WWC review of this study

An investigation of three approaches to teaching phonological awareness to first-grade students and the effects on word recognition (Doctoral dissertation).

Gunn, B. K. (1996). Available from ProQuest Dissertations and Theses database. (UMI No. 9706736)

  • Randomized controlled trial
    , grade

Reviewed: November 2015

No statistically significant positive
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Substantively important negative effects found
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
Significant? Improvement

Woodcock Reading Mastery Test- Revised (WRMT-R): Word Identification subtest

Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® (LiPS®) vs. Supplemental reading instruction


Grade 1;
23 students




More Outcomes

Woodcock Reading Mastery Test- Revised (WRMT-R): Word Attack subtest

Lindamood Phoneme Sequencing® (LiPS®) vs. Supplemental reading instruction


Grade 1;
23 students





Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Female: 65%
    Male: 35%
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The study included two elementary schools in one Pacific Northwest school district.

Study sample

Thirty-five first-grade students from five classrooms in two schools who were identified as having low phonological awareness skills based on performance on the Test of Phonological Awareness (TOPA) participated in the study. The students were organized into six groups, and these groups were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: Complete Auditory Discrimination in Depth (CADD, which is now known as LiPS®, included 11 students), the basal reading program (BASAL, which included 13 students), or Modified Auditory Discrimination in Depth (MADD, which included 11 students). The MADD condition is not eligible for review, as it is a modified version of the LiPS® program. Therefore, the 11 students in the MADD condition are excluded from this review. The CADD group’s analytic sample included five male and six female students, with a mean age of 6.35 years. The BASAL (comparison) group’s analytic sample included three male and nine female students, with a mean age of 6.47 years. All students who participated in the study scored at or below the 15th percentile on the TOPA, which was used as a screening test and administered prior to randomization.

Intervention Group

The LiPS® program is designed to teach students the skills they need to decode and encode words and to identify individual sounds and blends in words. For this study, instruction focused on five components of the CADD program: (a) setting the climate for learning, (b) identifying and classifying speech sounds, (c) tracking speech sounds, (d) spelling, and (e) reading. As a supplement to regular classroom reading instruction, CADD instruction was delivered to small groups of five to six students. Instruction was provided for 30 minutes every day for 8 weeks (40 sessions total). During this period, all consonant pairs specified in CADD guidelines were introduced, but there was insufficient time to introduce consonant groups and some vowel sounds.

Comparison Group

Students in the comparison (BASAL) group received supplemental reading instruction that incorporated phonological awareness activities from the basal reader adopted for use in the regular classroom. The classroom reading basal at School A was the Scribner Reading Series, Join the Circle (Scribner, 1997); the classroom reading basal at School B was the Open Court Series, Blue Pillow Sky (Open Court, 1989). The supplemental instruction was provided to students in a small room near the first-grade classroom for approximately 30 minutes each day for 40 days (8 weeks).

Outcome descriptions

Two outcomes in the alphabetics domain met review requirements. These outcomes were the WRMT-R Word Identification subtest and the Word Attack subtest. For a more detailed description of these outcome measures, see Appendix B. Supplemental findings are presented in Appendix D on WRMT-R results for a 4-week delayed posttest and an 8-week delayed posttest. The supplemental findings do not factor into the intervention’s rating of effectiveness. Outcomes in two domains (alphabetics and reading fluency) did not meet review requirements. The Lindamood Auditory Conceptualization Test (LACT) in the alphabetics domain was overaligned with the intervention. The Curriculum-Based Oral Reading Fluency Test in the reading fluency domain was developed by the study authors. No reliability information was provided for this outcome, so it did not meet review requirements because the reliability of the test could not be established.

Support for implementation

The two teachers providing instruction for the CADD, MADD, and BASAL programs each received 18 hours of pre-service training on the published formats and guidelines for each program. The two teachers also met with the investigator for 2 hours each week for 8 weeks for additional pre-service training. Daily lesson plans developed by the investigator were also provided to the two teachers.


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