Evaluation of the influence of the Phono-Graphix™ programme on children's reading achievement : direct instruction of phonological processing skills with a small group of predominantly Māori students : research project.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Teaching and Learning
A weakness in phonological-processing skills and alphabetic understanding is theorized to be responsible for the lack of reading development with some children. This study investigated the influence of a programme designed to use a direct instruction approach to teach these skills and knowledge on reading development. Fourteen children and the teacher from one classroom in a small urban primary school participated in this study. The students ranged in age from 7 years 7 months to 9 years 9 months, and ranged in reading ability from achieving below to achieving above their comparable chronological age in reading. At the time of the study, the school roll consisted of 81% Maori, 2% Cook Island, and 17% New Zealand European. Of the 14 students involved in the study, 12 were Maori, one was a Cook Island Maori and one was New Zealand European. The study took place over nine months, and consisted of 20-minute direct instruction sessions on phonological-processing skills and alphabetic knowledge and understanding, supported by other daily practice sessions as suggested by the programme's curriculum. Children were administered a range of tests on phonological-processing skills, word attack and identification, and reading comprehension and attitude at the beginning, middle and end of the study period. Comparisons and analysis of the data revealed that there were differences with all groups; i.e., those achieving in reading at, above, or below their expected level, with all aspects tested. Because of other interventions put into place by the classroom teacher, it is not possible to fully attribute the development of skills and understanding, and acquisition of knowledge, to the implementation of the programme. Nevertheless, these results suggest that children responded favourably to the specific, explicit teaching. Although this study was small, the positive response of the Maori and Cook Island Maori participants is worthy of further or closer investigation.