Implementing institution: Fundación AraucaníAprende
Source: Fundación Telefónica
Execution period: 2009 - en curso
Plataforma de Prácticas Efectivas:
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To make students progress in their reading skills, and to read about 90 words per minute.
Intensive tutoring of assistant teachers to small groups of reinforcement in reading.
The program allows increasing, on average, from 63 to 101 words read per minute.
Rescate Lector (Reader Rescue) is a reading reinforcement program for children in their second year of primary school who belong to the poorest and lowest performing sectors of the IX region. Fundación AraucaníAprende works with subsidized primary schools (municipal and private), which have consistently achieved low learning outcomes in the SIMCE test, and whose teachers make an explicit commitment to educational improvement.
The initiative started independently in 2009, and the following year it signed an agreement with the Ministry of Education to reach 2,000 4th grade students. Rescue Reader provides personalized support to 2nd grade elementary students, gathered in small groups of 4 to 8 people during class hours. To identify children, there is a diagnosis that determines their initial reading speed. The main innovation of the program lies in the hiring of retired teachers who have worked in the first cycle of primary school, to train the team of “Rescuers”. Each of them is assigned a group of children in a specific school. The agreement defines that the tutor will be paid CL$1,100 for each word that the child increases in reading speed, until reaching a minimum of 90 words per minute.
Students attend sessions during 5 weeks of work, which may vary depending on the initial reading level. They are cared for by the “rescue” teacher in a quiet space independent of the classes (library, teachers’ room, computer room, etc.). Hours of operation must be established by mutual agreement among the management of the establishment, the teacher in charge of the children in the school and the rescue teacher. In order to verify that the children participating have reached the minimum required reading speed, an external professional carries out the evaluation when the rescuer estimates that the child has reached the minimum number of words per minute. Once the child has reached the minimum number of defined words per minute, the student exits the program and the teacher is paid.
In both 2012 and 2015, 15-year-olds have shown PISA reading averages below the world average (441 and 459, respectively). The different reading evaluation processes developed by Fundación AraucaníAprende have corroborated the trend among First Cycle Elementary children in vulnerable schools in the IX region. Its results have shown that during 2006, according to the results of the Ministry of Education’s measurements, approximately 60% of 4th grade students did not achieve the minimum reading skills, with a percentage close to 10% whose reading was syllabic or null.
The Study Centre of the Ministry of Education carried out an experimental study with a control group in order to assess the impact of the Reader Rescue program on children’s reading abilities. In an attempt to isolate the effects of the program from other variables that may potentially explain changes in student SIMCE scores, two models were developed: differences in differences (DD) and a purified panel analysis with propensity score matching (PSM).
The comparative analysis of the results between the intervention group and the control group revealed an increase of 40 words read on average per minute. The effect of the program on SIMCE results is positive and statistically significant, ranging from 3.55 points to 4.47 points for the Language test, and from 4.67 to 6.01 for Mathematics.
Given the relatively low cost of the program (US$ 150 per child), Reader Rescue represents an innovation with replicability potential in contexts that present high levels of vulnerability and that have a population of retired teachers.