Both treatments consisted of 40 intervention lessons implemented for 10 weeks, 15 minutes per day, 4 days a week, to small groups of 3-4 children. The treatment groups were subsets of the normal classrooms.
A requirement for study eligibility is that students are "nonreaders," as determined by reading 5 or fewer words on the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test-Revised, administered in November of the Kindergarten year. There is no indication that this classification is equated with a disability. The study does pay special attention to children with "low phonological awareness" (65% of the eligible sample) but this is not an identified learning disability, and the study does not focus exclusively on those students.
During each day of the intervention, both Conditions received:
(1) 7.5 minutes of activities involving printed letters, where students were taught the name of and sounds most commonly associated with each letter.
(2) 7.5 minutes of activities that did not involve printed letters, where students were taught to blend phonemes into words or segment words into phonemes.
Difference between Treatment Conditions:
In the Parallel Integrated (PI) sequence, teachers made explicit references to skills from part (2) during the part (1) activities. In the Parallel Non-Integrated (PN-I) sequence, teachers did not make these references.
Additional information is provided below.
- The add-on intervention was implemented for 10 weeks during a half-day kindergarten program. Children in each kindergarten participate in a broad array of subjects throughout the day, but specific information on other literacy activities is not provided.
- There is no home component.
- The teachers that implemented each condition had a wide range of experience. They were hired for this study and it was not clear whether or not they were the students' normal classroom teachers.
- A specific list of materials is not provided, but cards with picture representations of words were used during the activities without printed letters.
- Each instructional sequence is scripted and involves specific activities and examples.
-Formative assessments of students were administered during weeks 2,4,6, and 8 of the study using the DIBELS Phonemic Segmentation and Nonsense Word Fluency subtests.
- Implementation fidelity was measured by the investigator, using a checklist of critical lesson features and the scripted lesson to monitor lesson delivery. Full observations were made of 27% of the total number of lessons and partial observations were made of 61% of the total number of lessons. After observations, the investigator provided feedback, offered additional training or modeled activities if necessary.
This study compares the PI and PN-I instructional sequences, both of which are described above. The only difference is that teachers in the PI sequence make explicit references to blending and segmenting phonemes during the portion of the lesson otherwise dedicated to printed letters.
Support for implementation
Teachers who implemented the treatments participated in three hours of training on the first 20 lessons before the beginning of the study, and an additional three hours of training prior to the last 20 lessons. The study author delivered the training, modeled activities and allowed teachers to practice. Teachers were encouraged to develop a conceptual understanding of critical features of lessons in both conditions, as they were each responsible for implementing both treatments. After fidelity observations, the investigator provided feedback, offered additional training or modeled activities if necessary.