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Phonics versus look-say: Transfer to new words

Carnine, D.
This experiment compared two beginning reading approaches: sounds (phonic) and word (look say). The study extended previous research conducted by Jeffrey and Samuels (1967) by measuring transfer effects to irregular words and by attempting to more closely replicate classroom teaching procedures. 26 four and five year old preschool students were randomly selected from a group of 82 students to participate in the study. None of the students were enrolled in any formal reading program. The 26 students were randomly assigned to either the sounds or word treatment. The sounds treatment consisted of four components: a) sound-symbol correspondence, b) blending, c) word reading, and d) transfer test. The word treatment consisted of two components: word reading and transfer test. 24 phonetically regular, consonant-vowel-consonant words were constructed using only 8 letters. 18 words were randomly selected for treatment sessions. The remaining six words and six phonetically irregular words from the Dolch list comprised the transfer words. For every child the teacher recorded the instructional time, correct transfer word responses, and correct sound identifications. Following the completion of the study, 13 of the students were administered the Slosson Intelligence Test. Results indicated that transfer effects to irregular words are greater for a sounds teaching approach than a words teaching approach. The mean time for students in the sounds group to read all 18 words correctly was 116.5 minutes. The mean time for the words group was 132.4 minutes. The mean IQ for the sounds group was 120.9 and 130.8 for the word group. (Copyright © 2011, National Institute for Direct Instruction (NIFDI). All rights reserved).
Research areas:
Main publication type:
Program Effectiveness
Beginning reading, sound-symbol correspondence, blending, word reading, Slosson Intelligence Test
The Reading Teacher
Design type:
Post-test only control group design
Fidelity monitored:
Students included:
Preschool students
Other tags:
Beginning reading, sound-symbol correspondence, blending, word reading, Slosson Intelligence Test
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