Accelerated Reader quiz after reading each book. Pretest and posttest data were collected from all students in this study. The researchers concluded that more time spent reading had a greater effect on achievement compared to the control condition. In addition, the results showed that poor readers tended to have greater gains in vocabulary with 15 minutes of reading but had better gains on reading comprehension with 40 minutes of reading.

AUTHORS: S. Jay Samuels, EdD and Yi-Chen Wu, PhD.

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