Dedicate sufficient time.

Our best results occurred when students received at least two sessions of reading instruction per week, for around an hour each time.

We did have students who received half-hour sessions three or four times per week, and other students who received less frequent but longer sessions. In both cases, they did not make as much reading progress as students who received instruction twice per week in sessions that lasted from 45 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes.

We also had students who received the full 32 hours of instruction in only a month or two. These students, too, did not make the best gains in reading.

Based on our data, students make better reading progress when they receive reading instruction with the following conditions:

  • Multiple instructional sessions per week (I do not see any reason not to have three or four sessions per week, time permitting, if the other conditions can be met);
  • Sessions that are long enough to engage in meaningful learning activities that address all six reading components (expect to spend at least 45 minutes per session);
  • Sessions that are short enough that they do not produce learning burn-out (generally less than one and a half hours);
  • Reading instruction over a longer time period; and
  • Instructional time dedicated to nothing but reading.

Strong reading skills are necessary for learning all other content areas, and reading instruction needs to be a top priority. Again, think about the brain and the learning process. Simply, brains need enough input, exposure, and time to process the information, make new connections, and develop new skills. You can’t rush it. You just have to keep at it.