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Evidence Based Research

Evidence Base for Child1st Products

While a formal research study has not been conducted on Child1st products, we do have an abundance of evidence showing the success of these materials.

Experiential Research and Evidence Base:

Experiential evidence includes several kindergarten classes, small group and whole group as well as Title 1, special education, and regular (immersion) classroom settings.

 A.    GROUP ONE

The first group to be taught with this approach for reading (Easy-for-Me™ Reading which includes SnapLetters™,  Alphabet Tales, SnapWords®, Easy-for-Me™ Books, and the multisensory approach to learning to read) and math (Kid-Friendly Computation series)were taught small group, half day and were 4-5 years old. 2000-2001.

Formal testing in April included:

          1.       Phonics Mastery Inventory

                        Blends & Digraphs

                        Number of Syllables

                        Base Words & Affixes

                        Plurals

                        Vowel Teams

                        Two Consonant Endings

          2.       Features Spelling

          3.       John’s Basic Reading Inventory

                        Graded Word Lists - Form A

                        Oral Reading Passages - Form A

In the results of this battery of testing, the lowest reader was 2nd grade, while the highest level reader was 4th grade.

B.   GROUP TWO  

The second group was a public school kindergarten which began incorporating some Child1st materials and approaches in November of 2000. Children attended two full days and a half day on Fridays. Teacher reported that her real usable/productive time with the students totaled about 2 half days. The materials used were SnapWords™ and Easy-for-Me™ A Books. The other products were not completed.

Testing included 1) sight word recognition as mandated by the district, 2) reading the EFM Books which require both decoding and sight word fluency, and 3) writing words and sentences from oral dictation by an adult.

January Testing:

Children had progressed through the teaching sequence and had begun reading the books, following the mini-lesson inside the covers. Students could write words and sentences from dictation as follows: Book 1 on 1-24-01, Book 2 on 1-25-01, and they were on Book 6 by 2-7-01. All words on assessments were spelled correctly. Assessment on reading and writing were based on both decodable words and sight words.

February Testing:

This assessment was on sight word recognition using the district-supplied word list for the school year, 17 words were required for kindergarten.

Results: After only 3 months, out of 21 children, 11 could read all 17 words, 3 could read 16, 2 could read 14, 2 could read 12, 1 could read 10, 1 could read 9, and 1 read 3.

Spring assessments are not available to me; however, I have letters each student wrote to their future first grade teacher by way of introducing themselves. Language used included final silent E as in “like”, digraphs SH and TH, OY, ING, OO as in “good”, “food”, “pool”, “foot”, sight words were generally spelled correctly, LL as in “ball”, AY as in “play”, OW as in “how”. Nearly every child spelled “have”, “hav.” Complete sentences used.

 

 C.    GROUP THREE

5 kindergarten classrooms in an at-risk/Title 1 school with total immersion. Sarah Major supervised the K teachers as they began to implement the program. This student group had many challenges to overcome including poverty, language barriers, learning issues, behavior challenges, retention, and stressors at home. Teachers had one aide apiece and taught whole group and small group.

Materials utilized:

SnapLetters™, an early version of Alphabet Tales, SnapWords™, Easy-for-Me™ Books, and just an outline of the Easy-for-Me™ Reading Program.

October testing:

After only 2 months, children were tested on a combination of 20 decodable words and sight words. They also were asked to write words from dictation. Achievement varied significantly from classroom to classroom depending on the teacher and the level of classroom control exhibited.

November testing:

Assessments from October were repeated to measure progress.

Classes

#1 - 17 students, 6 sped

#2 – 19 students, 5 sped

#3 – 17 students, 6 sped

#4 – 18 st., w/10 sped

#5 – 18 st., w/ 10 sped

Oct

6 read 15-20 words

4 read 10-14

4 read 5-9

2 read 3 words

5 read 15-20

3 read 10-14

5 read 5-9

5 read 0-4 words

9 read 15-20

5 read 10-14

 

3 read 2-4 words

8 read 15-20

7 read 10-14

3 read 5-9

 

 

9 read 15-20

2 read 10-14

4 read 5-9

3 read 3-4 words

Nov

14 read 15-20

2 read 10-14 words

10 read 15-20

1 read 10-14

4 read 5-9

4 read 1-4 words

12 read 19-20

2 read 10-14

2 read 7-9

1 read 3 words

15 read 15-20

3 read 10-12

 

6 read 15-20

4 read 10-14

4 read 5-9

2 read 3 words

*Data is not available from spring testing. Teacher 3 reported via email that I would be astonished at how the kids were reading.

Classes 2 and 5 exhibited poor classroom control. In the other 3 classrooms, children were engaged and progressing.

D.    GROUP FOUR 

TITLE 1 small groups

SnapLetters™, SnapWords™ and Sounds & Their Spelling Patterns approaches were used for remediation in a school with approximately 65 at risk students K-7th grade (not already in SPED).  In order to enter the Title 1 program, students could not qualify for SPED and had to be failing or significantly below grade level in reading. Format was small groups which met 2-3 times a week for 20 or 30 minutes. I have mid-year (Feb) and year-end (May) scores for grades from 1-7.

 

Testing utilized:

Johns Passages and Words Lists.

 

Status in the fall by grade level:

  • 1st grade students could not read or decode and were fuzzy on sounds; missing Kindergarten skills.
  • 2nd grade students 3 were either below pre-primer or at pre-primer. 3 could read nothing at all.
  • 3rd – 5th grade students were at least two grade levels behind or more - the higher the grade, the more behind.
  • 6th grade children hovered around a 2nd grade reading level in the fall (as measured by John’s testing), and were unable to read content material across the curriculum. In grades 3 and up, behavior problems were associated with those who were failing.

               

In May, administration reported that referrals to special education had dropped to near zero school wide and behavior problems referred to the office had dropped significantly also.

 

Spring testing results by grade showing independent reading level/instructional reading level:

 *4 6th graders and 1 7th grader                              **these two children repeated 1st grade

Independent/instructional:

Grade 1

Grade 2

Grade 3

Grade 4

Grade 5

Grades 6-7*

pp/-

2**students

1

 

 

 

 

p/1

8

2

 

 

 

 

1/2

5

 

1

 

 

 

2/3

1

3

2

 

 

 

3/4

 

 

6

1

 

 

4/5

 

 

3

 

 

 

5/6

 

 

1

2

5

 

6/7

 

 

2

4

1

5

7/8

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

E.     GROUP FIVE

CLASSROOMS GRADE 1 AND GRADE 2, 2004-2006.

In another at risk school, total inclusion, no classroom aides, several students who had already repeated a grade, ESOL students, multiple learning disabilities and behavior disorders – testing utilized was Fox in the Box and DIBELS. Classroom teacher administered FOX while DIBELS was administered by another staff member.

GRADE 1: DIBELS tests from Fall and Spring, benchmarks listed at top of column for spring testing

Student

Description

 Words

PSF fall/sprg  35

NWF fall/sprg 40

ORF fall/sprg 35

1

Repeating 1st grade, ESOL, dyslexia

600

21/40

38/70

20/42

2

 

700

36/33

30/125

17/96

3

Shy, very deliberate in her work

600

24/16

45/42

15/55

4

Scores from Fall – child moved away

 

51/

48/

20/

5

Started year late, very low skills

600

40/44

24/62

4/56

6

 

700

56/58

45/102

28/98

7

Child with very difficult home setting

700

51/38

31/102

5/61

8

 

700

47/11

36/60

15/63

9

Really struggled for everything he learned

600

44/34

15/79

7/81

10

ESOL

600

51/37

40/105

4/75

11

ESOL, severe speech problem

0-100

1/35

0/24

5/15

12

ESOL, shy, deliberate

600

43/40

37/49

11/44

13

ESOL, new to USA

200

9/35

10/21

1/20

14

 

800

52/45

48/102

29/104

15

ESOL, mental health issues

600

9/30

29/87

3/63

16

 

800

47/49

31/126

6/59

17

Scores from Fall – child moved away

700

51/

69/

24/

 

Words lists 1-8: 100 words on each. Lists attached to end of this document. “Words” column shows the numbers of words they mastered during the year. They did this independently, only coming to the teacher to be tested for knowledge.

Some challenges of this school year were the three hurricanes that hit beginning in August. Students missed a number of school days, and several were displaced in the storms. The school building was damaged and repair was on-going for several months.

 

GRADE 2: 10 students looped up from 1st grade 

(Student 7, who had the most labels of any student in the school, was on grade level by November as demonstrated by DIBELS and FOX testing. He is the most dramatic example of the benefit received from the multisensory approach.)

               

Grade 2: DIBELS FALL and SPRING SCORES by student – targets identified for each category:

Student

details

NWF fall  50

NWF spring 50

ORF fall  44

ORFspring 90

Peabody

Pict. Vocab.*

Errors/total items viewed

1

Muscular dystrophy, SLD, held back 2x

21

43

3

10

10-11

15/96

2

AIP

32

77

39

85

12-16

27/144

3

ESL, shy, too many absences, should not do timed tests

37/51

54

11/39

60

12-16

43/144

4

ESL

10/40

79

1/29

79

8-9

18/84

5

Very dreamy

42

95

45

105

12-16

32/132

6

ESL, held back, severe dyslexia,IEP

38/27

56

20/55

108

12-16

27/120

7

ESL, SLD, speech

84

148

48

91

17-adult

49/156

8

 

45/55

74

15/55

108

12-16

25/132

9

Transferred in. No fall testing

 

205

 

134

17-adult

52/168

10

ESL

109

201

69

132

12-16

25/144

11

 

31/122

182

6/73

111

17-adult

45/168

12

Cannot do nonsense words. Great reader.

36/47

50

15/90

140

12-16

27/144

13

Came in Apr. No fall testing. IEP

 

45

 

72

12-16

18/132

14

1st reader in family. Cannot do nonsense words

15/53

49

7/115

191

8-9

11/84

15

ESL

40/98

181

4/77

148

12-16

23/132

16

 

48/109

143

29/97

147

12-16

15/122

17

IEP

76

156

88

123

10-11

13/108

18

ESL, IEP

29/112

224

3/75

125

8-9

35/84

 

 

 

Comments: Those students who looped up from 1st grade have a slash mark before the score showing scores in Fall of 1st grade.

Ex: 1st grade fall score/ 2nd grade fall score

*Chronological age compared to others of their same age.

408 total items: 34 sets of 12

 

*Peabody Picture Vocabulary Testmeasure of receptive vocabulary

The class as a whole had well-developed writing skills, using paragraphs and topic sentences with supporting sentences.

How Movement Activates Learning

Technology has taken over children’s entertainment and now is moving into the classroom. Children already spend hours a week quietly seated, rapt in the images they see on whatever screen they are viewing.

Just this morning I received an email from a company who prepares educational content for technology.

“The iPad is entering the classroom. [XCV] is pleased to be a creative partner in the Virginia Department of Education's Beyond Textbooks initiative. The purpose of this study is to compare books and iPads to determine which is the more effective teaching tool.”

I suspect that the reasoning behind using technology to teach children is that because children are already mesmerized by technology, why not use it as a tool for teaching them? No matter what we know about how children develop, no matter what we think about technology for our children, technology is not going to go away; it is here to stay and what remains is for us to be aware, informed, and prepared to make the best choices for our children as they grow and develop.

Why Children Need to Move

One of my favorite experts on learning and the child is Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., a neurophysiologist and educator, who wrote the book Smart Moves. In her book, she tells us why children need to move and how they should move in order to fully activate their learning potential. She also writes passionately about the impact of technologies such as TV and video on the development of the child’s brain. Following are some quotes from her book Smart Moves:

“Muscular activities, particularly coordinated movements, appear to stimulate the production of neurotrophins, natural substances that stimulate the growth of nerve cells and increase the number of neural connections in the brain” (p. 102).

“It is the full activation and balance of all parts of our mind/body system that allow us to become effective, productive thinkers” (p. 95).

“TV bombards viewers with a constantly changing stream of pictures, words, and movement that are too fast for the young brain to assimilate. The child may be able to repeat what she has heard, but without any depth of understanding. It’s that depth of understanding – which comes from the integration of new experience with the child’s developing mind/body patterning – that leads to imagination and creative reasoning. The child is left passive without the internal mental, emotional, and physical involvement necessary for cognitive [thinking, reasoning] development.” (p 67)

Informal research with children who struggled to learn taught me that many need to move their bodies in imitation of what they are learning. If we take a kinesthetic or tactile learner and set him or her in front of a piece of technology that requires no active engagement, we are hindering the natural need to move in concert with learning.

Movement That Enhances Learning

Very young children learning the alphabet absorb and recall with ease when their bodies mimic the shape of each letter as they speak its sounds aloud. Body movements can be as simple as hand motions. For example, for letter A, hold up both hands with fingers touching at the top to make the point of the A and thumbs touching below to make the horizontal line of the A. Body movements can be as involved as whole-body letters made with two or more children! For the letter A, have two children lie on the floor, with heads touching, and one arm each extended to the center, the other held by their side on the outside of the A. Or you could have two children make the outside of the letter and another child make the horizontal bridge.

When learning to count by two’s, march in time to oral counting.

1. “one” and take a step with your right foot

2. “two” and take a step with your left foot, but lean your body dramatically to the left as you do

3. “three” and take a normal, upright step with your right foot, etc.

The pattern absorbed by the body is that the odd numbers are right-foot, straight up, while the even numbers are associated with a leaning to the left. This pattern of movement will subtly reinforce to the mind/body of the child those even numbers.

If counting by fives, try whispering and stamping.

1. Whisper “one, two, three, four”

2. As you stamp your foot say “five!”

3. Whisper “six, seven, eight, nine”

4. Stamp and say “ten!” etc.

If a child has trouble remembering how many pennies in a nickel, try this: “I’m going to give you a nickel sandwich” while pretending to punch with FIVE fingers of one hand loosely fisted. Relate the number of pennies in a nickel to the number of fingers on your hand.

When talking about dimes, chant “It’s FINE to have a DIME” clap clap. Look at your two hands and relate the number of fingers on both hands to pennies in a dime.

For a quarter, remind the child that a “punch” is a nickel and a clap is a dime, so when talking about a quarter, you will clap twice (ten, twenty) and then punch once (twenty-five). Say, “I have” clap, clap “a quarter!” punch.

When learning about items in a series, read together from a whiteboard a sentence such as this one: “I will use red, green, and blue.” Each time you come to a comma, have the child make a swoosh with their arms in the air in the shape of a large comma. If the child is confused about when to use a comma, first have them identify the items in the series. Another sentence could be, “I am going to the park with John, Lucy, and Sam.” When they come to the period, have them punch the air with their fist.

Involve the Children

Children are so great at coming up with creative movements that enhance learning; just recruit them. Explain that you need to use body motion to help them learn and remember, give them some examples such as the ones in this post, then encourage them to attach motion to any concept they are learning. It's great to see what they come up with, and engaging them in helping themselves works wonders and helps them love learning!