Reading intervention research with emergent bilingual students: a meta-analysis

Steve Graham, Mariana Silva, M. Adelaida Restrepo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Reading in English is an essential skill that emergent bilingual students in the United States (U.S.) must master to be successful in school and to fully take advantage of the affordances reading in English offers. The current meta-analysis examined the extent to which reading instruction improved English reading outcomes for preschool to grade 12 emergent bilingual students in the U.S. Across 38 experimental and quasi-experimental treatment–control group comparisons, teaching reading to these students had a positive impact on multiple aspects of their reading. When standardized and unstandardized reading assessments were aggregated, reading instruction produced small but statistically significant positive average weighted effects across all grades (0.17), for grades 4 to 8 (0.25) and for reading comprehension (0.20). Statistically significant outcomes were also obtained for standardized reading tests across all grades (0.24), preschool to grade 3 (0.17), grades 4 to 8 (0.30), grades 9 to 12 (0.26), word reading measures (0.22), vocabulary (0.17), and reading comprehension (0.21). Variability in effects were associated with type of reading treatments, duration of treatments, and student identified challenges with reading as well as study quality indicators. Recommendations for research and implications for practice are provided.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalReading and Writing
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • ELL
  • Emergent bilingual
  • Instruction
  • Meta-analysis
  • Reading
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language
  • Speech and Hearing


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