Intervention details

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CIRC/Literacy Wings

Moderate for Primary reading

Intervention description

CIRC (Cooperative Integrated Reading and Composition), or Literacy Wings, is a co-operative learning programme designed to help primary age pupils develop metacognitive strategies for comprehending narrative and expository text. Pupils work in four to five member learning teams to help each other master reading content. After teacher instruction on reading comprehension strategies, pupils work with teammates on activities in which they predict what will happen in stories, write summaries, and answer questions relating to characters, settings, problems, and problem solutions. They take turns reading to each other and work together on writing, vocabulary, and fluency activities.

CIRC, under the name Literacy Wings, is used as the upper-primary reading component of the Success for All comprehensive reform model. It is also available to purchase as a stand-alone programme from Success For All UK, who sell resource packs including teacher manuals and CD-ROMs, and also offer training. Any evidence in support of the programme is based on a trained version.

Professional development/training

The full Success for All model includes four years of training and support.

Evidence Summary

The Best Evidence Encyclopaedia (2009) rated CIRC as having moderate evidence of effectiveness for struggling readers and primary reading.

The What Works Clearinghouse (2008) found CIRC to have potentially positive effects on comprehension and no discernible effect on general literacy achievement for beginning readers, and potentially positive effects on comprehension and general literacy achievement for adolescent learners.

The studies found a mean effect size of +0.19 for primary reading.

Moderate for Primary reading
No. of studies 7
No. of students 4,285
Average effect size +0.19

Key research

Stevens and Slavin (1995) conducted separate analyses for students in special education and found effect sizes of +0.29 for reading comprehension and +0.21 for reading vocabulary after 1 year, and after two years effect sizes of +0.85 for reading comprehension and +0.76 for reading vocabulary.

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