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IES Contract

Title: Go Talk Phonics: Phonics for Individuals with Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2011
Principal Investigator: Stanger, Carol Awardee: Attainment Company, Inc.
Program: Small Business Innovation Research in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2.5 years Award Amount: $1,050,000
Type: Fast Track Award Number: EDIES11C0027

Phase I Amount: $149,806
Phase I Period: 6 months

Phase II Amount: $899,830
Phase II Period: 2 years

Purpose: Prior research demonstrates that younger students who are low- or non-verbal often have difficulty independently practicing skills that provide a foundation for early literacy. The proposed product will provide support to students who are low- or non-verbal to independently practice phonics skills associated with early literacy success.

Project Activities: The design team will create an instructional phonics curriculum starting with hard consonants and short vowels. To develop the technology, an application (app) will be prototyped. Following this development, a writer and graphic artist will author several short books as supplemental reading to complement the words being taught in the phonics curriculum. Finally, teacher professional development materials will be developed. To assess implementation feasibility, the usability of the technology, and the promise of the product to support student literacy, 10 special education teachers with five students per class will use the product to supplement normal instruction over a 12-week period. The study will measure students' word learning, comprehension, and the overall accessibility and integration within existing practices.

Product: This project will develop the Go Talk Phonics software, to be used with the existing Go Talk Express platform to support literacy for low to non-verbal 6-to-17 year olds. The software will use multimedia content which through animated voices will model explicit phonics instruction for commonly used letter sounds and words. Using pre-programmed modules, students will be supported in manipulating phonemic elements. For example, a student could learn words such as mat, sat, or rat by merging together word parts and sounds from the letters m, s, r, a, or t. The product will include a phonics curriculum and a professional development guide with an assessment rubric to facilitate teacher usage.