“Effectiveness of Phonics for an Intensive
Remedial Program”

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by: Dr. Susan Cobb, PhD; Walter Peach, PhD; Charles Bonds, PhD;
Doris Kennedy, PhD. (Georgia Southern)

The Char-L Intensive Phonics program was implemented within a six-week summer program for 39 students with learning and/or behavior problems. Using the Brigance Inventory as a pre and post-test measure, significant gains were noted in reading and reading related skills for 22 of the students with mean score gain for the remaining 17.

Beginning with the 1970's the importance of phonics teaching seemed to have become generally accepted and the research question turned to what kind of phonics program would be most effective.

Classroom research shows that on the average, children who are taught phonics get off to a better start in learning to read than children who are not taught phonics (Chall, 1989). The purpose of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of the Char-L Intensive Phonics Program (Lockhart, 1989) within a six-week summer tutorial program entitled Reading Enrichment Summer Tutorial (REST) and the Summer Opportunity School (SOS). These summer programs for elementary age students used Char-L Intensive Phonics as the focal point of the morning schedule.

This program appears useful with students having difficulty in reading and spelling, a student who is a "beginner," or for adults who wish to improve their reading skills.

Projects REST and SOS involved six classrooms for elementary age students, grades two through six. All 39 students had some type of reading/learning problem, most falling into the guidelines of learning disabilities, and/or behavior disorders with the exception of three who were in the program for enrichment.

These students were instructed in small group tutorial situations for the most part. There were three thirty-minute segments of intensive phonics on various levels. These involved letter recognition, word-attack skills, spelling, decoding, vocabulary expansion, comprehension skills, writing and utilization of combined skills.

Although only six weeks of phonics instruction were given, significant gains were noted for one group. The authors found word attack skills improved for students completing other academic tasks requiring reading such as math word problems, language experience and leisure time reading.

Reference: "Reading Improvement" Fall 1990, Volume 27, Pgs:218, 219.