PxPixel
Study Results Challenge Commonly Held Reading Instruction Beliefs - Tech Learning

Study Results Challenge Commonly Held Reading Instruction Beliefs

Researchers at the University of Iowa are poised to release study results that challenge long-held beliefs about the effectiveness of traditional reading instruction. The study, which will be published in the January edition of the Developmental Psychology journal, shows greater variation is critical to students’ reading development. The findings are in sharp contrast to traditional reading instruction, which is based on the similarity of words and letters. Researchers used a version of Access Code, the first program to apply the Varied Practice Model to how students learn reading skills, to conduct the experiment with more than 200 first-grade students.
Author:
Publish date:

‘Access Code’ and Varied Practice Model help students better learn crucial reading skills, researchers find

IOWA CITY, Iowa (Dec. 18, 2012) – A study that will be published in the January 2013 edition of the Developmental Psychology journal shows greater variation is critical to students’ reading development. This is a deviation from long-held beliefs about the effectiveness of the traditional instructional approach, which is based on the similarity of words and letters. Researchers used a version of Access Code, the first program to apply the Varied Practice Model to how students learn reading skills, to conduct the experiment. Access Code was created by Foundations in Learning, developer of applications based on the science of how students learn.

“The Varied Practice Model overcomes the well-established weaknesses of traditional phonics instruction,” said Foundations in Learning Co-Founder Jerry Zimmermann, Ph.D. “The Varied Practice Model is known to enhance the retention, generalization and application of skills, which is why we applied the model when developing Access Code.”

The study tested the underlying principle of the Varied Practice Model, which has been successfully used in domains such as speech, sports, mathematics, art and music. Access Code incorporates the Varied Practice Model unlike any other reading curriculum. For this reason, researchers at the University of Iowa chose to implement a portion of the web-based application for purposes of the study.

Results surprised even the research team.

The research demonstrated the power of systematic variation in learning to read. Students experiencing more variation in words showed better learning when tested on the words and tasks they encountered in training. More importantly, variation helped students generalize these fresh skills to new words and new tasks.

“Variability was good for the low-performing students, it was good for the high-performing students. It was good for the boys, it was good for the girls. It was good for the words, it was good for the non-words,” said University of Iowa doctoral student Keith Apfelbaum.

Apfelbaum and associate professors Bob McMurray and Eliot Hazeltine of the Department of Psychology in the University of Iowa studied 224 first-grade students in the West Des Moines, Iowa, school system. In the experiment, some students learned words organized by traditional phonics instruction, which uses similar word sets to help illustrate the rules and, presumably, simplify the unit for learners. A second group of students used the curriculum of Access Code, which organizes sets of words that are more varied, appearing to make the lesson more difficult.

After three-to-four days of training on phonics skills such as spelling and matching letters, the students from both groups were tested to see if they could read words that they had never seen before, read novel non-words and apply their newly learned skills to tasks they hadn’t done before.

“We were expecting a very subtle effect, maybe similar words would help you learn the words you were trained on but maybe not generalize as well, or maybe similar words would help you learn the more difficult rules but you might want variability for the easier ones, but in no case was similarity more helpful than variability,” McMurray said. “This suggests a powerful principle of learning. While we’ve known about this in a variety of laboratory tasks for a while, this study shows for the first time that this principle also applies to early reading skills.”

Developmental Psychology publishes articles that advance knowledge and theory about development across the life span. To access the study, visit www.apa.org/journals/dev.

For more information about Access Code and the Varied Practice Model, visit www.foundations-learning.com.

About Foundations in Learning
Foundations in Learning develops applications, driven by effective learning principles, to optimize student learning. The organization’s flagship application, Access Code, has proved to enhance fluency and comprehension of students with varying abilities by improving fundamental skills. The application draws on years of research from the science of learning. The web-based delivery of Access Code allows it to be tailored to each learner and makes it easy to implement. For more information, phone 888-701-3009, or visit www.foundations-learning.com.

Media Contacts
• John Sims, Foundations in Learning, 319-248-1269, x102, jsims@foundations-learning.com
• Saul Hafenbredl, C. Blohm & Associates, 608-216-7300 x25, saul@cblohm.com

Featured

Related

Two Esteemed Peer-Reviewed Educational Journals Publish Studies from Lexia Learning  Researchers on Using Blended Learning for Literacy Instruction promo image

Two Esteemed Peer-Reviewed Educational Journals Publish Studies from Lexia Learning Researchers on Using Blended Learning for Literacy Instruction

Reading Psychology Study Shows Effects of Teacher Engagement; Journal of Educational Research Study Focuses on Outcomes for Diverse Students at a Title I School   BOSTON (May 10, 2017) – Reading Psychology and the Journal of Educational Research, two highly acclaimed peer-reviewed education journals, have published findings from two different studies conducted by Lexia Learning, a Rosetta Stone Inc. (NYSE: RST) company. The study published in Reading Psychology explores the influence of teacher engagement on the implementation of a blended learning reading program; the study published in the Journal of Educational Research discusses the effects of the blended learning program’s school-wide implementation at an urban Title I elementary school.

The Virtual High School to Enrich Online Judaic Studies  Curriculum Offerings at The Jewish Academy promo image

The Virtual High School and Landmark School Release Report on the Need for Study Skills Instruction for College and Career Readiness

Boston — Dec. 14, 2015 — Research shows that study skills are a crucial element for academic success from early adolescence through college; however, many middle and high school students have not received explicit instruction in study strategies nor practice using such strategies in the classroom.  As a result students struggle to master course content and are unprepared for future postsecondary work. To help educators understand the importance of study strategies, The Virtual High School (VHS, Inc.) has partnered with Landmark School, Inc., a leader in developing strategies for effective student study skills, to release a report titled “Why are Study Skills Essential to Academic Success?”  

EPS Literacy and Intervention's Innovative Math and Reading Intervention Tools Result in Impressive Gains for Houston-Area School

Ridgegate Elementary Sees Achievement Skyrocket and Enthusiasm for Learning SoarGREENVILLE, Wis. (April 24, 2013) – Last year, when Principal Lavanta Williams first came to Ridgegate Elementary School in Fort Bend, Texas, the school was considered “low performing” in math and reading proficiency, after failing to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) targets for both subjects. He was in need of new ways to move his students forward and get them excited about the subjects they were learning. Today, state assessment tests show Ridgegate has met its AYP targets for both reading and math, with 90 percent and 86 percent of students meeting the standards respectively, with an increase of 12 percent in both subjects over the previous year. Principal Williams credits a customized intervention solution from EPS Literacy and Intervention, a division of School Specialty, for spurring these impressive gains in math and reading among his students.

Lexia Reading Core5 Selected as Essential Part of Literacy Instruction at Charter Schools in Arkansas, District of Columbia

Personalized Learning Approach Proven Effective in Advancing Foundational Reading Skills for Students of All Abilities in Grades Pre-K–5    BOSTON — Feb. 10, 2014 — As educators strive to strike the right balance between technology and traditional teacher-led instructional methods, KIPP Delta Elementary Literacy Academy in Arkansas and E.L. Haynes Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., are joining thousands of schools nationwide who have turned to Lexia Reading Core5™ to help students accelerate the development of critical foundational literacy skills and help empower higher levels of teacher effectiveness.