Six kindergarten and six first-grade classrooms in a middle-class, suburban elementary school in a southeastern state.
Participants were 72 students (36 kindergarteners and 36 first graders). To determine eligibility, the district-administered Literacy Initiative for Everyone (LIFE, 1996) inventory
was used. Kindergarteners who did not meet district criteria on three of the five kindergarten LIFE subtests and first graders who were below grade level expectations on five
of the seven first-grade LIFE subtests were then given the PPVT-III. Seventy-two randomly selected students who met the LIFE requirement and received a standard score
of 85 or higher on the PPVT-III formed the sample eligible for this study. These students were then randomly assigned to one of three conditions: DaisyQuest (intervention),
teacher-administered phonological awareness training (comparison 1); or math and drawing software programs (comparison 2). Twenty-four students were assigned to each
study group, half kindergarteners and half first graders. Three students total were lost to attrition, for an analysis sample of 69.
Intervention students used the DaisyQuest software over a four-week period, involving 15, 20-minute sessions (five hours instruction total). Each child was assigned a specific
computer in the school’s computer lab to use for the length of the study and was guided by an experimenter, who helped them with their earphones and any computer gliches.
Students used both components of the DaisyQuest software.
In comparison 1, students also had 15, 20-minute sessions over a four-week period during which teachers guided them through oral activities focusing on rhyming, articulating
single syllable words, identifying sounds in isolation, and matching phonemes. Instructional materials for this condition were selected from the Phonological Awareness Kit
(Robertson & Salter, as cited in Mitchell & Fox, 2001) and the Phonological Awareness Intermediate Kit (Robertson & Salter, as cited in Mitchell & Fox, 2001).
In comparison 2, students interacted with computers for the same time and duration as the intervention group. Instead of using DaisyQuest, participants used one drawing program,
Kid Works 2 (Davidson, as cited in Mitchell & Fox, 2001), and four math software programs, Math Rabbit (The Learning Company, as cited in Mitchell & Fox, 2001), Troggle Trouble
Math (MECC, as cited in Mitchell & Fox, 2001), Number Maze (Great Wave Software, as cited in Mitchell & Fox, 2001), and New Math Blasters Plus (Davidson, as cited in Mitchell &
Fox, 2001). Like the intervention group, they were guided by an experimenter while using these programs in a computer lab.
The Phonological Awareness Test (PAT) (a) was administered pre- and posttest. Overall PAT (a) scores, as well as scores on its Rhyming, Isolation, Segmentation, and Blending
subtests were reported. (See Appendix A2 for a more detailed description of outcome measures.)
Support for implementation
Teachers did not deliver the intervention or comparison 2, so no information was provided. For comparison 1, the study reported that teachers followed procedures from the
two kits (see above).