The impact of the Success for All reading program on the reading performance of third-grade students in two southwest Mississippi schools

Cynthia Jerell Veals


Reading is an area in which many students struggle. With increased public interest and accountability measures, schools are looking for ways to raise student achievement. Aside from traditional approaches to teaching reading, many schools are adopting reform models in hopes of increasing reading achievement. One such model is Success for All. A purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Success for All reading program on the performance of third grade students. Another purpose was to determine the difference in reading achievement of third grade students enrolled in a Success for All reading program with those enrolled in a more traditional reading program. Reading scores on the Terra Nova norm-referenced test, number of retentions, and the number of referrals to special education of the two groups were compared. The schools used were similar in participants and free lunch patterns. The student participants consisted of 266 third grade students. Student participants were limited to students who were enrolled in their present reading program since kindergarten (most students enrolled during August of 1998 and some during August of 1997) and those who took the Terra Nova during the 2000-2001 school year. Teachers were surveyed for descriptive data. Data were collected from 42 teachers; all surveys were returned. In this study, there was no significant difference in reading scores for the two groups on the Terra Nova. Students in the traditional reading program had significantly fewer retentions and referrals to special education than the students in the Success for All reading program. Therefore, Success of All was not any better than the traditional reading program in this study. Students in the Success for All reading program had more retentions and referrals to special education.