Eight years ago, in 2015, Lindamood-Bell began offering live-online sensory-cognitive instruction as an option for our Learning Center students. Live-online services made instruction accessible for students who did not live close enough to a Learning Center to attend in person. Then in 2020, when we needed to provide Learning Center instruction virtually to all our students due to the COVID pandemic, we transitioned smoothly.
While conventional wisdom is that significant learning losses in reading occurred during the pandemic because children were attending school online, at Lindamood-Bell this was not the case. Pre and post analysis of our students’ standardized test scores shows that students who received live-online instruction made statistically comparable gains to those who received in-person instruction. Live-online and in-person students tested statistically significantly higher post-instruction on all measures: word attack, word recognition, spelling, rate, paragraph accuracy, paragraph fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, phonemic awareness, and symbol imagery.
To ascertain the comparative effects of virtual instruction, we measured our live-online instruction growth metrics against traditional in-person instruction growth metrics to analyze their effectiveness. The comparison revealed statistically significant comparable gains in literacy skills.
Average Age: In-Person Students: 8.8 Live-Online Students: 9.6
Live-online and in-person students tested statistically significantly higher on post-instruction on all measures: word attack, word recognition, spelling, rate, paragraph accuracy, paragraph fluency, vocabulary, reading comprehension, phoneme awareness and symbol imagery. Results indicate that all measures were comparable in progress between the two populations
Average Age: In-Person Students: 11.3 Live-Online Students: 12.6
Beyond Lindamood-Bell’s work, the necessity for virtual instruction has occurred elsewhere and is being researched by Stanford University in the first randomized evaluation performed of virtual early literacy tutoring programs.
Cynthia Lake, reviewing Loeb’s research for Johns Hopkins University’s Best Evidence in Brief, writes, “Given the scores of students in need of reading remediation and the conditions where in-person interventions face challenges, understanding the effectiveness of virtual models is extremely important as an option to reach more students. The more research-proven models districts and schools can access, the better equipped they are to make informed decisions of what will best serve their students.”
Loeb, S., Novicoff, S., Pollard, C., Robinson, C., & White, S. (2023). The Effects of Virtual Tutoring on Young Readers: Results from a Randomized Controlled Trial. (National Student Support Accelerator). Retrieved from Student Support Accelerator: https://studentsupportaccelerator.org/sites/default/files/Effects%20of%20Virtual%20Tutoring%20on%20Young%20Readers.pdf
For information about Learning Center live-online or in-person instruction, click here.
Watch a mom describe what makes Lindamood-Bell online instruction so different from typical virtual learning.