Wednesday, April 13, 2011

National Reading Panel Report (2000)

NRP Report ~ Chapter 2 ~ Alphabetics 
Part I. Phonemic Awareness Instruction

Summary of the Review of Literature and Meta-analysis of data from experimental and quasi-experimental designs

Definition: "PA is the ability to focus on and manipulate phonemes in spoken words." p. 2-1

Common Tasks used to Assess PA:

  1. Phoneme isolation recognizes individual phonemes in words, e.g., "What is the first sound in man?" (/m/)
  2. Phoneme identity requires recognition of a common sound in different words, e.g., "What might be the same sound you hear in these words: bear, box, bug?" (/b/)
  3. Phoneme categorization requires identifying a word in a sequence of three or four words without a similar sound, e.g., "Which one of these words doesn't belong with the others, bag, bike, rat?"  (rat)
  4. Phoneme blending requires listenting to a sequence of separated sounds and combing them to form a word, e.g., "What word do you think this is /k/ /a/ /t/?" (cat)
  5. Phoneme segmentation requires breaking a word into sounds through pronouncing them, moving a marker for each sound, or tapping for each sound, e.g., "How many phonemes do you hear in pot?" (/p//o//t/ - 3)
  6. Phoneme deletion recognizes a new word when one phoneme is removed, e.g., "What is stop without the /s/?" (top)
Results of phonemic awareness instruction compared to other types of instruction aimed at developing phonemic awareness. 
  • PA outcomes large effect size: 0.86
  • on reading moderate effect: 0.53
  • on spelling 0.59
  • Effects significant on follow up tests, on measures of the ability to read words and pseudowords, and on reading comprehension. Significant on standardized tests and experimenter tests. 
  • "Teaching children to manipulate phonemes in words was highly effective across all literacy domains and outcomes." (p. 2-3)

Moderator findings:
Effects on learning PA
  • Absence of halo and Hawthorne effects
  • Training didn't generalize to math performance.
  • PA acquired under all conditions but some had greater effects, e.g., focused and explicit instruction on one or two skills than when taught three or more. 
  • Using letters in manipulations helped normal and at-risk children
  • Small group instruction had greater effect than individual and whole class instruction
  • 5 to 18 hrs of instruction produced larger effect sizes than shorter or longer treatments.
  • Greater effects for beginning at risk children (PreK-K) than older disabled readers and even first grade.
  • SES exerted no impact on effect size
Effects on reading
  • Effects on reading greater for experimenter tests than standardized (not sensitive to PA skills)
  • Blending and segmenting more effective than multiple skill instruction.
  • Largest effects with at-risk children over disabled and normally developing.
  • Small group over individual and classroom
  • preschoolers much larger effect on reading than students in other grade levels.
  • English learners had larger effects than other languages.
  • mid to high SES - higher effects than low SES
Effects on spelling
  • Minimal effects on spelling (not significant from 0)
  • Teaching manipulations with letters had more impact on spelling than no letters
  • Kindergarten made greater gains from PA training in spelling than 1st graders did
  • Mid to high SES had larger effects on spelling than low SES
  • English > than other languages
Design Analysis
  • Rigorous design yielded significant effects
  • Random assignemt effect sizes on reading moderate to large
  • Trainer fidelity yielded moderate effects.
  • Treated and untreated controls did not produce larger effect sizes (indicating no Hawthorne effect)
  • Large studies showed significant effects (moderate in size)
  • Small groups showed greatest effects
  • PA can be taught and it is effective under a variety of teaching conditions with a variety of learners.
  • PA instruction helps children learn to read words and pseudowords.
  • PA training boosted reading comprehension (indirect influence)
  • PA instruction helped all types of children improve in reading, from normally developing, at risk, and disabled readers (and children in grades 2-6), kindergarten, and 1st, across SES levels, and English learners
  • It assists children in learning to spell, especially K and 1st grade but not for disabled readers
  • Manipulating with letters is more effective
Implications for Reading Instruction
  • Acquiring PA is a means to reading acquisition, not an end in itself, which is why letters should be included.
  • Children differ in PA and some need more instruction. Benefits greatest to non-readers. Readers may not need any PA instruction
  • PA training isn't a complete reading program but it's an important component. Doesn't guarantee children will learn to read and write but strongly correlated with reading success.
  • Motivation of the student and teacher has not been addressed in research. Techniques, however, are more likely to develop PA if they are relevant and exciting, in order to engage children's attention and interest.
  • NRP cannot infer that every teacher and student experienced success in acquiring PA or transferring it to reading and writing as indicated by variation within and across individual studies. 
  • Training lasting less than 20 hours was most effective.
Directions for Further Research
  • Need research identifying what teachers need to know and do to teach PA effectively and integrate it with other elements of beginning reading instruction.
  • Need to study whether small groups are the most effective way to teach PA and if so, processes and conditions that make the approach effective.
  • Need research to evaluate motivational properties of PA training and ways of enhancing motivation and interest.
  • Need research to determine how PA can be taught with computers (effectively) with transfer to spelling and reading.

Report Details 

Design Features

  • Pretesting should be given with pretest compared to posttest to evaluate results.
  • Group receiving PA training should be compared to a control group, equivalent in all respects except for no PA instruction. Use of an alternative-treatment control is preferable to no-treatment to rule out the Hawthorne effect.
  • Random Assignment should be used with groups equal in variance
  • Posttests follow training, assess reading and spelling, show that PA training transfers to improve these skills.
  • PA training effects are supported by rigorous experimental design
Other Features of Studies

  • Correlational studies found that children who are or will become disabled readers have poor PA, This may underly and explain their acquisition of reading skills (Bradley & Bryant, 83; bruck, 92; Fawcett & Nicholson, 95) 
  • Being at risk is defined as having low PA or low reading in a large percentage of cases.
  • Training delivery varied. Either researchers or specially trained assistants taught children to manipulate phonemes. Some had classroom teachers as trainers. Few used computers. If teaching PA requires special training, it can't be imposed on classroom teachers. 
  • Effects of PA training examined for teachers, computers, and researchers.
  • one-on-one tutoring was effective but so was small group (Bus and van Ijzendoorn, 1999)

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