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Intervention A, the research base

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  • Beck, I. L., McKeown, M. G., & Kucan, L. (2002). Bringing words to life: robust vocabulary instruction. New York: The Guilford Press.
  • Carnine, D. W., Silbert, J., Kame'enui, E. J., & Tarver, S. G. (2004). Direct instruction reading. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.
  • Ehri, L. (1999). Phases of development in learning to read words. In J. Oakhill & R. Beard (Eds.), Reading Development and the Teaching of Reading: A Psychological Perspective, 79-108. Oxford, UK: Blackwell Publishers.
  • Hanna, P. R., Hanna, J. S., Hodges, R. E., & Rudolf, E. H. (1966). Phoneme-grapheme correspondences as cues to spelling improvement. U.S. Government Printing Office.
  • Nagy, W. E. (1988). Teaching vocabulary to improve reading comprehension. Newark, DE: International Reading Association.
  • Nagy, W. E., Herman, P., & Anderson, R. C. (1985). Learning words from context. Reading Research Quarterly, 20, 233-253.
  • National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (2000). Report of the National Reading Panel. Teaching children to read: an evidence-based assessment of the scientific research literature on reading and its implications for reading instruction.
  • Rosenshine, B., Meister, C., & Chapman, S. (1996). Teaching students to generate questions: A review of intervention studies. Review of Educational Research, 66, No. 2, 181-221.
  • Speece, D. L., & Ritchey, K. D. (2005). A longitudinal study of the development of oral reading fluency in young children at risk for reading failure. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 38, 387-399. "An important finding was that reading fluency problems are apparent at the same time that children are acquiring word attack skills. Thus, the development of reading fluency may need to be viewed as a concomitant process in the earliest stages of learning to read words, rather than as a product of learning to read. The facility with which students are able to read as early as the middle of first grade has an impact on second-grade performance and possibly beyond. Early reading instruction may need to target not only word recognition but also fluent word recognition."

Phonological awareness

  • Ball, E. W., & Blachman, B. A. (1991). Does phoneme awareness training in kindergarten make a difference in early word recognition and developmental spelling? Reading Research Quarterly, 24(1), 49-66.
  • Bear, D. R., Invernizzi, M., Templeton, S., & Johnston, F. (2008). Words their way: word study for phonics, vocabulary, and spelling instruction. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Blevins, W. (1997). Phonemic awareness activities for early reading success. New York: Scholastic Professional Books.
  • Elkonin, D. B. (1973). Reading in the USSR. In J. Downing (Ed.), Comparative Reading (pp 551-579). New York: Macmillan. A widely used method for linking the sounds in spoken words with the movement of physical objects to help students identify phonemes.
  • Fitspatrick, Jo (1997). Phonemic Awareness: Playing with Sounds to Strengthen Beginning Reading Skills, Creative Teaching Press, Inc.
  • Hoien, T., Lundberg, I., Stanovich, K. E., & Bjaalid, I. (1995). Components of phonological awareness. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 7, 171-188. Concludes that measures of phonological but not phonemic skills (rhyme- or syllable-oriented) are not as predictive of reading growth as measures of phonemic awareness. This suggests that rhyme- and syllable-based activities may make good 'warm-ups,' but the most instructionally valuable activities are phoneme-based.
  • O'Connor, R., Jenkins, J., & Slocom, T. (1995). Transfer among phonological tasks in kindergarten: Essential instructional content. Journal of Educational Psychology, 87, 202-217.
  • Olson, R., Forsberg, H., Wise, B., & Rack, J. (1994). Measurement of word recognition, orthographic, and phonological skills. In G. R. Lyon (Ed.), Frames of reference for the assessment of learning disabilities, 243-277) Baltimore: Brookes. An identical twin study which concludes that about half the variation in phonological skills is inherited. Unlike other inherited skills (musical ability for example), weakness in phonological skills cannot be left unremediated without severe consequences for the child.
  • Spector, C.C. (1999). Sound effects: activities for developing phonological awareness. Eau Claire, Wisconsin: Thinking Publications.
  • Torgesen, J. K., & Mathes, P. G. (2000). A Basic Guide to Understanding, Assessing, and Teaching Phonological Awareness. Pro-Ed. A solid summary of the research and review of assessments and instructional programs. Makes the point that "it is possible to have a lack of talent in the area of phonological processing that does not affect the ability to become a good speaker or hearer of one's native language, but that does affect early reading development. The reason for this is that reading requires children to become consciously aware of the phonemic segments in words whereas speech does not."
  • Zgonc, Yvette (2000). Sounds in Action: Phonological Awareness Activities & Assessment, Crystal Springs Books.


  • Bhattacharya, A., & Ehri, L. (2004. Graphosyllabic analysis helps adolescent struggling readers read and spell words. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 37, 331-348. A method for teaching students to chunk syllables to help decode multi-syllabic words.
  • Carnine, D. W. (1976). Similar sound separation and cumulative introduction in learning letter-sound correspondence. Journal of Educational Research, 69, 368-372.
  • Carnine, D. W. (1981). Reducing training problems associated with visually and auditorily similar correspondences. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 14, 276-279. When teaching letter-sound correspondences, separating visually similar (m, n) and auditorily similar (f, v) letters in the learning sequence helps.
  • Ehri, L.C. (1980). Grapheme-phoneme knowledge is essential for learning to read words in English. In J. Metsala & L. Ehri (Eds.), Word recognition in beginning reading, 3-40. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Ehri, L.C. (1995). Teachers need to know how word reading processes develop to teach reading effectively to beginners. In C.N. Hedley, P. Antonacci, & M. Rabinowitz (Ed.), Thinking and Literacy: The Mind at Work 167-188. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.
  • Foorman, B. R., Francis, D. J., Fletcher, J. M., Schatschneider, C., & Mehta, P. (1998). The role of instruction in learning to read: Preventing reading failure in at-risk children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 90, 37-55. Children taught with reading programs that deliver direct phonics instruction improved in word reading at a faster rate and had higher word-recognition skills than those receiving implicit instruction. Effects were most apparent in children with poorer initial phonological processing skills.
  • Fry, E. (2004). Phonics: A Large Phoneme-Grapheme Frequency Count Revised. Journal of Literacy Research, v36 n1 p85-98 Spr 2004. 14 pp. Analyzes the frequency of letter-sound correspondences in a large English dictionary. Note that this is different to the frequency of encountering a letter-sound in text since the study does not take into account the frequency of occurrence of each word in the dictionary.
  • Kessler B & Treiman R. (2001). Relationships between Sounds and Letters in English Monosyllables, Journal of Memory and Language 44, 592–617. An analysis of spelling patterns for monosyllabic words reveals patterns in which the coda (the part of the word immediately after the vowel) consistently alters the vowel sound. For instance, the most-common sound of the letters ai is the sound in wait but that sound is altered when followed by the letter r as in chair. This suggests that some patterns are instructionally more valuable than others.
  • Ramsey, Michelle K (1999). Phonics Games Kids Can't Resist! Scholastic.
  • Weisberg, P., & Savard, C. F. (1993). Teaching preschoolers to read: Don't stop between the sounds when segmenting words. Education and Treatment of Children, 16, 1-18. Provides evidence that, when teaching, segmenting "Sam" as "sssaaammm" may be more effective than segmenting it as /s/, /a/, /m/.
  • Weisberg, P., Andracchio, B. J., & Savard, C. F. (1989). Oral blending in young children: Effects of sound pauses, initial sound, and word familiarity. Journal of Educational Research, 82, 139-145.
  • Wylie, R.E., & Durrell, D.D. (1970). Teaching vowels through phonograms. Elementary English, 47, 787-791. A widely used source of high-frequency word families such as -ack, -eed, and -ock.

Vocabulary and Comprehension

  • Ambruster, B. & Osborn, J. (2001). Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read. National Institute for Literacy.
  • Beck, I.L., McKeown, M.G., & Kucan, K. (2002). Bringing words to life: Robust vocabulary instruction. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Block, C.C. & Pressley, M. (2002) Comprehension Instruction: Research-Based Best Practices. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Collins, Kathy. (2004). Growing Readers. Units of Study in the Primary Classroom. Stenhouse Publishers.
  • Collins, Norma Decker. (1993). Teaching Critical Reading Through Literature. ERIC Clearinghouse on Reading English and Communication.
  • Ellis, Edwin S. (2002). The Clarifying Theme: Elaborating Vocabulary Instruction. Edge Enterprises.
  • Graves, M.F. (2006). Teaching Word-Learning Strategies. In The Vocabulary Book (pp. 91-118). New York; Newark, DE; and Urbana, IL: Teachers College Press; International Reading Association; and National Council of Teachers of English.
  • Keene & Zimmermann. (2007). Mosaic of Thought: Teaching Comprehension in a Reader's Workshop, 2nd Edition. Heinemann.
  • Kieffer, M. & Lesaux, N. (2007). Breaking Down Words to Build Meaning: Morphology, Vocabulary, and Comprehension in the Urban Classroom. The Reading Teacher, 61, No.2.