Great Leaps Reading Growth Shown by DIBELS

Great Leaps Reading Growth Shown by DIBELS

It is essential that the results reported from a reading intervention like Great Leaps are corroborated by peer-reviewed studies or independent progress tests that demonstrate the growth within the program. Studies have been done on Great Leaps showing substantive improvements in reading rate, accuracy and growth toward the independent reading level. These were clearly shown in Effects of a Reading Fluency Intervention for Middle Schoolers With Specific Learning Disabilities by Cecil D. Mercer, Kenneth U. Campbell, M. David Miller, Kenneth D. Mercer & Holly B. Lane and later replicated in The Effects of a Fluency Intervention Program on the Fluency and Comprehension Outcomes of MiddleSchool Students with Severe Reading Deficits by Sally A. Spencer and Franklin R. Manis. In both cases about 2 years of growth per year on average when Great Leaps was done with fidelity (3-5 times per week). 

The original Great Leaps has been recently converted and improved to a digital format that allowed long distance tutoring.  Lisa Skisland, tutoring students (they in their homes and she from hers), over approximately one school semester, achieved growth levels outlined below. To be clear, this is not a study, it is an independent analysis of student data and growth with seven  of her students.

DIBELS is a reading assessment developed by the University of Oregon. They measure anything from Letter Naming Fluency, Phonemic Segmentation Fluency, Nonsense Word Fluency, Word Reading Fluency and Oral Reading Fluency. In this case, Great Leaps Tutor, Lisa Skisland, tested her students in Oral Reading Fluency using the DIBELS 8 Benchmark Assessment. This is a nationally normed assessment of oral reading fluency. Students were given the assessment at a distance, getting the passages handed to them immediately before doing the timings and none of the students shown had taken a DIBELS assessment at their schools.

 Lisa tested 7 of her Florida students at the beginning of the Fall 2019 semester, and again at the end of the semester, which is the middle of the school year. All of her students showed gains on their grade level oral reading fluency, gaining on average an average of 24.66 correct words per minute, tests being administered 15-20 weeks apart. 4 out of 7 students have IEPs, 5 have been retained a grade for poor academic growth and all are receiving no other independent tutoring. I would like to highlight several students and their growth:

To provide context, we’ve highlighted DIBELS standards for third and fifth graders in the middle of the year above that are represented through colored lines on the student’s charts below. The benchmark goal is in black, while reading at or below the red is considered at risk and in need of instructional support.

C.B is a 10 year old boy in Florida. He has an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in school and has been working with the Great Leaps Digital program for 2 ¾ years. As you can see from the graph, C.B. was 54 correct words per minute (cwpm)  from the 5th Grade Fall Benchmark goal and, having jumped 32 cwpm, Cohen is now only 29 cwpm from his mid year DIBELS goal. Cohen had a 51% increase in rate and is currently succeeding in school.


N.B. is a 9 year old girl in Florida who currently has an IEP in her public school. She was retained in the 3rd grade and that is when she started her Great Leaps work. After 2 months of Great Leaps with fidelity, N.B. tested on grade level in an independent evaluation given by her school.  Above are the results of her DIBELS Benchmark Assessment after only 7 months of Great Leaps work. She increased her cwpm by 129% and is now reading 30% above the Benchmark goal for her grade and even surpassed the blue “Above Benchmark Level”. N.B. is about to be moved forward into 4th grade by her school because of her improvement in reading.

I.H. is a 10 year old girl from Florida, currently in the 3rd. Grade, who has an IEP in her public charter school. Having been retained in 2nd grade, she started Great Leaps at the end of 2nd grade, unable to fluently read a first grade story. She has been working with Great Leaps for a year and in the 15 weeks between assessments she has increased her cwpm by 104%. Her last report card put her on the A/B Honor Roll (Gen. Ed.) for the first time in her life. 

While we know that students improve quickly with Great Leaps given with fidelity, it is refreshing to see this growth with independent measures. Great Leaps is effective with a variety of students, and if your child is in need of reading help, it’s best to intervene early. Try out Great Leaps Digital for 14 days at or give us a call at 877-475-3277. 

1 comment

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