Chapter One is a one-on-one personalized tutoring program that embeds part-time tutors into the classroom to provide short bursts of instruction to individual students each week over the course of the school year. The program leverages technology and the relationship tutors build with their students to personalize instruction, dosage, and session length to meet the individual needs of each child to develop a strong foundation in phonics and build reading fluency. Chapter One uses a “push-in” model that provides districts with part-time tutors, or Early Literacy Interventionists (ELIs), who meet with students one-on-one in the back of the classroom over the course of a school year. One ELI serves multiple classrooms in the school, and tutors work with individual students in 5-10 minute increment sessions during blocks of reading instruction or other opportune moments. At the end of each session, the departing student brings the next student to the ELI to minimize interruptions of classroom instruction. Students progress through stages of phonics development, learning to segment and blend short and long vowel sounds, learn sight words, and learn strategies to fluently read both decodable and noncontrolled texts. The length of each session and the number of sessions per week vary for each student based on need and rate of progress. For instance, students who are making adequate progress may only meet with their tutor once or twice a week, whereas students who the tutors identify as in need of more support may meet daily for periods of time. To provide this tailored support, the Chapter One program leverages technology to support instruction, as well as to direct student independent practice. ELIs follow a digital curriculum to conduct each session, which facilitates the assessment and tracking of student performance over time. In addition to using the technology in one-on-one sessions, students spend 15 minutes each day independently practicing using Chapter One’s software on program-provided tablets. All assessments sync in real time with individual student tablets, so that when a student uses the practice software after the one-on-one session, they practice items that are precisely aligned to their most recent tutored instruction. ELIs also regularly meet with teachers, reading coaches, and principals to review online reports of student progress.
The impact of Chapter One has been examined in two randomized studies, the first took place in one Title I school in Ohio, the second in a large southeastern school district with over 800 students from 49 classrooms in 13 schools. The first study was intended to last two years and include kindergarten and first grade students but a move to remote learning and issues surrounding attrition necessitated focusing on the one-year results from the kindergarten students. The impact on reading achievement was collected from 13 classrooms and 273 students who were randomly assigned to either the one-to-one high-dosage tutoring group or the teacher-instruction-only group. Treatment students received tutoring support 2-3 times per week across the school year from specially trained tutors using a digital literacy platform. Students in Chapter One significantly outperformed non-tutored students on the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment (effect size = +0.18), qualifying the program for a Strong rating.
The second study took place during the 2021-22 school year. Kindergarten students, stratified by classroom, were randomly assigned to receive supplementary tutoring with Chapter One or business-as-usual instruction. The student sample was 72% Black, 21% Hispanic, 28% English-Language Learner, 11% Special Education, and 56% of families in the district qualified for free and reduced priced lunch (FRPL). Tutoring by Chapter One started in early November 2021 and was introduced to all classrooms over the course of the next couple of months and lasted through the end of the school year. The program is slotted to continue into first grade. Results from year one of the study, assessing the intermediate impact of Chapter One tutoring on kindergarten students’ reading development, show Chapter One students significantly outperforming control students on the ORF (effect size = +0.23), as well as performing higher on the District Reading Level assessment (effect size = +0.31). Both studies qualify Chapter One for the ESSA “Strong” level.
Chapter One recruits, hires, trains, and manages all tutors.
Interventionists must be college graduates and successfully complete 8 training courses.
Tablets for the students and Chromebooks for the Early Literacy Interventionists included in the per student cost.