Special Education M.A.

Year Approved


First Advisor

McCorrmick, Peg


Small group interventions provide struggling readers and students who are learning- disabled with additional literacy instruction designed to facilitate literacy growth. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine if literacy group size directly affects the effectiveness of instruction relative to literacy growth for struggling readers. The participants studied in this literature review include students receiving special education services as well as students identified for Tier II interventions. Evidence-based practices gathered from empirical research studies, alongside qualitative and quantitative studies, seek to explore grouping and how group size affects literacy performance outcomes for special education and Tier II students. In this review, Tier II students have been identified as struggling readers who need additional assistance, which becomes more individualized as a student transitions from Tier I to Tier II (Vaughn, Wexler, Roberts, Barth, Cirino, Romain, Denton, 2011). Grouping was examined to determine the clinical significance of literacy growth and how students who receive intensive literacy interventions attain such growth. This literature review concluded that small group instruction contributes to a higher level of achievement in literacy; however, additional factors are also significant contributing factors. When allocating resources, a small group of four or fewer students demonstrated the greatest impact on literacy growth. Grouping size, with the method of delivery, the length of intervention, and educational resources used, are essential factors that ensure literacy growth. In the future, longitudinal studies should be conducted to assess long-term literacy growth and how to group struggling readers most effectively.

Degree Name

Special Education M.A.

Document Type

Masterʼs thesis