REVI+ is the name given to a reading and language intervention designed for children with Down Syndrome. The programme was developed by the Centre for Reading and Language in collaboration with Down Syndrome Education International (funded by the UK Big Lottery Fund). It is suitable for children who are ‘reading ready’ and who are supported by a teaching assistant who can implement the programme on a regular basis.
Our research team conducted a randomised control trial (RCT) to assess the efficacy of the REVI+ intervention. The evaluation trial included over 57 children from Yorkshire and Hampshire who were all in mainstream schools. The children taking part represented a wide range of language and literacy skills. Teaching assistants (TAs) received training in order to deliver the intervention to individual children in daily 40-minute sessions. The children received either 20 or 40 weeks of daily one-to-one intervention: half of the children received the intervention immediately, while the remaining children received the treatment after a 20 week delay.
Progress was measured at three time points: pre-intervention, after 20-weeks of intervention, and after 40-weeks of intervention.
After 20-weeks of intervention, the intervention group showed significantly greater progress than the group who were ‘waiting’ in reading-related skills (including single word reading, letter-sound knowledge and phoneme blending). They also could remember the new vocabulary they had been taught. However, the effects did not generalize to other skills, such as nonword decoding or spelling, and there were no effects on general vocabulary or grammatical skills. Children who were younger and had better initial receptive language skills made greater progress during the course of the intervention.
In conclusion, the programme did improve foundation literacy skills. However, the gains children made were modest, and the programme is likely to be most suitable for children who have serviceable language skills, and who already have emerging literacy skills.