New independent research released on Pearson's My Sidewalks reading program

My Sidewalks, an intervention program created by Pearson, was recently evaluated by the independent research firm Magnolia Consulting LLC. The findings of A Study of Pearson’s My Sidewalks Program: Final Report were positive—the program helped struggling readers in elementary school achieve “significant learning gains” and enhanced reading fluency, vocabulary and comprehension among students.

The study was conducted during the 2007-08 school year at 16 geographically and demographically diverse elementary schools in MA, CT, IL and SC and included 278 student participants. Study results showed that My Sidewalks exceeded average yearly reading achievement growth, based on performance on the Group Reading Assessment and Diagnostic Evaluation (GRADE). Second-graders tested on the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills™ (DIBELS) Oral Reading Fluency assessment gained 50 percentile points during the study period, while third-graders gained 48 percentile points. Overall, students improved by 41 percentile points in reading achievement.

Dr. Stephanie Wilkerson, researcher of the report, said that the program “stands out as an intervention program because it targets priority skill areas that form the foundation for successful readings.” In addition to covering vocabulary and comprehension, My Sidewalks includes lessons on phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency and writing. The program works well with a variety of core reading programs, though it aligns conceptually with Pearson’s Reading Street curriculum.

Teachers found the program “highly valuable, easy to implement, and useful” in meeting the needs of their students, and reported that students liked the course materials, “engaging with them and connecting the reading content to their personal lives.” Teachers also found the materials to be useful for special education students and English language learners—the program’s consistent routines and pace are helpful for education students, and ELLs can benefit from the instructional techniques for word study.