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Stockdale, Margaret E.
Teachers' use of sensory activities in primary literacy lessons :
b a study of teachers trained in Accelerated Literacy Learning
h [electronic resource] /
by Margaret E. Stockdale.
[Tampa, Fla.] :
University of South Florida,
ABSTRACT: This study investigated Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) trained teachers' implementation of sensory activities into their classroom instructional practice. There were 38 participants in Phase One that completed questionnaires using a 5-point response scale to indicate their frequency of use for each of 30 sensory activities. All but one participant reported a high use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons, although the grade level did influence the variety and frequency of their reported use. Most primary level teachers reported a high use on many of the activities. Seven teachers of the participants from Phase One participated in interviews for Phase Two, and four of the seven participated in Phase Three which included classroom observations. The major themes that were found in the written comments on the questionnaires and in the interviews were: teacher change, teacher empowerment, strategy talk, and student empowerment. Overall, the teachers reported that their ALL training made a difference in how they conducted their literacy lessons. Teachers' classroom use of sensory activities was compared to the teachers' reported use in the questionnaires. Although some items were over reported and a few under reported, a similar pattern of sensory activity use was found both in the reports and in classroom observations. The book level growth of struggling readers within the classrooms was compared with sensory activity use. The comparison between reading growth and sensory activity use proved to be inconclusive, as other factors such as the variety of activities and the amount of time and text were factors that would need to be taken into consideration.
Dissertation (Ph.D.)--University of South Florida, 2007.
Includes bibliographical references.
Text (Electronic dissertation) in PDF format.
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Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Title from PDF of title page.
Document formatted into pages; contains 160 pages.
Advisor: Susan Homan, Ph.D.
x Reading and Language Arts Education
t USF Electronic Theses and Dissertations.
TeachersÂ’ Use of Sensory Activities in Primary Lite racy Lessons: A Study of Teachers Trained in Accelerated Literacy Learning by Margaret E. Stockdale A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Department of Childhood Education College of Education University of South Florida Co-Major Professor: Susan Homan, Ph.D. Co-Major Professor: Roger Brindley, Ed.D. Nancy Williams, Ph.D. Jeffrey Kromrey, Ph.D. Date of Approval: May 29, 2007 Keywords: multi-sensory, teacher development, prima ry education, reading, case studies Copyright 2007 Margaret E. Stockdale
Dedication This is dedicated to the memory of my mother, Leora Stockdale, who taught me to dream big dreams, To my sister, Patricia Sproull, who would not let me give up, And to my God, who gave me the ability to do the ta sk and the strength to persevere.
Acknowledgements A special thanks to the Phemales, Robin Thompson, R uth Sylvester, Jody Fernandez, Keva Mitchell, and Rewa Williams, who en couraged me during our time together in the program and to keep on going to the end. And also, a special thanks to my doctoral committee Dr. Susan Homan, Dr. Roger Brindley, Dr. Jeffrey Kromrey, and Dr. Nancy Williams for helping me through this dissertation process.
i Table of Contents List of Tables v List of Figures vi Abstract vii Preface ix Chapter I. Introduction 1 The Problem and Its Context 1 History of Interventions 2 Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning 4 Rationale for the Study 7 Purpose of the Study 8 Research Questions 9 Definition of Terms 10 Significance of Study 11 Limitations of the Study 12 Timeline of the Study 13 Chapter II. Literature Review 16 Introduction 16 Perspectives and Initiatives for Reading Education 16 Multiple Ways of Knowing and Learning 19 Early Work with Multi-sensory Learning 19 Psychologists, Intelligence and Learning 23
ii Learning Styles and Modality Studies 25 Brain-based Learning and Multi-sensory Studies 2 7 Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning 37 Professional Development 44 Summary 47 Chapter III. Method 49 Introduction 49 Purpose of the Study 49 Research Questions 50 Design 50 The Researcher 52 Phase One 54 Participants 54 Instrument for Data Collection 55 Data Analysis 58 Phase Two 59 Participants 61 Data Collection 61 Instrument for Data Collection 61 Data Analysis 62 Phase Three 62 Participants 63 Data Instruments 64
iii Data Collection 66 Data Analysis 68 Qualitative Reliability 70 Summary 72 Chapter IV. Results 73 Introduction 73 Phase One 74 Questionnaire Responses 74 Written Responses 82 Phase Two 87 Interviews 88 Teacher Change 90 Teacher Empowerment 92 Strategy Talk 92 Student Empowerment 94 Summary of Research Question One 95 Phase Three 96 Case Study Vignettes 97 Findings for Research Question Two 10 4 Findings for Research Question Three 108 Compare and Contrast Case Studies 115 Summary 115
iv Chapter V. Discussion and Conclusions 117 References 125 Appendices 137 Appendix A: Informed Consent, Phase One 138 Appendix B: Informed Consent, Phase Two and Three 141 Appendix C: Letter to Accompany Questionnaire 144 Appendix D: Sensory Activity Questionnaire 146 Appendix E: Sensory Activity Tally Sheet 148 Appendix F: Sensory Activity Glossary 149 Appendix G: Interview Guide 153 Appendix H: Data Tables for Case Study Teachers 154 Appendix I: Strategy Talk Options 158 About the Author End Page
v List of Tables Table 1 A Historical Look at Multi-sensory Learning 36 Table 2 Research Questions and Data Sources 52 Table 3 Descriptive Statistics for Sensory Activity Questionnaire Items 76 Table 4 High and Low Sensory Activity Usage by Grad e Level 80 Table 5 Comparison of Questionnaire Responses and O bserved 105 Sensory Activity Use Table 6 TeachersÂ’ Observed Frequencies by Modality 108 Table 7 Comparison of Average Daily Sensory Activit y Use and 112 Reading Book Level Growth of Struggling Readers
vi List of Figures Figure 1. Average Book Level Growth by Class 110 Figure 2. Average Book Level Growth of Lowest Stude nts by class 111 Figure 3. Comparison of Average Daily Sensory Activ ity and 112 Book Level Growth Figure 4. Comparison of TeachersÂ’ Visual Activity U se and Book Level Growth 113 Figure 5. Comparison of TeachersÂ’ Auditory Activity Use and Book Level Growth 113 Figure 6. Comparison of Tactile/Kinesthetic Activit y Use and Book Level Growth 114
vii TeachersÂ’ Use of Sensory Activities in Primary Lite racy Lessons: A Study of Teachers Trained in Accelerated Literacy Learning Margaret E. Stockdale ABSTRACT This study investigated Accelerated Literacy Learni ng (ALL) trained teachersÂ’ implementation of sensory activities into their cla ssroom instructional practice. There were 38 participants in Phase One that completed questionna ires using a 5-point response scale to indicate their frequency of use for each of 30 sens ory activities. All but one participant reported a high use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons, although the grade level did influence the variety and frequency of their reported use. Most primary level teachers reported a high use on many of the activities. Seven teachers of the participants from Phase One participated in interviews for Phase Two, and four of the seven participated in Phase Th ree which included classroom observations. The major themes that were found in the written com ments on the questionnaires and in the interviews were: teacher change, teacher empowermen t, strategy talk, and student empowerment. Overall, the teachers reported that their ALL train ing made a difference in how they conducted their literacy lessons. TeachersÂ’ classroom use of sensory activities was c ompared to the teachersÂ’ reported use in the questionnaires. Although some items were ov er reported and a few under reported, a similar pattern of sensory activity use was found b oth in the reports and in classroom observations. The book level growth of struggling r eaders within the classrooms was compared
viii with sensory activity use. The comparison between r eading growth and sensory activity use, proved to be inconclusive, as other factors such as the variety of activities and the amount of time and text were factors that would need to be ta ken into consideration.
ix Preface Who can estimate the potential of one child, and h ow that potential can best be tapped? The life of Helen Keller is a good illustration of an answer to this question. Although born in 1880 with the ability to see and hear, Helen Keller would lose the use of both sensory modalities before the age of two and before she had begun to s ay more than a few words. From that time, until she was seven years old, she was for the most part without language except for a few hand signs that she used with her family to express her wants. Helen was allowed to touch and freely roam throughout her home environment highly develop ing her ability to recognize things tactilely (Lawlor, 2001). This would be a great as set later when Anne Sullivan came to be her teacher. Helen gained knowledge through touching, tasting a nd smelling the things around her. Her teacher, Anne Sullivan, used these strengths to successfully teach her to talk and read. Sullivan taught Helen finger spelling and then used it to talk to her. She would spell full sentences into HelenÂ’s hand and then use gestures, real objects, and actions to illustrate the meaning of what was being said. Sullivan Â“used no schedule, no school room, and no planned lessonsÂ” (Dash, 2001, p. 30). Instead, she followed the needs of her student, teaching Helen things that related to her personal world. Reading was learned by using pieces of cardboard with raised print which Helen and her teacher would use to label things or actions. Later when HelenÂ’s knowledge of language had expan ded, Anne Sullivan would teach her the subjects that students were usually taught in school. Eventually, Helen Keller would continue her studies and graduate from Radcliff Uni versity. As an adult, she wrote several books and became a spokesperson for the American Federati on of the Blind.
x Who would have predicted Helen KellerÂ’s potential contribution to society before Anne Sullivan became her teacher? Probably even her par ents were surprised at her accomplishments. But the key, was a teacher who was willing to use w hatever worked to help her become what she could be. A wise writer in the book of Proverbs sa id, Â“Train up a child in the way that he should go (and in keeping with his individual gift or bent ), and when he is old he will not depart from itÂ” (Lockman Foundation, 1965,p. 732). Perhaps the secret to successful teaching is viewi ng each student as a unique individual learner and providing each with a rich environment, which will allow each one to flourish regardless of apparent weaknesses. Success in spite of individual challenges is supported by the International Reading AssociationÂ’s (2000) first th ree principles in the position statement from Making a Difference Means Making It Different: Hono ring ChildrenÂ’s Rights to Excellent Reading Instruction. 1. Children have a right to appropriate early readi ng instruction based on their individual needs. 2. Children have a right to reading instruction tha t builds both the skill and the desire to read increasingly complex materials. 3. Children have a right to well-prepared teachers who keep their skills up to date through effective professional development. (pp. 3 -5)
1 Chapter I Introduction to the Study The Problem and Its Context Literacy educators today face a major challenge. G iven the imperative Â“No child left behindÂ” in the Federal Reading First Initiativ e (Sopko, 2002), educators are expected to have every child reading on level by third grade Although this goal has existed through other initiatives for a number of years, in 1996 40% of fourth and eighth graders were still reading below what is considered a basic reading level. By the year 2004, the gap for fourth graders had narrowed to about 30%, b ut the eighth graders only improved to 39% (National Center for Educational Statistics, 1996, 2006). As we still face the challenge of finding ways to prevent reading diffic ulties for a significant segment of our population, we need to investigate teaching techniq ues that will help teachers effectively instruct all children in their classes. In the early part of the 20th century, students who had difficulty in school wer e viewed as having less intelligence (Fernald, 1943,1 988). Intelligence at the time was defined and tested in basic academic terms. Since t hat time, researchers such as Guilford (1971) and Gardner (1983) have proposed that there are many other abilities that exist which are different from those traditionally tested and defined as intelligence. As a result of this work it became evident that perhaps instead of asking how intelligent a student is, the question should be, Â“What kinds of intelligence does a student have?Â” In relation to these multiple intelligences or abilities there has been extensive research in the area of
2 learning styles (Barbe, Swassing, & Milone, 1979; C arbo, Dunn & Dunn, 1986; Gardner, 1983; Gregorc, 1982; Myers & Briggs, 1976; Witkin, Moore, Goodenough, & Cox, 1977). A number of the learning styles were related to sensory modality strength. Dunn, Denig and Lovelace (2001) described learning styles and multiple intelligences as two sides of the same coin, similar but with difference s. When comparing the areas listed in multiple intelligences with the sensory modalities of visual, auditory, tactile and kinesthetic there are also areas of congruence. History of Interventions Historically, since the early twentieth century, M ontesorri (Kramer, 1976), Fernald (1943,1988) and Gillingham (Gillingham & St illman, 1956) have used multisensory learning as a method of teaching, especiall y when working with children who were having learning difficulties. Fernald and Gil lingham pioneered teaching reading using visual-auditory-kinesthetic-tactile (VAKT) in structional procedures where students trace, hear, write and see letters, words and sente nces. These VAKT procedures were used in special programs for students who were cons idered to have learning disabilities and were reported to be very effective with that po pulation. Bannatyne and Wichiarajote (1967, 1969) studied the relationships between moto r functioning and writing and spelling abilities and then related them to hemisph eric dominance. In the 1970Â’s and 1980Â’s there were studies (Barbe & Swassing, 1979; Carbo, 1980; Wheeler, 1983; Wingo, 1980) that researched t he relationship between modality preferences and reading achievement. Barbe and Swas sing (1979) and Carbo (1980) strongly recommended that students be taught to rea d using their modality strengths. However, Stahl (1999) writes in his critique that i n five research reviews of studies that
3 attempted to match childrenÂ’s reading styles to the ir learning styles none could substantiate that doing so improved the childrenÂ’s learning. Since brain research (Caine & Caine, 1994) substantiates that the brain is proc essing on many paths, modalities and levels at the same time, and Jensen (1996) reports that learning is best when it provides many options and inputs, then perhaps the multi-sen sory approach provides the developing brain with more options and can lead to the learning gains found by Fernald (1943, 1988) and Gillingham (Gillingham & Stillman, 1956). Multisensory literacy learning studies (Dev, Doyle, & Valente, 2002; Chur chill, Durdel, & Kenney, 1998; Flood, Lapp, & Fisher, 2005; Joshi, Dahlgren, & Bou lware-Gooden, 2002; OÂ”Dea, 1998) have been on the rise in the last few years. The results were especially positive for students considered at-risk. A major point raised by a number of authors on the feasibility of teaching to learning styles was that students should learn to h ave more than one way to take in information so that they can benefit from whatever instruction is given in the classroom (Armstrong, 1988,1994; George, 1993; Geoghegan, 199 6; Stone, 1992; Vail, 1988). It was also suggested that teachers teach so that stud ents, regardless of learning styles, can learn the material. There was a recognition that t eachers of younger children would need to do most of the adapting, while older students co uld use personal knowledge of their learning styles to help themselves learn. Richard Allington (1992) wrote, Â“We have good evid ence from a variety of sources that virtually all children can learn to re ad and write with their peersÂ” (p. 246). Allington discusses a number of programs that have been found effective for helping low-achieving children. He points out that often ed ucators and the public are looking for
4 a quick fix, when an effective solution usually req uires real change and takes a long time. It usually requires more than just a new curriculum or hiring another specialist staff member. Many studies back up AllingtonÂ’s opinion an d are especially focused on preventing reading problems by giving early support to struggling readers (Hiebert & Taylor, 1994; Homan, King, & Hogarty, 2001; King & Homan, 2003; Pinnell, Lyons, Deford, Bryk, & Selzer, 1994; Short, Frye, King, & Homan, 1999; Snow, Burns & Griffin, 1998; Torgesen, 1998; Wasik & Salvin, 1993 ). The teacher is seen as the key to success in these programs. Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning The research of Marie Clay (1982) was based upon ob servation of first grade children learning to read. She studied their liter acy behaviors to discover what they did to become successful readers and contrasted this wi th the literacy behaviors of children struggling to learn to read. She stressed teaching at the point of need. She views the child as the one who constructs the neurological network necessary to effectively orchestrate the complex task of reading and writing (Clay, 2002 ). Low-achieving children have trouble constructing the necessary network of skill s, but she found that such children could be helped by a teacher, who was observant and sensitive to what the child knew and what he or she needed to learn. As a result of this research, Clay developed Reading Recovery, a successful reading intervention for str uggling readers. In recent years, Accelerated Literacy Learning (Br ashears, Homan, & King, 2002; Homan, King, & Hogarty, 2001; King & Homan,2003; Sh ort Frye, King, & Homan,1999; Short, Frye, Homan, & King, 1995) was d eveloped based on ClayÂ’s theoretical foundation. This program has generally targeted the students scoring in the
5 bottom 20% in reading achievement on reading assess ments. The program provides intensive literacy experiences to help these childr en accelerate and Â“catch upÂ” with the average readers in their class. Overall the program has been very effective with approximately 80% of these struggling readers becom ing average or above average readers. Teachers trained in this program receive intensive training over an entire school year. The teachers are trained to use a 30-minute literacy lesson format that includes: teaching reading strategies during the reading of c ontinuous text, running records, writing a student initiated sentence, and working with word s and phonetic knowledge, which are related to the reading and writing experiences in e ach lesson. The consensus of the modality, learning style and multiple intelligence studies (American Association of School Administrators, 199 1; Carbo, Dunn, & Dunn, 1986; Armstrong, 1988, 1994; Jensen, 1996) is that each c hild or student is unique in his or her particular strengths, weaknesses, and preferences. However, the question remains, how can we best meet the needs of at-risk students or a ny of the students in our multi-ethnic classrooms filled with unique children. Clay (2001 ) describes this eloquently: Constructive children use the scaffolds which teach ers provide to lift their progress. It is not the parent, or the teacher, or the politician, or the administrator or the publisher who builds the neurological power pack; that can only be done by the child. For low-achieving children this Â‘constru ctionÂ’ is not going well and something extra must be provided by teachers who ar e expert at fostering constructiveness. (p.2) This has been confirmed by educators (Caine & Caine 1994; Jensen, 1996,1998; Lyons, 2003; Sousa, 2001) who have studied brain research and related it to maximizing learning
6 in the classroom with all students. Caine and Cain e (1994, 1997) have researched the area of teachers learning to implement brain-based learning. Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning both use many of the practices that are seen as essential in brain-based learning. Caine and others (Caine & Caine,1994; Jensen, 1997, 1998; Lyons, 2003; Sousa, 2001) stress the need for learning to be meaningful, in a low stress/high challenge en vironment, providing connections with what is already known, and using as many of the sen ses as possible to provide a strong synaptic network to enhance memory. The teacher trained in observation of the child ca n best help the child develop the skills and strategies necessary to successfully rea d and write. While both Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning have ext ensive year-long teacher training programs which prepare teachers to observe and scaffold their students, there are some differences. Reading Recovery is a fidelity m odel program, which means that each program must be patterned exactly as the prototype program has been set up. Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) is an innovatio n core model, which means that although the theoretical base is the same, there ca n be differences in the way the program is implemented in different settings. One of these innovations has been the classroom push-in model (King & Homan, 2003) where the teache r uses the program within her/his own classroom rather than as a pull out program. B oth Reading Recovery (Woolsey, 1991) and Accelerated Literacy Learning (Brashears, Homan, & King, 2002) have been found effective in shifting the teachersÂ’ belief sy stems to teach children to read by building on the childÂ’s strengths. Additional resea rch (Huck & Pinnell, 1991; Roehrig, Pressley, & Sloup, 2001) found that teachersÂ’ who h ad received training in Reading
7 Recovery used these techniques and strategies in th eir classrooms. Although there have not been comparable studies of the Accelerated Lite racy Learning program, it is reasonable to assume that the training would have s ome influence upon the classroom literacy lessons of teachers who had received ALL i ntervention training. Rationale for the Study While the trends in research seem to have left mos t of the sensory modality research behind, there is a thread of auditory, vis ual, and kinesthetic modalities found in the multiple intelligences, the brain-based learnin g, in much of the learning style literature and now in the recent multi-sensory rese arch. Although much of the previous research did not find a great deal of correlation b etween reading achievement and modality strength (Tarver & Dawson, 1978; Waugh, 19 73), there were some researchers who found providing at least part of the instructio n relating to modality strengths and preferences did enhance achievement (Donovan & Aust in, 1978; Fillmer & Griffith, 1971; George, 1993; Geoghegan, 1996; Stone, 1992). Multi-sensory based instruction was used successfu lly by Montesorri, (Kramer, 1976), Fernald, (1943, 1988) and Gillingham (Gillin gham & Stillman, 1956). They all used activities involving the sensory modalities to promote learning, including incorporating many tactile and kinesthetic activiti es. It has been proposed (Barbe & Swassing ,1979; Carbo, Dunn, & Dunn, 1986) that mod ality strengths change with age and specifically with time in school, but that stud ents learn best if they can at least activate their strongest modality during the initia l learning of a concept. In examining the Accelerated Literacy Learning les son during her years as an ALL trainer, the researcher found that it contains the possibility of many different
8 activities that are actually related to the modalit ies of visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic. These sensory activities are not regimented in a sequential way, but rather are used by the teacher to scaffold the read ing development of the student as needed. When teachers in a training class filled o ut a questionnaire concerning their use of these sensory-related activities before their tr aining and at the end of their training, the teachers indicated that there was a definite change in the variety and frequency of sensory related activities they would use in their literacy lessons as a result of receiving ALL training (Class Survey, Spring, 2003). Purpose of the Study In light of the knowledge that students do have di fferences in the way they learn and that we still have a segment of our student pop ulation that struggles to learn to read, the main purpose of this study was to investigate t he kinds of sensory activities teachers choose to implement in their literacy lessons and t o explore the possibility that their choices may impact the reading progress of struggli ng readers in their classrooms. Researchers (Bond & Dykstra, 1967, 1997; Clay, 2001 ) point to the importance of the teachersÂ’ role in scaffolding the learning of t heir students. A teacher who is trained in observation and sensitive to the needs of the stude nt is more likely to provide the kinds of learning activities that will promote the studentÂ’s learning. In Phase One, this study examined 38 teachersÂ’ se lf-reports of how early intervention training affected their use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons as indicated by their responses to a questionnaire. Se ven of these teachers were interviewed in Phase Two to explore the topic at greater depth. Finally, in Phase Three the researcher also examined how teachersÂ’ reports of sensory acti vity use related to their classroom
9 practice through case studies of four of the teache rs from the original survey group. And the reading growth data from these case studies wer e examined in relation to the use of sensory activities in the classroom. Research Questions 1. What are the variety and frequency of sensory ac tivities used within primary grade literacy lessons by teachers who part icipated in literacy intervention training? 2. What is the relationship between teacher-reporte d use of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice? 3. What is the relationship between observed teache r use of sensory activities and the assessed reading growth of strug gling readers in her/his classroom? In order to investigate these questions the study w as designed in three phases. Phase One was implemented by sending questionnaires to everyone employed in a central Florida school district who had received the year l ong ALL training and had an available current address. The questionnaire was made up of a 5-point response scale for sensory activity use and questions regarding the teacherÂ’s use of such activities for their struggling readers. Phase Two of the study examined sensory activity us e in greater depth through interviews with ALL trained teachers who had filled out the original questionnaire. Although the researcher had planned to interview te achers reporting high and low sensory use, because of extenuating circumstances she inter viewed all of the primary classroom teachers who were willing to be interviewed, using a semi-structured audio-taped
10 interview. Of the seven interviewed, four first gra de teachers were available for observations in their classrooms. In Phase Three, the researcher made five classroom observations of literacy lessons in each of those first grade classrooms. Th e researcher used a tally sheet for sensory activities as well as field notes to gather data during the observations. The researcher then interviewed those four teachers a s econd time allowing the teacher to member check the transcript of the first interview and to answer questions that may have come to light during the observations. Data from o ther sources such pre, mid, and post reading testing were collected from existing data s ources of reading assessment already required by the district, and were used to determin e the student reading growth. Data from both the questionnaires and the case stu dies were compared and contrasted to understand in what ways sensory activ ities were used in these teachersÂ’ literacy lessons and what ways the teachers felt th e training had influenced their use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons. Definitions of Terms ALL Â– Acronym for Accelerated Literacy Learning a lite racy intervention program based upon Marie ClayÂ’s theoretical framewo rk (Brashears, Homan, & King, 2002). Multi-sensory literacy lesson For the purpose of this study, it is defined as a lesson in which the teacher chooses literacy activi ties in which the student uses visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic senses (Fe rnald,1943,1988; Gillingham & Stillman, 1956).
11 Sensory activity For the purpose of this study, it is defined as a n ALL literacy activity that uses visual, auditory, or tactile/kin esthetic senses. Struggling reader As used in Reading Recovery and Accelerated Liter acy Learning a struggling reader is a student who is in the bottom 20% of the class in reading performance (Brashears, Homan, & King, 2002 ; Clay,1993). Significance of the Study With the reading initiatives that legislate the ef forts to have every child on grade level by third grade, our U.S. school personnel and in particular primary level teachers are under much pressure to insure that children are reading successfully. Over the years many curriculums and methods have been tried, but w e still have a large number of children struggling to learn to read (National Cent er for Educational Statistics, 2006). It is important to find ways that teachers can effecti vely facilitate the learning of students that struggle to read. Often this struggle is exace rbated by the fact that they learn differently. Current studies using multi-sensory learning (Dev, Doyle, Valente, 2002; Churchill, Durdel, & Kenney, 1998; Flood, Lapp, & F isher, 2005; Joshi, Dahlgren, Boulware-Gooden, 2002; OÂ’Dea, 1998) as well as hist orical researchers such as Montessori (Kramer, 1976) and Fernald (1943,1988) h ave been found successful in promoting literacy learning for struggling students The Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) program has had years of success in accelerating a great number of struggling readers t o average or above reading progress (Homan, King, & Hogarty, 2001; Short, Frye, Homan, & King, 1995; Short, Frye, Homan, & King, 1997). The purpose of this study wa s to investigate the reported use of
12 sensory and multi-sensory activities by teachers wh o have been trained in ALL. This study also examined the relationship between report ed use and classroom practice of sensory activities. Finally, this study explored th e possibility of a relationship between the teacherÂ’s use of sensory activities in the lite racy lesson and the reading growth of the struggling readers in her/his classroom. Limitations of the Study The researcher in this study had been a trainer fo r the Accelerated Literacy Learning program for two years previously to this s tudy, so there would be some natural biases. She already had expectations of what she wo uld see when she observed in the teachersÂ’ classrooms because she had prior experien ce with observing teachers implementing ALL in their classrooms. She tried to take this into consideration by designing a tally sheet to use during the observati ons. This helped her to remain focused on the investigation of the use of sensory activiti es in literacy lessons by classroom teachers who were ALL trained. Also, she kept a res earch journal to help her process and evaluate her biases in comparison with what she was observing. During the time of the study in 2004, Florida was h it with four hurricanes. This caused school closures and a great deal of stress i n the lives of teachers and students. This disruption affected the sample size, as many teache rs felt too stressed to take part in the study. This was especially true since the study wa s limited to the ALL trained teachers from one west coast county school district that exp erienced school closures all four times. The following timeline illustrates how these events affected this study.
13 Timeline of study. July 17, 2004Researcher received IRB Co nsent Forms. July 20-28, 2004All 109 letters with questionnai res were sent out. August 2, 2004Nineteen completed questionnai res returned so far. August 13, 2004Hurricane Charlie hit, days lo st in first full week of school. August 14, 2004Twenty-six questionnaires retu rned so far, one incomplete. September 5, 2004Hurricane Frances hit causing f looding and power outages. September 6, 2004Thirty-two questionnaires were returned so far, one was incomplete, and five were returned undeliverable. September 10, 2004Planned to send a second maili ng, but delayed because yet another hurricane approaches. September 13, 2004Hurricane Ivan hit with more sc hool closures. September 20, 2004Sent out second mailing to 32 p rimary level teachers who did not respond i n the first mailing. September 26, 2004Hurricane Jeanne hit with power outages and flooding. October 14, 2004Only seven more questionnaires ha ve been returned and none in the last week. Must move with the 39 respon ses. October 20, 2004Letters sent to 14 primary teache rs who indicated they would be willing to be interviewed. November 1, 2004 Only four responses out of the 14 letters sent out, interview times scheduled. November 4, 2004 First two teachers were interviewe d and agreed to classroom visits.
14 November 9, 2004 Interviews conducted with two more teachers. One interview was with a teacher not teaching literacy this year, but the other teacher consented to classroom visits Fifth interview was scheduled with a phone contact. November 11, 2004 Made a classroom observation of f irst focus teacher. November 16, 2004 Fifth interview conducted and a f ourth teacher has agreed to classroom observations. November 2004-January 2005Five classroom observations were made of each of t he four focus teachers. Late January through February 2005Second interviews conducted with four focus teacher s and reading data was gathered. Also, interviewed two ot her primary teachers who contacted the researcher conce rning interviews after the classroom observations had beg un. May, 2005 Final member check with four focus teache rs and collection of end of the year reading data. The fact that schools were closed four different t imes in about six weeks of time caused a great deal of stress on everyone. The scho ol day was lengthened for the entire year, as well as some days originally scheduled to be student holidays were changed to school days. The majority of the questionnaire res ponses came before the second hurricane. By the time the fourth hurricane had hit most of those who had marked a willingness to be interviewed did not even respond to the interview contact letter. Not
15 only did this affect the sample size, but it in the end limited the interviews and case studies in Phase Two and Three to a convenience sam ple (Patton, 2002). Another limitation that occurred as a result of th e disruptions from the hurricanes was the extended time between the completion of the questionnaires and the actual classroom observations. This prevented the researc her from observing the classroom use of the strategies as they would have appeared early in the school year.
16 Chapter II Literature Review Introduction This chapter reviews the literature and research on the unending task of supporting students in literacy learning and some o f the efforts to meet the needs of struggling students. It first describes the perspec tives and initiatives to teach reading to all children. Next, it looks at multiple ways of knowi ng and learning as a means of meeting the needs of these students. The chapter ends with a review of Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning as early reading inte rventions and their relationship to multi-sensory and brain-based education. Perspectives and Initiatives for Reading Education Historically there has been a push to find one Â‘bes tÂ’ way to teach reading. The Â“great debateÂ” in reading (Chall, 1967) has been ra ging over the decades sometimes leaning toward Â“meaning-emphasisÂ” and sometimes tow ard Â“code-emphasisÂ”. Despite the great debate, as much as forty years ago, Russell a nd Fea (1963) stated in the Handbook of Research on Teaching that thinking in the field of reading had moved awa y from Â“one method or set of books to a realization that differ ent children learn in different waysÂ” and Â“that the processes of learning to read and reading are more complex than we once thoughtÂ” (p.867). Some of the findings of the First-Grade Studies (B ond & Dykstra, 1967,1997) supported this belief. The First-Grade Studies incl uded studies from fifteen locations
17 across the United States with 368 participating fir st grade classes, involving 8445 student participants. These studies examined reading progre ss of students from six different reading method groups. In general the findings see med to indicate that no one type of reading instruction was best for all children. In t heir conclusions, Bond and Dykstra listed the following: 1. Reading programs are not equally effective in al l situations. Evidently, factors other than method, within a particular lear ning situation, influence pupil success in reading; 2. Reading achievement is related to other characte ristics in addition to those investigated in this study. Pupils in certain schoo l systems became better readers than pupils in other school systems even wh en pupil characteristics were controlled statistically. Furthermore, these d ifferences do not seem to be directly related to the class, school, teacher, and community characteristics appraised in this study; 3. Future research might well center on teacher and learning situation characteristics rather than methods and materials. The tremendous range among classrooms within any method points out the i mportance of elements in the learning situation over and above m ethods employed. (pp. 122-123) The First-Grade Studies opened the door to the con sideration of socio-cultural and other factors affecting reading achievement. Dykstr a (1968) noted the implications of the study for classrooms, Â“ It is likely that improveme nt in reading instruction can be brought about more efficiently by improved selection and tr aining of teachers, by improved in-
18 service training programs, and by informed school l earning climates than by institutional changes in instructional programsÂ” (p. 11) Literacy has become a focal point in both state and national policy because the job market has evolved to the point that most jobs requ ire adequate skills in literacy. On January 8, 2002, President George W. Bush signed th e No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110), which included the Reading First pr ogram. With new reading initiatives at the state level, such as Just Read, Florida! we find a renewed push for legislators to mandate a particular method or curriculum as the so lution for preventing reading problems. Research such as The Houston Study by Fo orman, Fletcher, Francis, Schatschneider and Mehta (1998) and the National Re ading Panel (2000), have been used to substantiate a strong phonics base with direct i nstruction for reading education. There have been many rebuttals to such a move by leading reading researchers (Allington, 2002; Cunningham, 2001; Pressley, 2002). In fact, Pressley (2002) stated that what he considered to be cutting edge research of the scien tific study of reading was entirely missing from the National Reading Panel report. The problem with broad solutions based upon such research data is that the exceptions to t he proposed solution get washed out in the data especially when all of the qualitative res earch was automatically deleted. Once again, we are left with a solution that is not sens itive to the needs of the individual student. As Frank Smith (1999) wrote, Â“Experimenta l research wants to treat everyone as being the same; educational practice should always regard everyone as individualsÂ” (p. 154). Unlike those proponents of certain methods or curri culums, this study looked at ways teachers teach at-risk students using their ab ility to observe studentÂ’s strengths and
19 weaknesses and how they used that information to pr ovide appropriate multi-sensory activities in their literacy instruction for those students. Multiple Ways of Knowing and Learning Early work with multi-sensory learning. Historically visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic methods have been used for cent uries. Children were taught to look at letters and words and say them out loud as they saw them employing the visual and auditory modalities. Tactile/kinesthetic methods ut ilize touch and movement to enhance learning. In her history of teaching methods Fernal d (1943, 1988) reported that Greek and Roman education applied a tactile/kinesthetic metho d utilizing wax or ivory tablets for students to trace as they learned the letters of th e alphabet. In the late 1800Â’s, Montessori (Montessori, 1964) e mployed a tracing method using direct finger contact on letters and words to teach Italian children who were considered mentally handicapped. MontessoriÂ’s meth ods and materials were not totally original to her. She based her educational methods upon the previous work of French physicians Itard and Seguin. The work of Itard and Seguin during the early 1800Â’s was the result of their desire to educate deaf and ment ally handicapped children. Seguin developed a variety of tactile materials that would be the foundational idea of MontessoriÂ’s sensory-based method (Wentworth, 1999) Fernald (1943, 1988) began a reading clinic at the University of California in 1921 and developed her multi-sensory approach to te aching persons with reading/learning disorders to read. She used the V AKT (visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile) technique with those students who were the most severely disabled readers. The student traced the word while saying the word parts aloud. The word was traced with the
20 finger until the students could write the word with out looking at a copy of it. Most struggling readers were able to begin with the VAK (visual, auditory, kinesthetic). The VAK required the student to look at the word and sa y it by part while looking at it. Then the student would write the word without looking, o rally or silently saying the word parts while writing. These words came from stories dicta ted by the students themselves. Their first reading and writing came from their own stori es. As the students built up a bank of words that could be read and written, they would th en be given appropriate books for reading. This is similar to the language experience method, Ashton-Warner (1965) implemented when teaching reading and writing to Ma ori children in New Zealand through a Â‘key vocabularyÂ’ of words that were perso nally important to them. In her book, Remedial Techniques in Basic School Subjects, Fernald (1943, 1988) largely dismissed lack of normal development of cer tain brain functions, failure to establish unilateral cerebral dominance, lack or co rresponding eye and hand dominance, and handedness as adequate explanations for failure to read in individuals with adequate intelligence. Instead, she felt that the inability to read was most likely caused by individual differences in integrated brain function She substantiated this with data from the Clinic Schools records showing that the majorit y of students in the school had displayed right-eyed and right-handed dominance and yet still were unable to read. After working for nearly thirty years with such cases, sh e concluded that normal brain functioning was interfered with and that inability to learn is most often found when fixed, limited and uniform methods of instruction were use d. Although other researchers, such as Bannatyne and Wichiarajote (1967, 1969) would st udy hemispheric dominance and its effects on learning, later brain studies (Caine & C aine, 1994; Jensen, 19976, 1998;
21 Lyons, 2003; Sousa, 2001) would confirm that the en tire brain is involved and this would substantiate FernaldÂ’s concept of differences in in tegrated brain function. In the same year that she began her clinic, 1921, F ernald (1943, 1988) was involved in two first grade reading experiments whi ch were carried out in two different schools in the Los Angeles area. One of these class es was made up largely of children who were ESL or because of some difficulty were una ble to enter the regular first grade class. At the end of the year, all of the 18 child ren were able to read well enough to go on to the next class and several were promoted to h igher levels. The other school class had 23 beginning students in a class of 44 students In these experiments it was reported that children were allowed to learn to read and wri te in as easy and natural manner as they had learned to talk. No one method was used w ith each child learning in his or her own way. Fernald reported the following: One of the most interesting things about the work h as been the way in which individual differences were evident in the methods of learning used by different children. Some traced just long enough to get the l etter form and then learned any new word by merely looking at it and then writing i t apparently from the visual image. Other children seemed very dependent upon s ome sort of auditory image and said the word over and over to themselves while they looked at it, repeating the word as they wrote it. A few children traced th rough the entire year, although the number of tracings in all cases had been reduce d to a single running of the fingers over the word so that it took no longer for the child to learn the word in this way than by the auditory and visual methods. One point that cannot be
22 emphasized too strongly is that each child was allo wed to use the method by which he learned most easily. (Fernald, 1988, p. 21 4) Although Fernald discussed the use of her technique s in classrooms in her book, over the years her techniques have largely been use d by used by tutors and special education teachers. Some researchers (Ekwall & Shan ker, 1983) felt her techniques were not suitable for large groups of children and shoul d be used only for children who fail to learn by more commonly used methods. Since in her C linic School setting Fernald (1943,1988) had one teaching assistant for every tw o students, she had a very low teacher-pupil ratio. This allowed the students to be taught in such an individualized way. Orton (http:www.interdys.org downloaded 10/14/03) a neuropsychiatrist, was influenced by the kinesthetic-tactile method develo ped by Fernald. He theorized that kinesthetic-tactile reinforcement of visual and aud itory associations could correct the tendency of reversing letters and transposing the s equence of letters while reading and writing. During the 1930Â’s he developed a reading a nd spelling approach. Gillingham worked with Orton and would later expand on his the ories to produce the OrtonGillingham method. Gillingham and Stillman (1970) based the teaching manual, Remedial Training for Children with Specific Disabi lity in Reading, Spelling and Penmanship on Dr. OrtonÂ’s theories and GillinghamÂ’s work with students. This method has continued to be practiced and is still strongly supported by the International Dyslexia Association. They are presently the strongest prop onents of multi-sensory teaching, which they define as using visual, auditory, and ki nesthetic-tactile teaching simultaneously to enhance memory and learning.
23 A major difference in the Fernald approach and the Orton-Gillingham is that Fernald used the studentÂ’s language and interests a s the starting point by using student dictated stories to begin teaching reading, writing and word work. Students learn to write the words using the VAKT multi-sensory method. It m ight be described as beginning with meaning and whole words and then analyzing the words to hear the sounds. In contrast the Orton-Gillingham approach ( http:www.interdys.org downloaded 10/14/03) is a structured, sequential and multi-sen sory technique of teaching the structure of written English which begins with teaching the p honemes, then morphemes, and spelling rules in order to build words. It is ther efore a synthetic phonics approach. Both approaches recommend that the pace of learning be s et by the needs of the student; and for the most part these approaches were designed fo r the severely disabled reader they described as word blind or dyslexic. Psychologists, intelligence, and learning. During this time period from the 1920Â’s through the 1940Â’s, when Fernald and Orton were wor king on new ways to help struggling readers, students who had difficulty in school were viewed as having less intelligence because intelligence at this time was largely defined and tested in academic terms. However, during World War II, the results of testi ng of air force pilots led some researchers to believe that other abilities existed which were different from those traditionally tested and defined as intelligence. One of those researchers, Guilford (1971) used factor analysis to discover various differenti ated intellectual abilities when attempting to test pilotsÂ’ abilities of judgment, f oresight and planning, memory, comprehension, visualization, orientation, and coor dination of information. After the war
24 Guilford and his associates began an investigation to evaluate abilities, called the Aptitude Research Project, which continued for twen ty years from 1949-1969. A main focus was that of investigating creative-thinking a bilities which Guilford felt had been neglected by psychological research. Factor analysi s supported the categories of fluency, flexibility, elaboration and redefinition. Over the years the research was expanded to other abilities, which led Guilford to his proposed structure-of-intellect model which theoretically defined 120 unique abilities all of w hich were related to four content areas of figural, symbolic, semantic and behavioral. Gardner (1983) would use his studies of brain-damag ed adults and gifted children as the platform for his investigations into intelli gences. In fact, he defined intelligence (Campbell, Campbell, & Dickinson, 1999) as an abili ty to solve a problem, generate new problems to solve, or to fashion a product which wo uld be valued in one or more cultural settings. Gardner feels cultural relevance is impor tant although it makes his work more controversial. Gardner studied differentiated types of intelligence by what he called a subjective factor analysis. What he did was study what had been done in testing intelligences and from that body of research he cam e up with and proposed his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. His theory covers eight dif ferentiated areas of: linguistic, logicalmathematical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, musical, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist intelligences. Seven of GardnerÂ’s intelligences correlate with Gui lfordÂ’s four content areas. The figural content area relates to spatial and to some extent bodily-kinesthetic; the symbolic area relates to logical-mathematical and musical; t he semantic area relates to linguistic; and the behavioral relates to interpersonal and int rapersonal. Only the naturalist
25 intelligence, which consists of observing patterns of nature, identifying and classifying objects, and understanding natural and human-made s ystems, does not fit under one of the content areas although it does relate to areas Guilford defined as products which included classification, relationships and knowledg e of systems. As a result of this work on multiple abilities or intelligences, it has beco me evident that perhaps instead of asking how intelligent a student is, we should ask what ki nds of intelligence the student exhibits. Both Gardner (1983) and Guilford (1971) saw these a bilities or intelligences as developmental which means they can change over time Learning styles and modality studies. During the 1970Â’s and 1980Â’s, there was a plethora of research and studies in the area of lea rning styles. There have been a number of different theories that can be categorized as: 1 Cognitive styles that deal with the preferred ways that a learner perceives, organizes and retains knowledge. 2. Affective styles that have to do with attention, emotion and valuing and is related to motivation. 3. Physiological styles that are biologically-based mo des of response (AASA, 1991; Guild & Garger, 1985). There have been so many different theories and each one seems to require teachers to initiate different things in th e classroom. In the area of reading, Carbo (1986) has published the most about matching readin g programs to the childÂ’s modality strength. Stahl (1999) writes in his critique that in five research reviews of studies that attempted to match childrenÂ’s reading styles to the ir learning styles none could substantiate that doing so improved the childrenÂ’s learning. Dunn and associates (1995) published a meta-analytic validation of the Dunn an d Dunn Model of Learning Style Preferences. The meta-analysis was done on 36 studi es which were rated as valid and which had been conducted by researchers other than Dunn. The results showed
26 educational interventions that were compatible with learning style preferences were beneficial. Explanation for the poor showing for l earning styles in other meta-analyses was explained by reporting that the studies review ed were of diverse models, that used diverse assessments, and contained flawed analysis. Barbe and Swassing (1979) studied modality strength s and gave the definition of modality as Â“all the links of the chain between a s ensation and the individualÂ’s resultant behaviorÂ” and Â“defines modality strength operationa lly as the ability of an individual to perform an academically relevant task in each of th e major modalitiesÂ” (p.5) They recognized the role of both heredity and environmen t in the shaping of an individualÂ’s modality strengths. The three modalities included in their Swassing-Barbe Modality Index were: auditory, visual and kinesthetic. Kine sthetic was defined as including large muscle movements, small muscle movements, and the s ense of touch. Modality based instruction was not a new idea, Mar ia Montessori and Grace Fernald both used activities involving the sensory modalities to help with learning. It has been proposed (Barbe & Swassing, 1979; Carbo, Dunn, & Dunn, 1986) that modality strengths change with age and specifically with tim e in school, but that students learn best if they can at least activate their strongest modality during the learning of a concept. However, the results of studies (Bonner, et al., 19 81; Fillmer & Griffith, 1971; Geoghegan, 1996; George, 1993; Robinson, 1972; Ston e, 1992; Tarver & Dawson, 1978; Waugh, 1973) are mixed. While most of the studies found that students have different modality strengths, they did not substantiate that reading should be taught using the predominant strength.
27 A number of authors (Armstrong, 1988, 1994; Stall, 1999; Stone, 1992; Vail, 1988; Wilson, 1998) have questioned the feasibility of teaching exclusively to individual learning styles or modality strengths. In general, they believed that students benefit most when instruction provides for the use of multiple m odalities. That way all students can gain from whatever instruction is given in the clas sroom. It was also suggested that teachers may need support and training to provide s uch lessons. There was a recognition that teachers of younger children would need to do most of the adapting, while older students could use personal knowledge of learning s tyle to help themselves learn. Brain-based learning and multi-sensory studies. By the 1990Â’s, most of the learning style and modality research has been repla ced by what is currently termed as brain-based learning. Interestingly enough, learni ng styles, modalities and even learning abilities and multiple intelligences appear to be p arts of a whole. Just as the proverbial story of the blind men and the elephant showed that many can have correct but incomplete conceptions of the whole; current brain research (Caine & Caine, 1994; Jensen, 1997,1998; Lyons, 2003; Sousa, 2001) is rev ealing a more complete picture of how the brain commits information to memory. This r esearch seems to indicate that a portion of the learning styles, modalities and mult iple intelligences theories may be correct, but incomplete. As Caine and Caine (1994) discuss in Making connections: Teaching and the human brain, the brain has an infinite capacity to make connecti ons, but for students to be able to make those connectio ns educators need to Â“orchestrate the experiences from which learners extract understandi ngÂ” ( p. 5). Lyons (2003) and others (Jensen, 1996,1998; Sousa, 2001) concur with this n eed for the brain to make sense of the world by making connections, finding patterns, or c ategories in which to place the new
28 information in a network with information that has already been learned. They agree that involving children in multiple sensory experiences increases the childrenÂ’s chances of developing more complex category systems. Since the different senses activate different parts of the brain this provides a broad neural net work. Caine and Caine (1994) and Jensen (1998) explain w hy such multi-sensory experiences are more effective in learning. The Ca ines (1994) discuss the two types of memory: Taxon memory, which must be rehearsed and i s the memory used for memorization, and Locale memory, which produces a s patial or thematic map. They relate this spatial map that is produced by the Loc ale memory to Â‘schema.Â’ Reading teachers have been taught that the childÂ’s Â‘schemaÂ’ or background knowledge should be activated to improve reading comprehension and memo ry (Anderson, 1994). Brain research has confirmed the importance of linking kn owledge to be learned to the studentsÂ’ past experience for it helps make the con nections that brings understanding and it also activates the locale memory, which remember s things easily because of the neural network that is activated. Locale or spatial memor y is enhanced by sensory acuity. The locale system records the Â‘storyÂ’ of life experienc e. On the other hand, Taxon memory keeps track of the parts from which the whole is co nstructed (Caine & Caine, 1994). Strong connections are necessary for the Locale or spatial memory to bring back the information that has been stored. When learnin g is meaningful it allows these strong connections to be formed. Renate and Geoffrey Cain e (1994) relate this meaningful learning to the thrust of VygotskyÂ’s theory of soci al learning (1978). New information becomes meaningful because it is being processed th rough relevant, complex and highly socially interactive experiences.
29 The Caines (1994) and Carol Lyons (2003) discuss t he brainÂ’s plasticity in detail explaining that our brains are constantly changing and that the physical structure of the brain is changed by experience. They discuss studi es that show how an enriched environment can change a personÂ’s brain and that th ese changes can come at any age although there are times of optimum learning when t he changes come more quickly. The young child can make connections more easily. This reinforces the belief (Clay, 1982, 2001; Snow, Burn, & Griffin, 1998; Short, Frye, Kin g, & Homan, 1999) that early intervention is the most effective way to affect ch ange for students struggling with reading and writing. In order to make sense of our experiences we must fit new information into categories or patterns that have already been learn ed (Caine & Caine, 1994; Jensen, 1998; Lyons, 2003). Jensen (1998) explains that because novices do not see patterns as easily as those who have had more practice, young students need to have learning that is handson, experiential, and relevant for the pattern to d evelop. Teachers scaffold the learning so that the students can see the connections. More me ntal connections allow students to make a stronger memory impression of the new inform ation. In fact, Schacter (1992) found that multiple memory locations and systems ar e responsible for our best learning and recall. Authors of brain-based learning strategies (Caine & Caine, 1994; Jensen, 1996, 1998; Lyons, 2003; Sousa, 2001) point out the impor tance for the teacher to have understanding of how the brain learns. Teachers nee d to be attuned to the needs of the students in order for the deepest and most meaningf ul learning to take place. In Unleashing the Power of Perceptual Change: The Pote ntial of Brain-based Teaching,
30 Renate and Geoffrey Caine (1997) discuss the change s that must come for most teachers to be free enough to institute brain-based learning in their classrooms. In their research with schools that were attempting to implement brai n-based learning, they found that teachers had to change their perceptual orientation s before they could change their instructional approaches. These changes took time and some teachers found it difficult to change from a curriculum bound by standards to inst ruction that had the essence of the standards as goals, this type of instruction follow ed a more thematic approach which allowed choices for students and also was responsiv e to the studentsÂ’ needs and desires. In addition, this kind of instruction allowed stude nts to experience meaningful learning that allowed intrinsic motivation rather than a sys tem of rewards for students involvement. There was a period of time in the early 1990Â’s wit h little interest in sensorybased studies. However, interest in the multiple intelli gences and brain-based learning studies has led to renewed interest in this area. The recog nition of the need to use as many senses as possible has led to the term multi-sensory learn ing. Multi-sensory literacy learning studies (Dev, Doyle, & Valente, 2002; Churchill, Du rdel, & Kenney, 1998; Flood, Lapp, & Fisher, 2005; Joshi, Dahlgren, Boulware-Gooden, 2 002; OÂ’Dea, 1998) have increased in number the last few years. The studies by Dev, Doyle and Valente (2002) and Joshi, Dahlgren, and Boulware-Gooden (2002) involved using reading and phonics instruction based on the Orton-Gillingham method There have been other studies in multi-sensory literacy learning over the years using the Orton-Gi llingham method (Simpson, Swanson, & Kunkel, 1992; Sparks, et al., 1992; Vick ery, Reynolds, & Cochran, 1987). A brief description of what the Orton-Gillingham me thod describes as multi-sensory
31 instruction is that as a student is learning a new letter or pattern, the student is instructed to say the corresponding sound as they carefully tr ace, copy, and write the letter or pattern (Gillingham & Stillman, 1956, 1970). This method uses direct explicit teaching of letter-sound relationships, syllable patterns, a nd meaning word parts. The students begin with the parts and then construct words, sent ences and stories. It is a synthetic approach to phonics and literacy learning and there fore does not begin with meaning. Two recent studies (Dev, Doyle, & Valente, 2002; J oshi, Dahlgren, & BoulwareGooden, 2002) using the Orton-Gillingham method both showed positive results in the literacy learning of the students, however, there w as considerable difference in the rigor of the studies. Dev, Doyle and Valente (2002) used action research targeting the at-risk population of beginning first grade students in a s mall rural school. They targeted both literacy and math and used multi-sensory learning f or both areas. The study began with 13 students and ended with 11. All targeted student s received 25-30 minutes of individual instruction two to three times per week using the O rton-Gillingham method and daily small group phonics instruction in their classes fo r 25-55 minutes. The instruction was continued for two years through the end of second g rade. The researchers reported that all students made substantial gains in reading and all but one made gains in spelling. However, since they had no control group or other t ype of comparison it would be reasonable to surmise that the result may have come from the individual attention and not the method. Also, the same test was used to pretes t and posttest, but since the time span was so long there would not be much of a test retes t effect. Dev, Doyle, and Valente (2002) did point out that the size of the sample wo uld not allow them to make definitive claims on the efficacy of the Orton-Gillingham meth od . The second study by Joshi,
32 Dahlgren, and Boulware-Gooden (2002) was set up wit h a true experimental design with treatment and control groups. They attempted to str engthen both validity and reliability, by matching their populations and choosing testing instruments that had good test-retest reliability. They had two classrooms which were ta ught Â“Language Basics: ElementaryÂ” materials which are based on the Orton-Gillingham m ethod , and two classrooms that were using the normal Houghton Mifflin Basal Series which became the control groups. Both control and treatment groups received 50 minut es of daily instruction. Teachers of both groups were of comparable experience and all c lasses were observed weekly to ensure that both reading programs were being implem ented with fidelity. A multivariate analysis on the gain scores showed the treatment gr oup as significantly higher than the control group in phonological awareness, decoding a nd comprehension. Although they began with over 40 subjects in each group, over the year, attrition led to only 24 in the treatment group and 30 in the control. Also, one a rea that may have made a significant difference which was not pointed out by the researc hers, was that the teachers of the treatment group had to go through 42 hours of multi -sensory technique training. This would mean a considerable commitment on the part of those participating teachers. On the other hand, the control teachers had only to co ntinue teaching as they usually do. This extra commitment may have changed the way the teach ers interacted with their students creating a more positive result no matter what meth od of literacy instruction was applied. The other two recent multi-sensory literacy studie s (Churchill, Durdel, & Kenney, 1998; OÂ’Dea, 1998) were actually action research pr ojects by masterÂ’ degree students at St. Xavier University. Although these action resear ch studies may not have reached the rigor of the Joshi, Dahlgren, and Boulware-Gooden ( 2002) study, they do show a great
33 deal of thought and were unique attempts to make a difference in the literacy learning of the studiesÂ’ population. Churchill, Durdel, and Kenny (1998) worked with th ree different age levels. One researcher/teacher had pre-kindergarten students, o ne special education kindergarten students, and one had first grade. These classes we re located in low income urban schools and the students were considered at risk. The rese archers designed a multi-sensory curriculum to develop prerequisite literacy skills. Visual activities included charts, graphic organizers, word lists and alphabet cards. Auditory skills were activated using bombardment words, rhyming and tape-recorded storie s. Kinesthetic abilities were implemented using magnetic letters, action songs an d chants, finger plays and hand signals for letter sounds. In addition to these act ivities, they used group story time to develop listening comprehension and gave opportunit ies for children to dictate or write their own stories. All children made progress as w ould be expected in this rich environment. Of particular interest, all of the pre -kindergarten students in the study made progress to the point of being considered developme ntally ready for kindergarten. The kindergarten and first grade groups made progress, but some were still considered below the expected level. Perhaps since the study was on ly 20 weeks long, it was long enough to accelerate the progress of the very young childr en, but not enough for children that were older. This would correlate with what brain r esearch has said about the plasticity of the brain being most malleable at a young age (Lyon s, 2003). The second study by OÂ’Dea (1998) used a multi-sens ory program to help learning disabled high school students with literacy skills. The action research project lasted 18 weeks and included literacy activities for 55 minut es daily. At the beginning of the
34 project the students were complaining about having to read a paragraph that was at the fifth or sixth grade reading level. It was difficu lt for them. The students were given the Auditory Discrimination in Depth Program. In this program the students had to learn to hear a sound, correlate the sound with a movement o f the mouth, evaluate the type of sound, and then connect these sounds to letters. T hey used pictures, games and colored blocks to represent the sounds and how they are mad e into words. They would even act out the sounds and sequences of sounds. They began with easy patterns like CVC and moved on to syllables, which they put into chains. They would work in groups and help each other learn the concepts. At the same time th ey were involved in reading two novels over the eighteen weeks. The pre-posttest results showed that most students made gains in both comprehension and decoding, but perhaps the most significant result was the change in attitudes toward reading. The research j ournal had studentsÂ’ comments reflecting a new confidence and appreciation for re ading. The students were totally involved in learning decoding strategies and this h elped them see the connections to reading. Flood, Lapp, and Fisher (2005) conducted two studi es using what they called the Neurological Impress Method Plus (NIM Plus). The ne urological impress method is conducted with the teacher and student reading the same book simultaneously. The teacher sits slightly behind the student so that th e teacher is reading directly beside the studentÂ’s ear. The student follows the text with a finger while reading. The study had reading tutors work with struggling readers from th ird to sixth grade for five weeks. They called their method NIM Plus because they added an element of comprehension to the method by having the tutor and student discuss the text both before and after reading. On
35 each of the three measuresÂ—oral reading fluency, si lent reading fluency, and comprehensionÂ—the students performed statistically better after the training than before. The authors of the study felt that the NIM Plus was adaptable but would require further investigation. This method did implement visual, au ditory and tactile/kinesthetic aspects. Although there has been some revival in interest i n multi-sensory learning, the research into this area has been sparse. The resea rcher feels that in light of what brain research is saying about the usefulness of multi-se nsory experiences in learning, this area should be explored further. Also, in most of the m ulti-sensory research the studies are based upon a certain curriculum or program that is to be followed by the teacher. Only the study by Churchill, Durdel, and Kenny (1998) wa s based upon multi-sensory activities that could be changed and implemented as the teacher deemed necessary according to the responses or needs of the children As was pointed out by Caine and Caine (1997) teachers need time and often a change in perceptual orientation in order to implement brain-based learning in their classrooms. The teacher has to feel free enough to pick and choose elements of the curriculum as ne eded to create meaningful challenging lessons that engage the studentsÂ’ minds In looking over the history of multi-sensory learn ing (See Table 1) we see a progression of educators over the last two centurie s that have found value is incorporating visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthe tic aspects into lessons. Two literacy programs that have incorporated teaching techniques and activities that implement visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic aspects into the lessons are Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning.
36 Table 1 A Historical Look at Multi-sensory Learning________ ___________________________ Historical Period Type of Studies Researchers____ __________ Early 1800s Tactile/kinesthetic methods to Itard a nd Seguin teach mentally handicapped children 1890Â’s-1940Â’s Multi-sensory education for Montess ori, Fernald severe reading problems Orton, Gillingham 1940Â’s-1970Â’s Many faces of intelligence Guilford Gardner 1970Â’s-1980Â’s Learning style and modality Barbe, Swassing, Carbo, studies Dunn & Dunn 1970Â’s-2007 Early literacy intervention Clay, Lyo ns, Pinnell, Deford, Homan, King, Frye 1990Â’s-2007 Brain based learning Jensen, Sousa, Caine & Caine Lyons 1998-2007 Multi-sensory learning Dev, Doyle, Vale nte, Joshi, Dahlgren, Boulware-Go oden, Churchill, Durdel, Kenney OÂ’Dea, Flood, Lapp, Fisher ___________________________________________________ _____________________
37 Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning The two early intervention programs, Reading Recov ery (RR) and Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL), were founded upon construc tivist thought. Clay (2001) describes Reading Recovery as based upon Â“a view of constructive children guided by observant, flexible, and tentative teachers, taking children along different paths to common outcomes and shaped by local cultural contex ts (p. 6).Â” The teacherÂ’s choices are led by the responses and needs of the child. E verything from the choice of books to use, to the way the activities are implemented in t he lesson, are based upon the teacherÂ’s observational knowledge of the childÂ’s abilities an d interests. It is the child who constructs meaning while discovering the patterns a nd connections necessary for literacy learning. The teacher is there to scaffold the chi ldÂ’s efforts so that the child can continue to learn in VygotskyÂ’s (1978) zone of proximal dev elopment. This allows the child to accelerate his or her literacy learning Both Reading Recovery (Pinnell, 1991) and Accelerat ed Literacy Learning (Brashears, Homan, & King, 2002) define their teach er preparation program as an inquiry-based model for educating teachers of liter acy. Teachers are in a year long training, attending class weekly and implementing w hat they learn as they go through the class. During this time, teachers are learning to scaffold the children they are working with, and at the same time are scaffolded by their Teacher-trainers at their own proximal zone of development. This interactive staff develo pment model includes detailed observation, peer demonstration, analyzing while ob serving, practice and feedback, and scaffolding of learning. In Accelerated Literacy L earning, teachers share videotapes of their lessons with their colleagues in the class. They participate in giving feedback in a
38 collaborative way to the person sharing the lesson videotape. This allows the teachers to develop and expand their knowledge base and abiliti es to analyze and verbalize about literacy learning. Teachers gain confidence in the ir decision making which is crucial to promote the highest literacy learning in these at r isk students. The literacy lesson in both programs follows the sa me format since they are both based upon the concepts found in ClayÂ’s guidebook ( 1993). Each lesson has seven distinct parts: 1. The child reads familiar books to develop fluenc y. 2. The child rereads the book introduced in the les son before while the teacher observes and records the reading behaviors. 3. The child does some letter identification and le arning to see patterns of letters in words. 4. The child writes a story with the teacher provid ing opportunities for the children to hear and record sounds in words. The te acher gives help on difficult words. 5. The child rearranges his or her cut-up sentence strip made from the story by the teacher. 6. The teacher introduces a new book selected to pr ovide the child an interesting challenge but not too difficult. 7. The child reads the new book orchestrating his o r her current problem-solving strategies. Throughout the lesson the child is doing the work, while the teacher is there to scaffold when necessary and to help the child acquire the pr oblem-solving strategies that will
39 allow the child to develop a self-extending system (Clay, 1993). The goal of both Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning is that the child will become an independent learner (Clay, 1993; Short, Frye, Homan & King, 1995). Clay (2001) emphasized that there should not be a set sequence of skills to be taught, instead the teacher should provide open-end ed opportunities for the child which allows the child to add to knowledge in his or her own way. The challenge for the teacher is to be able to understand what is happeni ng as the connections in reading and writing are coming together for the student. It is this insight into how the child is learning that will influence the teacherÂ’s next dec isions for the childÂ’s literacy instruction. To work effectively the teacher needs at all times to know what the child already has control of in reading and writing tasks. It is for this reason that a number of informal assessments of reading and writing skills and liter acy understanding (described in ClayÂ’s An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement ) are administered before instruction ever begins (Clay, 2002). Clay (2001), who has a background in developmental psychology as well as education, recognized the usefulness of multi-senso ry literacy activities. She said that Â“when the eye and ear and hand are jointly involved in the management of a task they send three different messages to the brain, message s picked up by different senses. Together they lead to recognizing a particular obje ct, say, a familiar toy or a Â‘knownÂ’ wordÂ” (p.16). In fact, when the literacy lesson us ed by Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning is evaluated by the p rinciples of brain-based learning laid out in Renate and Geoffrey CaineÂ’s book Making Connections: Teaching and the Human
40 Brain (1994), it is easy to see how well the literacy le ssons and training of Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Learning teachers fit these principles. 1. The brain is a parallel processor. The studentÂ’s brain is involved in thoughts, imagin ation, and emotions at the same time the brain is processing information. The teach er must orchestrate the studentÂ’s learning experiences to take this into co nsideration. Teachers in RR and ALL are trained to observe the child and use many d ifferent possible activities or approaches to engage the child in the learning situ ation. 2. Learning engages the entire physiology. Emotional stress, poor nutrition, lack of rest and many other factors can affect learning. Teachers are trained to put the student a t ease by engaging them in challenging but doable learning experiences. When the child feels successful the experience has intrinsic value to him or her. Teach ers are cognizant of the childÂ’s physical need and may have them change position if the child needs movement. 3. The search for meaning is innate. At all times, teachers are trained to help the chil d construct meaning, whether it is during the book introduction to activate schema and make sense of the story or during the reading when a miscue has occurred. One of the most used strategies is asking the child the question, Does that make se nse? 4. The search for meaning occurs through Â“patternin g.Â” Looking for patterns and categories is emphasized i n the lesson especially during the word work. Students are taught to figure out a new word by using the pattern
41 of a known word. They are always taught going from the known to the new information providing strong linking with known pat terns and categories. 5. Emotions are critical to patterning. The teacher/student interactions in the RR and ALL lessons are based upon respect. The teacher talks to the student about his or her life experiences and the things that are important to him or her. These bec ome the basis for the story they write and often the words that they will learn to r ead and write. This allows for personal emotional involvement of the student in th e learning process. 6. The brain processes parts and wholes simultaneou sly. This is very important in the structure of the RR a nd ALL lesson. The lesson always begins with reading the whole text or writin g the whole sentence, but in the process the student is engaged in dealing with parts of words and stories in order to make meaning of the whole. Letters and so unds are taught in the context of meaningful words and the words are usually in th e context of a meaningful sentence or story. 7. Learning involves both focused attention and per ipheral perception. This means that the brain responds to the entire se nsory context that the teaching or communication is found in. The teacher sets the stage for the lesson whether it is the arrangement of the materials and teaching ch arts, or the feeling of acceptance and safety that the student senses from the teacherÂ’s voice and mannerisms. These teaching contexts are a part of t he training of RR and ALL teachers. 8. Learning always involves conscious and unconscio us processes.
42 In order to have active processing students need to review how and what they learn so that they can begin to take charge of thei r learning and construction of meaning. Students are taught strategies for litera cy learning and are encouraged to talk about what they did when they self-correct a miscue. This allows them to develop reflection and meta-cognition of their own reading and writing. Although strategy use is usually very conscious when first l earned, in time it usually becomes a nearly unconscious process. 9. We have at least two different types of memory: A spatial memory system and a set of systems for rote learning. The natural, spatial memory is motivated by novelty and drives the search for meaning. As mentioned before, the RR or ALL lesson is meaning oriented and the student is always encouraged to make the experi ence meaningful. Also, new books are chosen to pique the interest of the stude nt and to provide some new challenge in learning to read. The system for rot e learning is used in as meaningful a context as possible. For instance, th e rereading of familiar books gives practice in word recognition but in the conte xt of reading for meaning. At times, a word that is not naturally decodable will be practiced in various ways such as rainbow writing, dry erase boards, writing it big and small, and in each corner to provide some novelty while practicing som ething in a rote manner to produce automaticity. 10. We understand and remember best when facts an d skills are embedded in natural, spatial memory.
43 The process of embedding the facts and skills in th e RR and ALL lesson begins with the interactive relational conversation betwee n the teacher and student. The teacher tries to relate things from the books to re al life experiences of the child and engages the child in the reading process in suc h a way that the child is interacting with the text. In the writing segment, the child is drawn into writing a personal story that has meaning and interest to him or her. The greatest success in embedding facts and skills depend on using all o f the senses and immersing the learner in a multitude of complex and interactive e xperiences. This is exactly what the seven parts of the RR/ALL lesson endeavors to do. In the course of one lesson a child may read aloud, use his/her finger t o direct attention to text, problem solve new words, manipulate magnetic letter s, listen to the sounds in a word to figure out how to write it, write a sentenc e, and rearrange the words of a cut-up sentence while reading the words aloud. It s hould be a very multi-sensory interactive experience. 11. Learning is enhanced by challenge and inhibit ed by threat. The brain downshifts when feeling threatened, but l earns optimally when appropriately challenged. This level of challenge provides for VygotskyÂ’s zone of proximal development (1978). Teachers are trained to provide books that student will find interesting and will provide some area of challenge to allow the student to extend his or her knowledge of the reading proce ss. The book is to be within the studentÂ’s instructional level, this means the s tudent can read the book with support having at least 90% accuracy. This allows the child to feel challenged but not overwhelmed or threatened. The child is to fee l successful in the reading
44 experience even though it is a new book. This mean s the teacher must be very knowledgeable about what words and strategies the c hild has under his or her control. 12. Each brain is unique. Each student will have different sensory and emotio nal preferences. The RR/ALL teacher is trained to observe the student and provi de activities and learning experiences that fit the needs and interests of the child. (Principles found on pages 80-87 of Making Connections. Correlated information concerning RR/ALL teachers and lessons primarily fr om Clay, 1991, 1993, 2001.) The relationship between what has been recognized as effective brain-based learning and the lessons and teacher training of RR and ALL is significant. No doubt the success of these two programs has been enhanced by this use of best practice in relationship to how the brain learns. Both program s have been found to be effective in accelerating at-risk students. Reading Recovery ha s reported that approximately 76-85% of the lowest 20% of students served by RR teacher s accelerated to the average range of their class (Swartz & Klein, 1997). The ALL progra m has used both the one-on-one model of RR and a small group model to carry out re ading interventions. Both models brought gains in literacy achievement comparable to the level of average students (King & Homan, 2003). Professional Development Research indicates that teacher change is best acco mplished through long-term training in theory with modeling, practice, feedbac k, and coaching (Desmarois, 1992; Stephens, 1993). Teachers reported difficulty impl ementing information covered in one
45 or two day in-service training with no follow-up (D esmarois, 1992). In Â“Beating the Odds in Teaching All Children to ReadÂ”, Taylor, Pea rson, Clark and Walpole (1999) found schools most effective in teaching reading to high-risk populations cited ongoing professional development as one of the reasons for their success. The Reading Recovery and Accelerated Literacy Lear ning teacher development programs have been described as an inquiry-based mo del for educating teachers of literacy (Pinnell, 1991; Brashears, Homan, & King, 2002). Teachers are encouraged to question, hypothesize, test what they are learning. This is necessary because in both programs the teacher is not given a set curriculum with particular instructions, but rather a theoretical context and some specific procedures to be used as needed (Clay, 1993). The teacher is trained to observe the child and to analyze strengths and weaknesses. Teaching decisions are made by analysis of what the child needs to learn. This is in contrast to most curriculums and teaching methods t eachers have used in the past. For this reason, individuals involved in these training programs generally experience a shift in theoretical orientation ( Pinnell, 1991, Brashea rs, et al., 2002). The shift is from a focus on teaching materials and sequential learning toward a more holistic orientation which views literacy learning as an orchestration o f a range of strategies and knowledge. Both Reading Recovery and ALL (Lyons, Pinnell, &De Ford, 1993; Pinnell, 1991; Brashears, et al., 2002) involve teachers in a year of training which includes two semesters of graduate level courses. Each week a gr oup of teachers meet with teacher leaders to discuss theory, procedures, and literacy lessons of participating teachers, which are observed during the class. In Reading Recovery, the observed lessons are live with teachers watching from a one-way mirror. In ALL the lessons are videotaped at the
46 school and brought into class. During the week, te achers work with students using the procedures they are learning; and are observed and mentored by the teacher leaders. In both programs a goal is to get the teachers thinkin g about their own teaching decisions. This long term training provides a supportive group in which a teacher in training can articulate and get feedback on teaching decisions. Pinnell (1991) stated that since the primary goal of literacy education is to make a dif ference for children and society, the only way to accomplish that goal is to increase the expertise of teachers. The interactive training programs of Reading Recovery and ALL scaff old the teachersÂ’ learning processes so that they may become adept in scaffold ing the literacy processes of their students. Brashears, Homan and King (2002) used a questionnai re to examine teachersÂ’ views of the Accelerated Literacy Learning training program. One portion of their survey gathered demographic information and allowed a comm ents section for gathering personal statements and feelings, and the second po rtion included a Likert response scale that outlined the components of the ALL training an d asked the respondent to rate from least to most beneficial. The study had a high rat e of return and the results showed that the teachers had found many things about the ALL pr ogram to be beneficial. Of special note was the seven percent who found the training b eneficial to them when they returned to the classroom after being ALL intervention teach ers. This study would influence the researcherÂ’s use of a questionnaire with a 5-point response scale to investigate teachersÂ’ reports of sensory activity usage. Roehrig, Pressley and Sloop (2001) used classroom o bservations and a questionnaire to investigate the effects of Reading Recovery training on the instructional
47 practices of classroom teachers. When they found di fferences in the use of these practices by grade level, they also included three brief case studies. They concluded that Reading Recovery training had a greater influence on kinder garten and first grade teachersÂ’ instructional practice. They advised that further r esearch was needed to investigate possible effects on student achievement. The three different areas of investigation: questionnaires, observations and case studies influ enced the researcherÂ’s study of ALL trained teachersÂ’ use of sensory activities in the ir classroom literacy lessons. Summary While studies have examined student literacy growth in RR and ALL, there has been little investigation into the types of activit ies used by teachers within the lessons that help to facilitate this growth in literacy achievem ent. While investigating the present literature on brain-based learning and multiple int elligences, the researcher found the theme of sensory modalities, once so prevalent in t he learning style literature, has reemerged but this time as multi-sensory learning. The research community has largely disregarded the area of sensory modalities, in ligh t of the inconclusive results in the learning style and modality preference studies. In analyzing the current practices within the ALL Lesson, the researcher recognized that sens ory activities are an inherent part of a multi-sensory lesson format; although these are ide ntified as instructional procedures during training. Teachers are carefully trained in many different instructional procedures, which would be used in the lessons according to the needs of the students. As there has been no prior research in the area of the use of se nsory activities in ALL trained teachersÂ’ literacy lessons, this researcherÂ’s present inquiry into the kinds and frequency of use of sensory activities will further extend the knowledg e and understanding of this area.
48 Since teachersÂ’ choices determine which sensory act ivities are included in any particular lesson, the primary area of investigatio n of this study was to examine the teacherÂ’s use, or perception of use, of sensory act ivities in literacy lessons.
49 Chapter III Method Introduction This chapter describes the conduct of the study an d includes the purpose, research questions, design of the study, and description of the study by phases including the instruments, participants, and data analysis. The study was conducted in three phases. The first phase used questionnaires to investigate the reported sensory activity of the AL L trained teachers in a central Florida school district. In the next phase, primary teacher s were interviewed to bring greater depth and clarification about their reported use of sensory activities in their classroom literacy lessons. In the final phase, classroom obs ervations were conducted in four first grade classrooms to investigate the actual use of s ensory activities in the classroom literacy lessons. Purpose of the Study In light of the knowledge that students do have di fferences in the way they learn and the current pressure public education is under to leave no child behind, the main purpose of this study was to investigate the kinds of sensory activities teachers chose to implement in their literacy lessons when teaching s truggling readers and to look for a possible relationship between such activities and r eading progress. Researchers (Bond & Dykstra, 1967, 1997; Clay, 2001 ) point to the importance of the teachersÂ’ role in scaffolding the learning of t heir students. A teacher who is trained in observation and sensitivity to the needs of the stu dent is more likely to provide the kinds of learning activities that will promote the studen tÂ’s learning.
50 This study examined a group of teachersÂ’ self-rep orts of how Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) training affected their use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons as indicated by their responses to a questi onnaire. A sub-group of these teachers was interviewed to bring depth and greater clarity to their questionnaire responses. The researcher also examined how teachersÂ’ reports of s ensory activity use related to their classroom practice through case studies of four of the teachers from the original survey group. And finally the reading growth data from th ese case studies were examined in relation to the use of sensory activities in the cl assroom. These inquiries were primarily guided by the following: Research Questions 1. What are the variety and frequency of sensory ac tivities used within primary grade literacy lessons by teachers who participated in literacy intervention training? 2. What is the relationship between teacher-reporte d use of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice? 3. What is the relationship between observed teacher u se of sensory activities and the assessed reading growth of struggling reade rs in her/his classroom? Design This study was bounded by time and availability of the participants. Therefore in order to collect as much data as possible within th ese boundaries, the researcher used blended methodology, employing a qualitative focus with some elements using sample descriptive statistics. This allowed the researcher to explore the use of sensory activities by teachers who have received ALL literacy interven tion training within the designated
51 county school system and gain as much understanding as possible within the confines of the study. Two studies influenced the researcher in the design of this study. The first, a study by Brashears, Homan, and King (2002) employed a que stionnaire to explore teachersÂ’ views of Accelerated Literacy Learning. The second, by Roehrig, Pressley, and Sloup (2001), used a questionnaire and classroom observat ions to determine whether Reading Recovery teachers used Reading Recovery-type instru ctional practices and strategies during their teaching. Qualitative research by tradition is naturalistic b y gathering data in actual settings with the researcher as the key instrument (Bogdan & Biklan, 2003; Patton, 2002). As this study had a qualitative focus, the main thrust of data collection was situated within the participantsÂ’ schools and classrooms and includ ed their perspectives of what happened in their classrooms. These data were colle cted through questionnaires, interviews and classroom observations. As such this study was an inductive search attempting to offer a glimpse into those classrooms An overview of the design of this study can be seen in Table 2.
52 Table 2 Research Questions and Data Sources _________________________________________ Research Questions Research Phase and Data Analysi s Data Sources What are the variety and Phase One, Two, and Thr ee -Questionnaires frequency of sensory activities -Descriptive statis tics of -Interview transcripts and used within primary grade questionnaires and mean scores field notes literacy lessons by teachers of tally sheets -O bservation tally sheets who participated in literacy -Constant comparative analysis of and field notes intervention training? Transcripts and other writt en data -ResearcherÂ’s Journal What is the relationship between Phase One, Two and Three -Questionnaires teacher-reported use of sensory -Constant comparati ve analysis of -Interview transcripts and activities and their observed written data field notes classroom practice? -Graphing of questionnaire res ults -Observation tally sheets in comparison to tally results and field notes -ResearcherÂ’s Journal____ What is the relationship between Phase Three -Ob servation tally sheets observed teacher use of sensory -Mean scores for t ally sheet data and field notes activities and the assessed and student book readi ng growth -ResearcherÂ’s Journal reading growth of struggling -Graph scores to indic ate any -StudentsÂ’ scores from readers in her/his classroom? possible relationship beginning and end of year ___________________________________________________ _____________________ The Researcher As has been stated, the researcher, herself, can b e considered one of the instruments (Bogdan & Biklan, 2003; Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). As such she acknowledges her bias in that the very training and experiences, which would allow her to be a reliable instrument, would also lend to bia s. The design of the study has used six
53 sources of data--questionnaires, interviews, multip le observations of the four classroom teachers, post interviews, member checks and the re searcherÂ’s reflection journal--to minimize bias. The researcher enrolled in 18 semester hours beyond the mastersÂ’ level as a trainer for the Accelerated Literacy Learning progr am. She spent two years working with training classes in a county other than the one bei ng used for this study. During that time she regularly observed teachersÂ’ literacy lessons i n their classrooms and was trained to take extensive notes during these observations. Sh e became very familiar with all of the theories, procedures and strategies that are a part of this literacy intervention training. The researcher has a masterÂ’s degree in reading ed ucation, and had taught first grade for over 10 years when she received the liter acy intervention training during her doctoral studies. She is familiar with first grade literacy curriculum and practices. For four years, she worked in a school setting with sma ll groups of struggling readers, helping them to increase their reading skills and b ecome proficient in grade level texts. During her studies of sensory modalities and lear ning styles she recognized that many of the procedures that were used in this liter acy intervention used multiple sensory input in the course of the entire lesson. Although these procedures were not called sensory activities by trainers during the training classes, they are various activities that can be used in the course of a lesson, and do provi de ways to utilize visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic modalities during a literacy le sson. The researcher had strong ties to Accelerated Liter acy Learning during her time of training and work as an ALL trainer, however she wa s no longer employed as a part of the ALL program during this study. She endeavored t o use her expertise in ALL to be an
54 effective observer. However, the researcher had a b iased expectation that she would see ALL-type lessons in the classrooms like those she h ad seen during her time as a trainer. She also expected lessons that were tailored to the needs of the students. She was aware of her bias concerning what she expected to see in the lessons and tried to use methods, such as the sensory activity tally sheet, to help l imit that bias during the observations. Also, she endeavored to guard against bias by takin g fieldnotes and including reflections on her own subjectivity in the rewrite of those not es (Bogdan & Biklan, 2003). Although she had no prior contact with the participants who were a part of this study, the reflection journal helped her change her viewpoint to one of u nderstanding what these teachers faced each day and how many of their decisions were affected by outside pressures that were beyond their control. Phase One The research objective of Phase One was to gain an overview of the use of sensory activities of a sample of teachers in a cen tral Florida school district who were ALL trained. This was designed to give a broad answ er to research question one concerning the variety and frequency of sensory act ivities used in literacy lessons by ALL trained teachers. Participants. In Phase One, the potential participant population (n=109) included all employees from a central Florida school distric t who received the year long ALL training from 1991 through 2003 and were still foun d in the district directory of current employees. A packet was sent to each of these poten tial participants during the last two weeks of July, 2004. The packet included the follo wing: A letter of introduction from the researcher (Appendix C), a letter from the ALL district representative (who was the
55 researcherÂ’s district contact person), two copies o f the IRB informed consent form (approved 7-15-2004, Appendix A), the study questio nnaire (Appendix D), and a stamped self-addressed return envelope. By the beg inning of September, only 32 out of 109 possible participants had returned questionnair es and informed consent forms and five others had been returned undeliverable. Originally the researcher had planned to send secon d questionnaire packets within two weeks to those that had not responded to the in itial mailing, but circumstances prevented this. On September 20th, the packets were resent to the 32 primary teachers who had not responded, since these teachers were po ssible participants for phases two and three of the study. Of these, only seven would send back a completed questionnaires and informed consent forms. Time constraints ended Phase One with the data from 39 participants who returned their questionnaires. This gave a 37% ret urn for those questionnaires that had been successfully delivered. One participant did no t fill out the 5-point response scale survey because she was working in a different capac ity, so there were only 38 participants for the first page 5-point scale respo nses. The result was an N of 38 for Phase One. Instrument for data collection. Questionnaires are most often used when there are many participants located in various locations, for it allows data to be gathered from many participants and still be feasible in time and cost (Gall, Gall, & Borg, 1996). After examining the study of Brashears, Homan, and King ( 2002) that employed a Likert response scale survey with a comments section and w ith selected follow-up interviews, the researcher decided to use part of this format i n her study.
56 It was necessary for the researcher to formulate an appropriate instrument that would include the types of sensory activities that were usually a part of the trained procedures of ALL. As stated before, although thes e procedures were not called sensory activities during the ALL training, they are variou s activities that can be used in the course of a lesson, and they do provide ways to use visual, auditory and tactile/kinesthetic modalities during the literacy lesson. In order to ascertain the activities that would most likely be found in a lesson, the researcher viewed video-taped lessons of four experienced ALL trainers who were considered expert ALL teacher s by the leadership of the ALL program. A list of the sensory activities found in each taped lesson was checked during a second viewing of each lesson. Then a master list o f activities was compiled from those found in the majority of the video-taped lessons. T his provided a framework of possible sensory activities that may be found in an ALL lite racy lesson. In the second stage of the formulation of the ques tionnaire instrument, the sensory activities were made into a sensory activity tally sheet. Teachers in a Spring, 2003 ALL training class tallied sensory activities as they o bserved video-taped lessons in class. This group of first and second grade teachers was from t hree schools in a Florida county adjacent to the one used in the study. They receive d weekly training all year from three ALL trainers including the researcher. The use of t he tally sheets was near the end of their training. The activities on the sheet were f ound to be familiar to the teachers in this class and were found in the video-taped lessons of teachers from the class. After using the tally sheet in class, a questionnaire was made from the sensory activities found on the tally sheet. The questionnaire was piloted with th e same group of teachers in the Spring 2003 class. They filled out the questionnaire twice : the first time they reported the way
57 they used the sensory activities before their ALL t raining, and then they reported their use of the same activities at the end of their trai ning. The majority of these teachers had used many of the visual activities even before thei r training. However, all of the teachers reported using more varied sensory activities (incl uding auditory and tactile-kinesthetic) and using even the visual activities with more freq uency than before their training (Pilot questionnaire data, 2003). In order to gather evidence related to the reliabi lity of the sensory activities included on the questionnaire with expected ALL ins tructional lesson procedures, copies of the questionnaire and tally sheet were given to ALL trainers at a regional meeting. The trainers were asked to examine the activities o n the questionnaire and confirm whether or not the activities should be included, o r if there were other activities that should be added. Four expert trainers, with many ye ars of experience training teachers in ALL procedures, evaluated the pilot questionnaire a nd tally sheet and gave input for changes. Various comments included: This is the sam e as echo reading and add echo reading to the last line with choral reading. This includes visual with the auditory. Add body movements for segmenting and chunking (Communi cation from Trainers on sample Modality Checklist). Two items were found to be red undant and were combined and one item (Body movements for segmenting and chunking) w as added at the recommendation of two trainers. As a result of this input the ori ginal list of sensory activities was changed from 33 to 30 and sensory activities were grouped w ith the predominant modality, but not identified as such on the questionnaire. The first page of the questionnaire (See Appendix D) included a 5-point response scale of the 30 sensory activities and asked the re spondent to indicate how often they
58 used the activities from once per month or less (1) to daily (5). The second page asked questions that allowed participants to expand on th eir use of sensory activities, and also asked if they would be willing to participate in an interview. Data Analysis The analysis of the questionnaire data was condu cted by looking at each page separately. The data found on page on e were 5-point scale responses to the average use of each sensory activity listed. The re sponses on page two were written and therefore would be analyzed qualitatively The 5-point scale responses for each of the 38 part icipants were entered into a spreadsheet category for each sensory activity incl uded on questionnaire page one. The researcher analyzed this data in two ways. Descrip tive statistics were calculated for each sensory activity including mean, median, mode and s tandard deviation. Then the activities were grouped as visual, auditory and tac tile/kinesthetic by the researcher according to the predominant modality. It is recogn ized that many of the activities actually use more than one modality and therefore w ere multi-sensory. However, to gain a general sense as to which modalities were being u sed the most, the activities were grouped and mean scores were calculated for each pr edominant modality. A CronbachÂ’s Alpha was calculated for each area to check reliabi lity. Finally, a percentage was calculated for the number of respondents in each ca tegory on the 5-point scale. This allowed the researcher to examine the activities mo st commonly used and the have a perception of how the sensory modalities were used. The responses to the question and comment section on the second page were typed into a data sheet grouped by question. All r esponses to each question were analyzed for their inherent patterns across partici pants by: First, reading over the answers
59 to each question several times; second, looking for repetitions in wording and categories; finally, color coding those patterns found within t he answers. Since all of the participants had received the same intensive training in ALL the y used similar language to describe their literacy practice. For example, the wordsÂ—st rategies, cueing systems, look right, sound right, and does it make senseÂ—were found thro ughout the written responses because these are words that are used continuously during the training. Phase Two The research objective of Phase Two was to obtain more in-depth data concerning the participantsÂ’ use of the sensory activities tha t were a part of their ALL training in order to answer research question one concerning va riety and frequency of those activities. The original design was to divide que stionnaire respondents into quartiles by reported high or low sensory activity use and comme nts made on the second page, and choose a purposeful sample of six to ten participan ts who fell into different groups of sensory activity use. However, when the responses on the returned questi onnaires were analyzed, such differences were not found. In fact, all had relati vely high reported use of the sensory activities. The researcher could not be certain tha t low use teachers did not exist since the sample included 37% of those trained; but it was ev ident that teachers who responded were those who valued the instructional procedures learned in ALL. Fourteen of the primary level teachers who completed questionnaires indicated that they were willing to be interviewed. Of the 14, all had reported high se nsory activity use. Letters, with selfaddressed and stamped envelopes, were sent to those 14 to confirm their consent to be interviewed and to acquire contact numbers and time s. By the second week of
60 November, five teachers had responded and consented to be interviewed. Of these five, only four teachers were currently teaching literacy lessons; the fifth was teaching math and science, but had taught literacy lessons the pr evious year. Later, in December when Phase Three was already under way, the researcher r eceived notification from two other teachers that they were willing to be interviewed. As a result, the researcher interviewed all seven of the teachers who found time in their s chedules to be interviewed, but two were interviewed after Phase Three had begun. These seven were from the original sample of 38 in Phase One who completed questionnai res. Questionnaires and interviews are often used in educational research to collect i nformation that is not directly observable (Gall, Borg, & Gall, 1996). In this stud y the questionnaire was used to gain an overview of teachersÂ’ reported sensory use, since t ime constraint prevented the researcher from interviewing or observing each respondent. Bog dan and Biklen (2003) see interviews as a way to gather data in the participa ntsÂ’ own words and thereby give the researcher insights into the participantsÂ’ view of the subject being studied. The researcher desired to enter into the teachersÂ’ worlds by allow ing them to talk about their own classroom implementation of the sensory activities learned in their ALL training. In qualitative studies a semi-structured interview is usually focused around particular topics and uses an interview guide to provide a reference to the researcher of questions and areas that should be explored (Bogdan & Biklen, 200 3; Patton, 2002; Seidman, 1998). As this study was investigating the topic of ALL train ed activities, the researcher designed an interview guide allowing the participants to exp and on their responses to the questionnaire.
61 Participants. The five primary level teachers, who responded in O ctober and early November, were interviewed in November and the othe r two after the first of the year. Before each interview, the participants were given a second IRB approved informed consent form (approved 7-15-2004) detailing the int erview and classroom observation phases of the study. Interviews were conducted aft er participants had been given time to consider their participation in this phase of the s tudy Data Collection. Each semi-structured interview was audio-taped and field notes were taken. All of the interviews were conducted at the participantsÂ’ schools, and most of them were conducted in the participantsÂ’ classrooms The interviews lasted between 40 and 60 minutes. The audio-tapes were transcribed by the researcher and the field notes were written up along with reflections and commenta ry of issues or themes that emerged during the interview and reflective process (Miles & Huberman, 1994). At this point a separate file was established for each participant, collecting data to provide the researcher with glimpses into the participantÂ’s world, which w ould later be compared and contrasted to data gathered from the other participantsÂ’ persp ective worlds. Instrument for Data Collection. The researcher designed an interview guide to probe for greater detail and clarification of comme nts made on the second page of the questionnaire. She piloted this interview guide wi th three teachers who had been a part of the Spring, 2003 ALL Class she had co-taught. I t was found that there were too many questions and some did not fit the classroom teache rsÂ’ experience in implementing ALL procedures (sensory activities) in their classroom. The guide (See Appendix G) was streamlined to include seven basic questions and al low teachers to explain their personal implementation of what they had learned. Three ques tions from the original guide, asking
62 for information on specific times of sensory activi ty use, were found to be difficult for intervieweesÂ’ response. Another seemed to illicit o nly one-word responses and so was eliminated. Finally, one question was added as a r esult of the added comments by the pilot interview teachers about sensory activities t hat were now being implemented in their whole group literacy lessons as well as in their gu ided reading groups. Data Analysis. Miles and Huberman (1994) recommend that data colle ction and data analysis be interwoven from the beginning of t he study. At this point in Phase Two the data collected from the interviews were analyze d using the themes and categories that emerged from the questionnaire data, as well as loo king for new categories and themes. The audio-tapes of the five November interviews wer e transcribed and the fieldnotes were typed with extra comments and observations add ed. The transcripts and rewritten notes were read the first time through to get a gen eral feel for the participantsÂ’ responses and points of view. Then the transcripts and notes were read again with the themes found in the questionnaire responses in mind. The third time reading through the data was a search for new themes and categories. The data gathered from the interviews allowed a mo re in-depth look at teacher reported use of the sensory activities and the teac herÂ’s attitudes toward such activities in their literacy lessons. Phase Three The objective of the third phase was to observe li teracy lessons in order to address the second research question concerning the relatio nship between teachersÂ’ reported use of sensory activities and their classroom practice. In order to do this, the third phase of investigation in this study was comparative case st udies of teachersÂ’ use of sensory
63 activities during their literacy lesson time. Four participants were included in the case studies because multiple case sampling adds confide nce to the findings (Miles & Huberman, 1994). These case studies were observati onal case studies as described by Bogdan & Biklen (2003) for the focus was an aspect of the literacy lesson, and the major data-gathering technique was observation, interview s and a review of documents. Although the original study design had been to choo se a purposeful sample, showing teachers with variance in sensory activity use, the case study sample became a convenience sample (Patton, 2002) as explained in t he participant section. Bassey (1999), in Case Study Research in Educational Settings, proposed that a case study can be a prime research strategy for dev eloping educational theory. He describes the theory seeking or theory testing case studies as contributing to theory through Â‘fuzzyÂ’ generalizations. Since this study u sed observation of multiple participants, the researcher hoped to discover a Â‘f uzzyÂ’ generalization about sensory activity use of ALL trained teachers in literacy le ssons since this area was relatively unexplored in research literature. Participants. In November, when the researcher chose the particip ants for the case studies, only five teachers had returned the c onsent to be interviewed letter. Of these five who were interviewed, one had become a half-da y teacher and was not teaching the language arts block time. This left four teachers available for the Phase Three case studies. All four consented to be observed and to take part in this phase of the study. So, what was designed to be a purposeful sample for Pha se Three became a convenience sample (Patton, 2002) of four first grade teachers in four different schools in the county
64 Data Instruments. The Sensory Activity Tally Sheet was designed and p iloted at the same time as the Sensory Activity Questionnaire Members of the ALL class used it while observing lesson videos. Most of the activiti es on the tally sheet were found to be appropriate for the lessons being observed. After t he pilot study, the tally sheet was changed to reflect the changes made in the question naire. This Tally Sheet was used during each of the five observations of each teache r case study participant. It would allow the researcher to quickly note any of the sen sory activities that were found during the observed literacy lessons. The researcher was trained to do observation of AL L literacy lessons in a twosemester ALL trainersÂ’ course. This course included nine graduate semester hours of class and practicum each semester. After training she spent two years working as an ALL trainer co-teaching the weekly class; and obser ving the teachersÂ’ literacy lessons in their classrooms to provide support during their ye ar long ALL training. The trainer would take extensive notes of the lesson and then p rovide feedback to the teacher. Using this experience in observation and the Sensory Acti vity Tally Sheet, the researcher would go into the participantsÂ’ classrooms to observe the ir literacy learning time and guided reading groups. She assured the teachers that this was not an evaluation of their teaching, but simply an observation of how they implement the ir ALL training into their classroom literacy program. The researcher sat discreetly to one side of the guided reading group area where she could observe the teacher during the lesson as well as the activities of the students who were not in the guided reading group. During the observation time the teacher went about her classroom procedures. In mos t cases, after the first observation the students usually ignored the researcher. Any talkin g or interaction with the researcher by
65 the teachers or students happened after the formal observation of the literacy lesson time. It was the objective of the researcher to record th e happenings as accurately as possible during the observation times. It was hoped that the tally sheet would help to curb the natural bias of the researcher to help her reconstr uct an accurate picture of the participantsÂ’ literacy lessons. The second measurement of Phase Three was actually performed by the participant teachers themselves. These literacy ass essments were running records as described by Marie Clay (2002) in An Observation Survey of Early Literacy Achievement. Each teacher in this school district has been trai ned to give literacy assessments three times per year using leveled coun ty-adopted testing books. This means that teachers in all schools would be using the sam e test books when giving the running record for reading accuracy and retell for comprehe nsion at each level. For kindergarten and first grade reading these levels followed the R igby PM Benchmark and Developmental Reading Assessment number levels, but at second grade and above the levels are usually reported in Fountas and Pinnell (1996) guided reading letter levels. The county conversion chart was used to translate all l etter levels of the reading scores above second grade level into numbers. These reading dat a were gathered by classroom group with only the gender and grade of the student given with the beginning (August), middle (December) and end of the year (May) reading progre ss scores. This protected the individual identities of the students and allowed t he researcher to collect a complete class set without an IRB form being required which might have led to incomplete class data.
66 Data Collection. The observational case studies (Bassey, 1999; Bogda n & Biklen, 2003; Patton, 2002) consisted of the original semistructured interview (during Phase Two), five observations of classroom literacy lesso ns, and a second interview for each of the four teachers. Class reading data were gathered from the teachers at the end of the first semester and at the end of the school year. T he second interview occurred after the observations were completed and included a member c heck of the first interview. Participants were given a copy of the transcript of the first interview and were allowed to give further input or clarification. The purpose of the second interview was to allow the researcher to confirm the accuracy of the analysis of the original interview and to clarify any questions that arose during observations. This was necessary since the guided reading lessons seen in the classroom were different from t he ALL lessons observed by the researcher during her experience as a trainer. Also each teacher implemented the ALL components differently in the literacy instruction lessons. Since the second interview varied with each participant an actual interview gu ide was not used. A third meeting was held close to the end of the school year and served as a member check of the transcriptions of both interviews and data collecte d from the observations. Participants were allowed to go over copies of this data and kee p a copy if desired. Three of the participants simply looked over the data and then h anded it back. One participant had asked for copies of her data and this was supplied for her. It was also at this time that the end of the year reading progress scores were added to the beginning and mid-year scores. The reading data were gathered to address research question three concerning the relationship between teacherÂ’s sensory activity use and the reading progress of the struggling readers in her class.
67 Each observation was conducted during the teacherÂ’s small group literacy lesson time. During each observation, the researcher took field notes and tallied the sensory activities (on a sensory tally sheet see Appendix E ) implemented by the teacher during literacy lesson and language arts time. Since par ticipant teachers indicated that Friday was usually a test day and not a good day for obser vations, the researcher scheduled observations so that each teacher was observed on a Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. It was necessary to fit observations into the teachersÂ’ schedules, so the observations took place over a span of weeks. A fi fth observation was made of each teacher in a different observation week from the pr evious observations. This allowed the researcher to view different stages in the literacy programs, as some components in their literacy programs were begun on Monday and continue d throughout the week. After completing the observations and the second i nterview, the researcher revisited all of the data of each case study to fur ther code and analyze the data. A comparison of the participantÂ’s reported use of sen sory activities was made with the actual data gathered in classroom observations usin g the tally sheets and field notes. The use of each activity was investigated by examining the reported use given on the 5-point scale of the questionnaire and comparing it with th e actual tallied used during observations. Then the activities were grouped by p redominant modality and a mean was calculated for reported use and for tallied use of visual, auditory, and tactile/kinesthetic activities. The two mean scores were compared to se e how well the teacher reported her actual use of the activities. This addressed resear ch question two concerning the relationship between reported use and actual use of the sensory activities.
68 Reading data gathered in Phase Three addressed rese arch question three which examined the possible relationship between the teac herÂ’s use of sensory activities and the reading growth of struggling readers. A cross comparison of the case studies looked at recurring and contrasting themes and examined differences in sensory use in the obse rved lessons. Data Analysis. The multi-sources in this study allowed triangulati on of data sources to strengthen the design of the study (Bogd an & Biklan, 2003; Patton, 2002). The data analysis followed the steps in the constan t comparative method of developing theory given by Glaser (1978): 1. Begin collecting data. Initial data included pilot study of questionnaire and tally sheet. Phase One-collection of questionnaire data using re vised questionnaire. 2. Look for key issues, recurrent events, or activi ties in the data that become categories of focus. Analysis of questionnaire data showing reported use of sensory activities. Looking for recurring categories and themes. 3. Collect data that provide many incidents of the categories of focus with an eye to seeing the diversity of the dimensions of the ca tegories. Phase TwoData from interview transcripts provide depth and confirmation to themes identified in questionnaire data. The search for diversity of dimensions was less successful, since most participants gave s imilar answers on the questionnaire and in interviews.
69 4. Write about the categories you are exploring, at tempting to describe and account for all incidents you have in your data whi le continually searching for new incidents. Phase ThreeAfter analyzing the data from question naires and interview transcripts the categories were written up. The mul tiple classroom observations were an attempt to find new informatio n, as well as confirm what the teacher participants had reported on their ques tionnaires and in their interviews. 5. Work with the data and emerging model to discove r social processes and relationships. After all data were gathered, the researcher examin ed the data to see what model of sensory use could be observed from the rep orts and observations of teachers trained in ALL procedures. 6. Engage in sampling, coding, and writing as the a nalysis focuses on the core categories. This was done in cycles or phases during the study. This study began with a sample of 38 participants during Phase One using qu estionnaires, and ended with a small sample of four first grade teachers fo r the observational case studies. This study had a structured focus to begin with in the sensory use questionnaire. This provided some categories for fo cus from the onset of the study because the categories and questions on the questio nnaire were based upon the ALL program, which was a common experience for the part icipants. These categories revised
70 and expanded as the study progressed. The research er used the constant comparative method as an ongoing process throughout the study. For instance, Question 4 on the questionnaire asked, Has your use of sensory activi ties changed since your ALL training? Please explain. The majority of the questionnaire respondents not only said that their use of such activities had changed but many of them ref erred to the ALL reading strategies which include many of the sensory activities. Anoth er recurring theme was that ALL training taught them what to say and questioning te chniques. These themes were also found in the interview transcripts, for instance t his paragraph from the initial interview with Ms. Elsworth (pseudonym) (Transcript of 11/16/ 04): When they come I have them learn the strategies, like look at the pictures and get your mouth ready I say to the kid that doesnÂ’t know the word. Â“Wha t could you do to figure out the word, remember what I taught y ou the other day---you can look at the pictures and get your mouth ready?Â” An d then they tell me what they can do. I say, Â“Oh why donÂ’t you try that.Â” After noting these themes concerning Â‘strategy talk ,Â’ the researcher looked for examples of that talk during the observations in the classro oms. Strategy talk in Reading Recovery and Accelerated L iteracy Learning incorporates a number of questions and cueing phras es for the teacher to use to aid a student who has encountered difficulty during the r eading process, for exampleÂ—Does it look right? or What would make sense? Qualitative Reliability In qualitative research reliability can be thought of in terms of dependability and consistency (Merriam, 1995). The nature of a quali tative study makes it difficult to
71 replicate the results from one study to another. Th erefore it is important to endeavor to make the results of the study consistent with the d ata collected for that study. To strengthen the internal reliability of this study t he researcher employed the following strategies. 1. Triangulation of data from the questionnaires, i nterviews, and classroom observations (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003; Patton, 2002). By gathering data using multiple methods and data s ources the researcher provides a clearer picture of the subject under inv estigation in this case the sensory use of ALL trained teachers. 2. Member checks by taking the data transcripts bac k to study participants (Seidman, 1998). By allowing the participants to give input through a member check, the researcher tries to minimize any misconceptions the researcher may have concerning the participantÂ’s point of view. 3. Researcher Journal during the study to help mini mize researcher bias (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). The Researcher Journal was used to provide an ongoi ng tool of reflection as to how the study was progressing. It allowed the resea rcher to examine bias and personal expectation in light of the data being gat hered in the study. More than once she found that she was seeing a very different implementation of ALL in the study than in her previous experience. The journal helped her examine her personal expectations in light of what was actually happening in the classrooms;
72 and then to balance this with a clearer view of the teachersÂ’ perspectives. It was a learning process for the researcher and brought abo ut personal change. 4. Collection of data for classroom observations fr om multiple sites and on different days of the week (Bogdan & Biklen, 2003). Multiple sites were chosen in order to analyze acro ss case studies to compare and contrast the usage of sensory activities by primary teachers. The observations were done on different days to get a picture of the daily use of sensory activities throughout the week. Summary This study investigated the use of sensory activiti es by primary teachers during their literacy lessons. The study incorporated blen ded methodology with a qualitative focus and some elements using descriptive statistic s. The data were gathered in three phases. The first phase used a questionnaire with a 5-point response scale which was sent to all teachers who received a year of training in Acceleration Literacy Learning still listed as employed in a central Florida school dist rict with 38 participants sending back a completed questionnaire. The second phase employed a sample of seven primary teachers from the first phase participants who agreed to be interviewed concerning their sensory activity use in their classroom. Finally, in the th ird phase four first grade teachers who had been interviewed were observed five times durin g their literacy lesson time to record their actual use of the sensory activity procedures from their ALL training. The six sources of data were analyzed over the course of th e study using the constant comparative method by Glaser (1978).
73 Chapter IV Results Introduction In this chapter the results of the study are prese nted and discussed. The data were collected by using a study design that employed ble nded methodology, applying a qualitative focus with some elements using sample d escriptive statistics. This allowed the researcher to explore the use of sensory activities by teachers who have received literacy intervention training within the designated county school system and gain as much understanding as possible within the confines of th e study. This study examined a group of teachersÂ’ self-repor ts of how early intervention training influenced their use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons as indicated by their responses to a questionnaire. A sub-group of these teachers was interviewed to bring depth and greater clarity to their questionnaire re sponses. The researcher also examined how teachersÂ’ reports of sensory activity use relat ed to their classroom practice through case studies of four of the teachers from the origi nal survey group. And finally the reading growth data from these case studies were ex amined in relation to the use of sensory activities in the classroom. These inquiri es were primarily guided by the following: Research Questions 1. What are the variety and frequency of sensory ac tivities used within primary grade literacy lessons by teachers who part icipated in literacy intervention training?
74 2. What is the relationship between teacher-reporte d use of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice? 3. What is the relationship between observed teacher u se of sensory activities and the assessed reading growth of strug gling readers in her/his classroom? The presentation of the results will be organized b y research question. In reporting the results for question one which encomp assed data from more than one phase of the study, data results will also be organized b y phase. Finally, case study vignettes will be given in narrative form to offer a glimpse into the lives and classrooms of the case study participants. Phase One Questionnaire responses. In Phase One of the study a questionnaire was sent out to the current list of teachers in a central Florid a school district who had participated in a year-long training in Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL). A total of 109 questionnaires were sent out in the first mailing. Five were retur ned as undeliverable, bringing the possible number down to 104. A second mailing brou ght the total number of returned questionnaires to 39, with one declining to fill ou t the 5-point scale response page. This gave an N or 38 for Phase One The participants in this phase included teachers w ho ranged from kindergarten to middle school, as well as those who worked exclusiv ely with ALL doing reading intervention and training. There were 37 females an d one male teacher in the sample. Twenty-six participants were K-2 teachers, seven we re 3-5, one was a middle school teacher and four were ALL reading teachers. The ALL reading teachers are reading
75 intervention specialists who spend their time worki ng with struggling readers from various classrooms. The data gathered during this phase were used to a nswer the first research question: What are the variety and frequency of sen sory activities used within primary grade literacy lessons by teachers who participated in literacy intervention training? The front of the questionnaire included a list of sensory activities that participants responded to by marking a five point 5-point respon se scale (Appendix D).The scale indicated frequency of use the activity. The range of the scale included: 1 = once per month or less; 2 = 2-3 times per month; 3 = weekly ; 4 = 2-3 times per week; and 5 = daily. Using a descriptive statistics program (see Table 3) a mean score and standard deviation were calculated for each activity to show the overall frequency of reported use for that activity. Finally, an overall mean score a nd standard deviation were calculated for the sensory modalities of visual, auditory, and tac tile/kinesthetic, which would indicate how the modalities were reported as being used by t he participants. The results can be found in Table 3.
76 Table 3 Descriptive Statistics for Sensory Activities Quest ionnaire Items ________________ Visual Activity Mean Standard Deviation____n____ _____ Directs students to pictures 4.68 0.66 38 Say, Does it look right? 4.42 0.76 38 Read familiar Books 4.53 0.89 38 Refer to charts/posters 4.50 0.92 38 Find the hard part 3.37 1.32 38 Find the chunk 4.29 1.01 38 Reread to check visually 4.51 0.61 37 Locate word in text 4.21 0.94 38 Teach or cue directionality 3.14 1.65 37 Nine Visual Activities 4.18 0.55 CronbachÂ’s Alpha for Visual Modality .80 (n of items = 9) Auditory Activity Mean Standard Deviation____n__ _______ Say, Does it sound right? 4.47 0.65 38 Cue, get mouth ready for sound 4.03 1.30 37 Stretching the sounds in words 4.13 1.14 38 Elkonin Boxes for sounds 3.05 1.29 38 Hearing/finding rhyme 3.74 1.11 38 Reread writing aloud 4.11 0.94 37 Saying letters while writing words 3.45 1.31 38
77 Table 3 (Continued) ___________________________________________________ _____________________ Auditory Actitivy________________Mean______Standard Deviation____n__________ Talk about the story 4.76 0.55 37 Verbally introduce vocabulary 4.38 0.83 37 Echo or choral read 3.68 0.92 37_________ Ten Auditory Activities 3.98 0.51 CronbachÂ’s Alpha for Auditory Modality .82 (n o f items = 10) Tactile/Kinesthetic Activity Mean Standard Deviat ion____n_________ Body movements for segmenting 2.84 1.56 37 Finger pointing to words 4.58 0.98 38 Frame word or chunk with fingers 4.14 1.11 37 Magnetic letters or tiles 2.95 1.27 38 Writing sentences 3.89 1.16 38 Moving chips in Elkonin boxes 2.74 1.31 38 Writing words for fluency 3.59 1.28 37 Reconstructing cut-up sentence 3.21 1.31 38 Other activities for cut-up sentence 2.84 1.17 37 Rubber band for stretching words 2.19 1.47 37 Using a card to frame words 2.61 1.41 38______ ___ Eleven Tactile/Kinesthetic Activities 3.24 0.73 CronbachÂ’s Alpha for Tactile/Kinesthetic Modality .85 (n of items = 11)
78 1. The visual activities had the highest mean score with 4.18 ( SD = 0.55). All but two activities had reported use of at least 2-3 times weekly (5-point scale score of 4 or 5). The other two were in the w eekly use range. One of these activities, teach or cue directionality, was strongly influenced by the grade level the teacher was working with at the tim e. The standard deviation of 1.65 illustrates the wide variance of reported use. Daily use was reported by 12 teachers, most of them from kind ergarten and first grade, while nine teachers reported once per month or less. The other low use visual activity, ask the student to find the ha rd part, is implemented when the teacher has a student find the place of di fficulty in the text. This activity with a mean score of 3.37 ( SD = 1.32) was reported as used least by kindergarten teachers. The three highest use vis ual activities were: Directs the students to pictures, mean, 4.68( SD = 0.66); Reread to check visually, mean,4.51 ( SD = 0.61); and Say, Does it look right? mean, 4.42 (SD,0.76). The CronbachÂ’s Alpha for the Visual M odality (N of items =9) was .80 indicating satisfactory reliability. 2. Auditory activities had a mean of 3.98 ( SD = 0.51). Six of the ten auditory activities had an average use of 4 or more indicating that these were reported as used at least two to three times p er week in their literacy lessons. Only one of these activities had lower th an a 3, Elkonin boxes for sounds. Elkonin boxes were used most frequently by kindergarten and first grade teachers and rarely, if at all by those over third grade. This is
79 not surprising since Elkonin boxes are used to segm ent the sounds in a word and help students learn to hear those sounds a nd sequence them. The three highest use auditory activities were: Talk ab out the story, mean, 4.76 ( SD = 0.55); Say, Does it sound right? mean, 4.47 ( SD = 0.65); and Verbally introduce vocabulary, mean 4.38 ( SD = 0.83). These activities were used by teachers at all grade levels. The Cron bachÂ’s Alpha for the Audtory Modality (N of items = 10) was .82 which in dicates satisfactory reliability. 3. Tactile/Kinesthetic activities had the lowest re ported use mean with 3.24 ( SD = 0.73), but were still used with frequency in the participantsÂ’ literacy lessons. The two activities with highest reported use and mean scores were, student finger point to words, mean score 4.5 8 ( SD = 0.98), and, frame the word or chunk with fingers or hands, mean score 4.14 ( SD =1.11). The lowest scores on these activities were intermediate grade teachers, most primary teachers reported high use. Writing sentences during the literacy lessons mean score was also hig h with 3.89 ( SD = 1.16) indicating that a majority of the teachers includin g writing weekly to 2-3 times per week. Some of these teachers reported o n the second page of the questionnaire they would like to have their stu dents do more writing but were limited in time. Although four of the act ivities had an average that indicated use of 2-3 times per month, two of t hem, moving chips in Elkonin boxes, and, using other activities for the cut-up sentence, were strongly tied to the level of students the teachers were teaching. The last
80 two activities, rubber band for stretching the word s, and, using a card to frame words, appeared to be related to teacher pref erence since most either reported consistent use of the activity or indicate d 1 for once per month or less. The CronbachÂ’s Alpha for the Tactile/kinesthe tic Modality (N of items = 11) was .85 which indicates satisfactory re liability. Overall, the teachers reported using many differen t activities in all three sensory modalities. As would be expected most primary teac hers reported higher use than those teaching intermediate or middle school students. Ta ble 4 gives an overview of sensory activity usage. High usage is defined as 4 or 5 on the 5-point scale, which would indicate at least 2-3 times per week up to daily. Low usage is 1-3 on the 5-point scale indicating usage as little as once per month or less and up to once per week. The teachers are categorized as grades K-2, 3-8, and other for those not teaching in the classroom. Table 4 High and Low Sensory Activity Usage by Grade Level_ ________________ ___________ Sensory Activity K-2 (n = 26) 3-8 (n = 8) Other (n = 4) Hig h Low High Low High Low_ Direct student to picture 26 (100%) 0 6 (75%) 2 4 (100%) 0 Say, Does it look right 23 (88%) 3 5 (63%) 3 4 (100%) 0 Read familiar books 26 (100%) 0 5 (63%) 3 4(100%) 0 Refer to charts, posters 25 (96%) 1 5 (63%) 3 4 (100%) 0 Find the hard part 15 (58%) 11 3 (38%) 5 4 (100%) 0 Find the chunk 20 (77%) 6 6 (75%) 2 3 (75% ) 1 Reread to check visually 25 (96%) 1 6 (75%) 1* 4 (100%) 0
81 Table 4 (Continued) ___________________________________________________ _____________________ Sensory Activity K-2 (n = 26) 3-8 ( n = 8) Other (n =4) High Low High Low Hi gh Low Locate word in text 21 (81%) 5 5 (63% 3 4 (100%) 0 Teach or cue directionality 15 (58%) 11 1 (13%) 6* 1 (25%) 3 Say, Does it sound right 25 (96%) 1 7 (88% ) 1 4 (100%) 0 Get mouth ready for sound 24 (92%) 2 4 (50%) 4 3 (75%) Stretch sounds in words 22 (85% 4 2 (25%) 6 3 (75%) 1 Elkonin Boxes for sounds 14 (54%) 12 1 (13%) 7 1 (25%) 3 Hearing/finding rhyme 16 (62%) 10 3 (38%) 5 3 (75%) 1 Reread writing aloud 19 (73%) 6* 5 (63%) 3 3 (75%) 1 Say letters while writing 17 (65%) 9 4 (50%) 4 2 (50%) 2 Talk about the story 23 (88%) 2* 8 (100%) 0 4 (100%) 0 Verbally introduce vocab. 21 (81%) 4* 7 (88%) 1 3 (75%) 1 Echo or choral read 18 (69%) 7* 3 (38%) 5 1 (25%) 3 Movements for segmenting 14 (54%) 12 1 (13 %) 7 1(25%) 2* Finger point to words 26 (100%) 0 6 (75%) 2 2 (50%) 2 Frame word with hands 21(81%) 4* 5 ((63%) 3 2 (50%) 2 Magnetic letters or tiles 11 (42%) 14 1 ((13% ) 7 3 (75%) 1 Writing sentences 17 (65%) 9 5 (63%) 3 4 (100%) 0 Moving chips in boxes 10 (38%) 16 1 (13%) 7 2 (50%) 2 Writing words for fluency 18 (69%) 8 3 (38 %) 4* 3 (75%) 1
82 Table 4 (Continued) ___________________________________________________ _____________________ Sensory Activity K-2 (n = 26) 3-8 ( n = 8) Other (n =4) High Low High Low Hi gh Low Reconstructing sentence 15 (57%) 11 0 (0%) 8 3 (75%) 1 Activities cut-up sentence 12 (46%) 14 0 (0%) 8 2 (50%) 1* Rubber band for stretching 7 (27%) 19 1 (13% ) 7 1 (25%) 2* Words Card to frame words 7 (27%) 19 3 (38%) 5 1 (25%) 3 *Indicates one participant in this group did not re spond. Written responses. On the second page of the questionnaire, teachers i ndicated what grade levels they were teaching and other read ing training that they had received. Four of the teachers had been trained in Reading Fi rst and most of them had received training in other district workshops. In order to gather more specific data about their use of sensory activities the participants were asked to respond to three questio ns. All but five participants gave some response to these questions. First query: Describe your use of sensory activiti es in your literacy lessons before ALL training. Answers could be categorized into tw o main groups: 1. Twenty-two participants (58%) responded saying t hey had little use of sensory activities, similar to those from the ALL program, in their literacy lessons before ALL training. Examples of responses given by those in the little use category:
83 Â“I taught reading in groups and helped students sou nd out difficult words. This was the only resource I gave them. Now many t imes making the sounds is the last resource I use with students.Â” Â“I was a first year teacher with very little traini ng. My guided reading lessons contained little or no sensory activities.Â” Â“I did far less small group/guided reading. I limit ed myself to whole group lessons with following literacy activities to reinf orce.Â” Â“I followed the basal reader prior to 1992, very fe w sensory activities were used.Â” (examples from page two of questionnaires) 2. Twelve participants (32%) reported using various sensory activities before training. Of the 12 teachers who reported using va rious activities some had previous experience with deaf education, Montessori and working with high-risk students. A couple of the younger teachers made th ese comments: Â“I used a whole language approach to teaching. I in cluded poems, songs, chants, big books, etc. and encouraged student inte raction through literacy centers. I used trade books to encourage independen t reading.Â” Â“I have always used sensory activities in my lesson s because that is how I was taught at USF and with K-1 students, it helps t hem internalize.Â” (examples from page 2 of questionnaires) It would seem that some of the teacher education pr ograms are now training the preservice teachers to use such activities in their li teracy lessons. Second Query : Has your use of sensory activities changed since your ALL training? Please explain.
84 The responses to the second query elicited longer r esponses and greater variation. Twenty-three participants (61%) responded they were now using more activities as a result of their training. Four of these teachers s tated that their training made their use of sensory activities more consistent and purposeful. Eleven other participants did not discuss their change in use of sensory activities, but instead discussed the importance of learning to use strategies and cueing systems with their students as a result of their ALL training. Four main themes could be found in these responses: 1. Teacher Change A common comment from those reporting change was Â“ I now involve more of the senses (page 2 comment, questionnaire).Â” The r esults were similar to the teachersÂ’ reports in the pilot study, where teachers reported using more senses and a greater variety of activities in their literacy lessons after their ALL training. However, many comments also reflected a reflective change in decision-maki ng as characterized by the following comment--Â“ I am much more aware of what I am doing and the purpose of it. It has changed the way I do all of my instruction (page 2 comment, questionnaire).Â” 2. Teacher Empowerment When asked to describe how their ALL training impac ted their teaching of struggling readers, one teacher commented,Â“ I have a better understanding of the rationale for using these activities. Now I see how essential these activities are with the at risk population (page 2 comment, questionnaire).Â” Not only did teachers report having a better understanding of what they could do to help their struggling readers, but they felt empowered to be able to expect their students to be successful. As one teacher explained, Â“ I have learned a tremendous amount of beneficial techniques to use with my students
85 for a great success rate (page 2 comment, questionn aire).Â” The teachers had positive outlook on their work with students struggling to l earn to read. 3. Student Empowerment The teachers not only reported feeling empowered th emselves, but that the program helped them to empower their students to be come independent learners. One teacher explained this helped her students become r eflective because, Â“I am able to give students some ideas to think about when they are ha ving problems (page 2 comment, questionnaire.Â” Another shared, Â“It has enabled my struggling readers to have fix up strategies that are easy and usable (page 2 comment questionnaire).Â” 4. Strategy Talk The use of ALL trained strategies and cueing system s showed up in many different comments throughout page two. Strategy t alk training included questions and comments that a teacher could use to help students become more reflective in the reading and writing process. Many of the teachers felt this was the most important thing that they had learned in their ALL training. For instance, on e teacherÂ’s comment was Â“I use the strategies and lesson format in all my teaching of reading and writing.Â” While another stated, Â“I incorporate strategies and activities in to other content areas (page 2 comment, questionnaire).Â” Third Query : If you are a classroom teacher, describe the impa ct of your ALL training upon your literacy lessons with the strugg ling readers in your classroom. Eight (21%) of the respondents indicated that ALL t raining has had an impact on how they teach reading to all of their students, no t just those who are struggling.
86 Ten other participants (26%) stated that ALL train ing equipped them as teachers to teach struggling students through a knowledge of strategies, questioning and cueing systems. Sixteen respondents (42%) discussed how their ALL training impacted the students by equipping them to be independent learne rs. Many of these commented on their struggling students learning str ategies, feeling confident and successful, and being motivated to stay on task. One teacherÂ’s comment largely summed up the feelin gs of these participants: Â“ It has made a world of difference for my struggling re aders to have a success story and increased progress in all of my readers.Â” (page 2 of respondentÂ’s questionnaire) Near the end of the second page the participants w ere asked to indicate if they were willing to have a one-hour interview with the researcher. A total of 19 indicated that they would be willing to participate in an int erview, but only 14 of these were primary level teachers. Final Response : Participants were encouraged to write any other com ments that they would like to share. Sixteen of the 38 partici pants offered further comments. All but one were comments commending the program, that part icipant indicated, Â“I donÂ’t feel I am teaching a large population of students who will benefit by ALL methods (She taught grades 3-5).Â” However, six participants responded t hat they felt the training would be valuable for all teachers to receive.
87 Since ALL training was originally designed for use with early childhood it is not surprising that participants with older students fi nd less relevance, and many of those teaching early grades found the program especially helpful. Phase Two The purpose of Phase Two of the study was to gain more in-depth understanding of reported teacher use of sensory activities. Thi s phase continued to address the first research question concerning the frequency and vari ety of sensory activity use by ALL trained teachers. The focus of the study was on the use of sensory ac tivities in primary level literacy lessons, however the researcher found that only 26 of the 38 participants in Phase One fit the category of a primary classroom teacher This was a surprise to the researcher for her prior experience with the program had been with only primary level teachers. Since the objective of the questionnaire was to get an overview of sensory use by ALL trained teachers, the researcher decided to look at all of the participants in Phase One. However, since the research questions specified pri mary literacy lessons, the researcher felt it best to limit Phase Two and Three to primar y classroom teachers. Fourteen primary classroom teachers had indicated a willingness on t heir questionnaire to participate in an interview. In October, letters were sent to those 14 participants; a stamped addressed envelope was enclosed and they were asked to send c ontact information. By the end of October only four participants had replied providin g the researcher with the information necessary to set up interviews. Those four were co ntacted and interviews were set up. All four teachers were first grade teachers, but on e no longer taught the language arts block in her classroom. These four were interviewe d during the first two weeks of
88 November. During that time, a fifth first grade tea cher agreed to be interviewed and she was interviewed the following week. Although the original plan had been to interview 6 -8 teachers, some of whom had indicated high use and others low use of sensory ac tivities, this was not possible since all respondents agreeing to be interviewed indicated a high use of sensory activities. With the low rate of return the researcher decided to in terview all primary classroom teachers who agreed to be interviewed. In late November and in December, two more teachers sent back the contact information. Since Phase Thr ee in the classrooms had already begun, the researcher followed up those teachers wi th interviews during the final interview process of Phase Three. Interviews. All seven interviews were approximately one hour l ong. Six of the seven teachers taught first grade and one teacher t aught kindergarten. They represented six different schools in the central Florida school district. The researcher used the teachersÂ’ personal questionnaire data and a semi-st ructured interview guide (Appendix E) to guide the interview. Although a primary focu s was to expand on their use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons, the t eachers were also encouraged to explain their implementation of their ALL lesson training i n their own classroom. Two of the first grade teachers worked for a while as reading interv ention teachers who pulled out children from other classrooms, but were now back i n the classroom full-time. The other five teachers were classroom teachers before their training and have only implemented the ALL literacy program as a classroom teacher; wi th the exception of their experience working one-on-one with a child after school during their training.
89 Three of the teachers, Marsha Newton, Brenda Graha m, and Debbie Gresham (pseudonyms), took their training after only one or two years of teaching experience. Brenda Graham related her frustration in trying to run a whole language classroom, feeling that she did not know how to help her stude nts become successful readers. After her ALL training she felt equipped to handle studen ts who struggled to learn to read. Marsha Newton had a similar experience but was usin g a basal reading program; now she used the ALL strategies and activities with her ent ire class. The training gave her a repertoire of techniques that can be used as needed in her literacy lessons. Debbie Gresham was in her fourth year of teaching and her third year of using ALL program knowledge in her classroom. She said she really co uld not remember what she did that first year except follow the curriculum. She tries to fit as much of the ALL lesson components into her guided reading groups as time a llows. Three teachers, Cynthia Carson, Lisette Elsworth, and Teresa Jennings, have 20 to 30 years of experience. They considered themselves effective experienced teachers even before receiving the ALL training, but all commente d on how some of their fundamental ideas about teaching reading changed as a result of the training. Two of the teachers, Carla Denton and Lisette Elsw orth, had a lot of prior experience with sensory activities before their tra ining. Carla Denton had Montessori training and had made use of her Montessori experie nce in her classroom. Lisette Elsworth had worked with preschool children for yea rs before teaching first grade and planned activities for her students that engaged th e senses as much as possible. The other five had little prior experience in using sensory a ctivities in their classroom and they
90 reported a definite increase in both variety and fr equency of use of such activities as a result of their training. The predominant themes in the interviews reflected the themes found in the page two responses on the questionnaires in Phase One. T hese themes were teacher change, teacher empowerment, strategy talk, and student emp owerment. Although these themes were not always directly related to the study inqui ry into sensory activity use, they were an essential part of these teachersÂ’ personal persp ectives. Teacher change. A common theme of the interviewees was change. They all talked about how their thinking and teaching evolve d over the year they received the training. Cynthia Carson affirmed that although sh e had taught school for nearly 20 years before her training, she had never learned anything about teaching reading that was as effective and life-changing as her ALL training. Sh e said, Back in the 80Â’s they did not teach anything about reading like this program. I never even knew those strategies until I took the A LL training and it was so, like why hadnÂ’t someone come up with something like this a hundred years ago. It is so simple (Transcript, 11/9/04). Carla Denton had been teaching for a several years but she still felt inadequate when working with the students who needed extra hel p to learn to read. She had even been working in an after school program for at-risk readers. She felt that her ALL training helped her both in the classroom and with the after school readers. She said now she knows how to assess their needs and what to do to help them. In fact, she related that the training has changed her classroom language, fo r now she uses strategy talk in guided
91 reading group and in whole group instruction. She t alked about the time commitment of the year-long training and how at times the trainin g seemed very repetitive. It was like, if we have to doÂ—sounds like, looks li keÂ—you know like your are thinking, I am an adult I got the idea. But to have it just as a part of you, that you are not planning it or thinking of it And you have to keep doing it over and over. And you have to practice it If was not fun to have to stay 45 minutes after school to have to tutor. I t was not fun to have someone watch me. But if I had not practiced those skills, I donÂ’t think they would have become a part of me (Transcript, 11 /4/04). Four out of the seven teachers interviewed comment ed on how the year-long training with observations allowed them to effectiv ely implement what they were learning. At first they were uneasy when their tra iners came for observations, but soon they realized that the observation was for their be nefit so that they might fine-tune their ability to use their knowledge and make skillful te aching decisions during their lessons. It was Lisette Elsworth who expressed the concept o f change most eloquently. My training has really humbled me, and I told them that when I first went into ALL I thought I was a good teacher. And I real ly did. Then I began to see how much lack there was in my style and deliver y in working with my kids in these small groups to achieve. I said you k now I have a lot of work to do. So, now I am not a master yet, but I am grad ually growing toward becoming a master of the ALL training, based on the training I have received and taken back to my classroom (Transcript 11/16/04)).
92 Teacher empowerment Corresponding with the theme of teacher change, w as that of teacher empowerment. Every one of the teachers i nterviewed expressed that ALL training gave them the theoretical base and tools t o be effective reading teachers. Marsha NewtonÂ’s comment about this feeling of adeq uacy was, Â“It was some of the hardest training I ever took, but when you get finished with it, you feel like you are a real reading teacher. (Transcript, 2/11/05)Â” Carla Denton was so enthusiastic about the program that she said, Â“So, I would recommend it to anybody. If you really want to impr ove your reading skills. If you really want to know how to help a child who is struggling with reading. Take this class. You will know (Transcript, 11/4/04).Â” Brenda Graham related her very frustrating first y ear of teaching. She described her university reading course, Â“I had just had a ho w to teach reading and it seemed, that whole language was the thing. And it seemed like if you just put books in front of them, and you surrounded them with literature, and you su rrounded them with a print rich environmentÂ—it was just going to by osmosis get in. I felt like I did such a bad job my first year, that two years later after I took the A LL training, I asked to have those same kids again. I felt I could do a better job. (Transc ript, 11/9/04)Â” Each of the teachers expressed that the training e mpowered them to be a teacher prepared to meet the needs of the students in their classrooms, especially those students that are most at-risk in literacy learning. Strategy talk. Another dominant theme found in the interview trans cripts was strategy talk. The term Â‘strategy talkÂ’ is a short way of talking about prompts to support the use of strategies (Clay, 1993; Fountas & Pinnel l, 1996). Clay (1993) advocated the
93 training of teachers to use prompts and questions a t the point of need to scaffold the studentÂ’s development of strategic reading. Founta s and Pinnell (1996) further developed these prompts into a chart in their book, Guided Re ading (Sample handout from ALL, Appendix I). Approximately one third of the sensory activities the teachers were responding to on the questionnaire related directly to strategy talk. Every teacher interviewed related how empowered they felt as read ing teachers when they began to understand and use the questioning techniques and s trategies that were a part of their training. Over and over when they related implement ing ALL into their classroom the words strategies, questioning, and cross-checking w ould come up. Several mentioned that strategy talk became a part of the teacher tal k in their classrooms. It was this change in their teacher language that seemed to be of high est significance to them as reading teachers. Carla Denton explained it this way. The biggest change has been in using the strategies And I use them in the reading group. And I use them in the whole group. ItÂ’s just that the language of our classroom is changed a little bit. We have strategy talk, What can you use to figure this out? And I think I do more questioning, open-ended questioning. How did you know this word? How did you figure this out ? What strategy did you use? (Transcript, 11/4/04) In her interview, Lisette Elsworth illustrated the way she uses strategy talk with her students when she is conducting her literacy l essons. When they come in I have them learn the strategies, like Â‘look at the picturesÂ’ and Â‘get your mouth ready.Â’ I say to the kid that doesn Â’t know the word, Â‘What could
94 you do to figure out the word, remember what I taug ht you the other dayÂ—you can look at pictures and get your mouth ready.Â’ And then they tell me what they can do, and I say, Â’Oh, why donÂ’t you try that?Â’ (T ranscript, 11/16/04) When describing how her literacy lessons have chan ged, Debbie Gresham explained, I know the questions to ask them now, you know to h elp them figure it out. I know how to help them think about their own thinkin g. And that was not something that I understood before. And that is a b ig thing, making sure that they are cross-checking all the time, and all that kind of thing. ThatÂ’s definitely something I do differently now (Transcript, 11/4/04 ). This aspect of scaffolding the meta-cognition of th eir students through strategy talk was the most predominant theme in the written answers on the questionnaires and in the interviews. It seemed to be the catalyst for te acher change for it brought about a different way of thinking, talking and interacting with students during the literacy lesson. In another dimension, Brenda Graham shared how thi s has changed her interaction with parents. She said parents are more open and cooperative when you can say, Â“I know exactly where your child is and I know exactly what is working and what is not. Here is where the need is and here is where we need to work (Transcript, 11/9/04).Â” Other interviewees also related how this had helped them to effectively communicate with their studentsÂ’ parents. Student empowerment. Interrelated with the theme of strategy talk was th e theme of students becoming independent learners. Marie Cl ay (1993) wrote that the purpose for teaching children strategies was that it would prod uce in the students a self-extending
95 system allowing them to become independent in their learning. All of the teachers touched on this in some way as they described their implementation of ALL training into their classroom. Debbie Gresham described the chan ge in her teacher talk to her students and how it helped them to think about what is happe ning as they read. Lisette Elsworth related, Â“So this becomes a part of my teaching sty le. And its automatic, and my kids also teach others--Look at the pictures. Get your mout h ready to say the first sound. So they are also using the strategies with each other, whic h is what I wantÂ” (Transcript 11/16/04). Cynthia Carson put it this way, Â“I think if they ca n learn those strategies, they can figure out almost any word. If they will use the strategie s that they are given, they can figure it out. That is, if they are willing to take the time (Transcript, 11/9/04).Â” Summary of Research Question One What are the variety and frequency of sensory activ ities used within primary grade literacy lessons by teachers who participated in literacy intervention training? Summarizing the results to Research Question One, the teachers responding on the questionnaire reported using most of the sensor y activities. The 5-point response scale mean for the predominantly visual activities was 4. 18 ( SD = 0.55) (See Table 3), which would indicate most of the activities were used two to three times per week. The predominantly auditory activities had a mean of 3.9 8 ( SD = 0.51) which would indicate use at least once per week. The last area of tacti le/kinesthetic mean was 3.23 ( SD = 0.73), which also would indicate at least weekly us e. In addition to this, interview data supported this high use of the sensory activities l earned in their ALL training. The major
96 themes found in the interviews and written response s were teacher change, teacher empowerment, student empowerment, and strategy talk The teachers not only discussed their use of sensory teaching techniques but how le arning the ALL program brought real change for them and their students. Phase Three The purpose for Phase Three was to collect data tha t would address research questions two and three. 2. What is the relationship between teacher-reporte d use of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice? 3. What is the relationship between observed teache r use of sensory activities and the assessed reading growth of struggling readers i n her/his classroom? Phase Three of the study was multiple case studies of four of the teachers who were interviewed in Phase Two. Although the resear cher originally planned to look for teachers with different sensory activity use for th is phase, there were only four classroom teachers who taught language arts who were availabl e for observations during this time. Therefore the sample for Phase Three became a conve nience sample (Patton, 2002) by default. The teachers were from four different scho ols. All of them taught first grade primarily but two had students from other grades du ring their language arts instruction time. In order to gather data for this phase the researc her made five observations of each of the four teachers during their language art s block time. The observations began in November and were completed in January. During each observation, the researcher tallied the sensory activities used by the teacher during the language arts instruction on a
97 Sensory Tally Sheet (Appendix E). The researcher al so took field notes of the observed language arts time. During these observations the researcher was just an observer, not a participant, and usually sat close to the guided re ading area but in full view of the entire classroom. At the end of the observations in January the rese archer had a second interview with each of the four teachers and gathered class r eading assessment data. The reading assessment data gave the reading level of each chil d at the beginning of the year and at mid-year. These reading levels are derived from sco res obtained using a county wide leveled book assessment set. This meant that all of the teachers were using the same assessment books to determine student reading level At this time the researcher also had a member check with the teachers going over the tra nscripts of the first interviews and information gathered during the observations. In M ay, the researcher would meet with each of the four teachers and gather end of the yea r reading data. At that time the transcript of the second interview was made availab le to them. Only one teacher actually wanted copies of her personal data and these were g iven to her. All of the teachers were interested in discussing their data. Case study vignettes. Carla Denton Â– Lincoln Elemen tary (pseudonym) Lincoln Elementary was a large suburban school loc ated on a four-lane highway. The school was surrounded by housing developments a nd commercial businesses. It was a Title 1 school with a substantial minority popula tion. Of the four schools, it had the most mobile population and for that reason Ms. Dent on only had 15 students with beginning, mid and end of the year reading scores, even though she usually had at least 17 students.
98 Carla Denton had spent time teaching in Montessori schools prior to teaching at Lincoln Elementary. Her first grade classroom was filled with many centers and she involved her students in many creative endeavors al ong with her regular curriculum studies. She had just finished her ALL training the year before and was implementing it not only in her classroom but also in an after scho ol program for at-risk readers. As might be expected with her Montessori experience, M s. Denton had the highest average of sensory activity use of the four teachers. She n ot only used them in her guided reading lessons but also during whole group language instru ction and in her many centers. Ms. Denton worked at implementing the components o f the ALL lesson in her guided reading groups. She always began with famil iar reads and introducing and reading new text. She tried to fit in writing a sen tence whenever possible but this was usually only about one time per week. During her i nterview she reflected on her prior training and related that while her knowledge of Fo untas and Pinnell guided reading gave her a structure for her reading groups, it was her ALL training that had provided her with the kinds of things you can do within that structur e. In conjunction with the Houghton Mifflin Reading Series, she tried to develop and mo del the reading strategies and cueing systems during her whole group and small group work with her students. She shared that although the she had felt the train ing was long and time consuming, in the end she realized that these facto rs were necessary to allow the language of the strategies and other aspects of the ALL program to become second nature to her. This gave her the flexibility to make decis ions while she was in the teaching process.
99 Ms. DentonÂ’s greatest concern was time. She had f our reading groups and would like to meet with them daily but usually managed fr om 3-5 times per week. Some of her students were pulled to another program during her language arts block time and sometimes they would miss important things in her c lassroom. Also, children were allowed to go to the lunchroom and eat breakfast ev en though it was time for school to start. Some of her students were late nearly every morning and she could not begin her group instruction until about thirty minutes into h er morning. The researcher did observe the children coming and going during her language a rts block and could see that this does cut down the actual time she has to teach language arts effectively. Debbie Gresham Â– Forest Park Elementary (pseudonym) Forest Park Elementary was a beautiful fairly new suburban school that was located about a mile off of a main highway with a f orest on three sides. It was a middle class school with large well-equipped classrooms an d many volunteers. Ms. Gresham had only two bus riders among her students, the rest we re car riders, in great contrast to the other three schools, which were all Title 1 schools The students in her class had the highest average reading level at the beginning of t he year. Ms. GreshamÂ’s literacy instruction time ran like a finely tuned machine. She had literacy centers that students rotated to during th e time she did her guided reading groups. These centers usually consisted of: a writing cente r, a making words center, computer literacy skills time, and reading Accelerated Reade r books at the studentsÂ’ desks. By the end of the literacy block time, all students wo uld rotate through the various activities. She often had volunteers who would work with a grou p of students on something while she was conducting her guided reading groups. She h ad four reading groups in her
100 language arts class of 17 first grade students and two kindergarten students. She predominantly used the Houghton Mifflin readers, bu t would also pull in other books when possible. Ms. Gresham followed the ALL lesson format very closely except for the sentence writing. Writing at her school was mandate d as a separate event and her writing time was after lunch. However, she did relate that she often used ALL activities like stretching the words and Elkonin boxes during her w riting time. Although she had grown children of her own, Ms. Gr esham had only been teaching for four years. She had been trained in A LL the second year of her teaching and felt it was a major reason for her success at teach ing children to read. She had developed an amazing withitness in that she was very aware of what every student was doing, even while she was teaching a group, and she held every student accountable for staying on task at the center or activity in which they were i nvolved. Lisette Elsworth Â– Washington Elementary (pseudonym ) Washington Elementary was an older Title 1 school i n the inner city area of a small town. The student population was predominatel y minority. The school was clean and filled with upbeat posters to inspire the stude nts to do their best. Students in the hallway were orderly and appeared to be very engage d with learning in the classroom. Lisette ElsworthÂ’s language arts class was made up of 11 first grade students, four second grade students, and one kindergarten student. The school strove to put the students into reading classes that would best meet their needs, w hich explained the mix of grade levels. Lisette Elsworth was an experienced teacher with a Caribbean heritage. She had worked at the preschool level before teaching first grade and described herself as Â“a very enthusiastic teacher. I always do a lot of music, m ovement and artÂ” (Interview Transcript
101 11/16/04). Ms. Elsworth also tried to apply Howard GardnerÂ’s intelligences to her teaching. She was very dedicated to her students, coming early each morning to have an extra half hour Accelerated Reading time for studen ts to read their books. She and some parent volunteers would listen to students read and ask them questions about what they read. Ms. Elsworth related that when she took the ALL tr aining she began to identify with Marie Clay. She said, Â“ I read the book more t han once because there were some areas that I felt compelled to look at in depth. O ne of the chapters talked about reading as a quiet process. It goes on so quietly inside the h ead of the child. And that really strengthens meÂ” (Interview Transcript). In her cla ssroom, Ms. Elsworth used ALL techniques when she taught, whether she was working with the whole class or her guided reading group. Of all of the teachers, she tried to follow the AL L lesson components the most closely. She began with the children reading famili ar books and stories and did a running record with one member of the group during the fami liar read time. She then worked on a word pattern that would be encountered in their sto ry, and had the students write a sentence on a sentence strip using one of the words that they talked about. She cut up the childrenÂ’s sentences and had each child reconstruct their sentence. In one lesson she would have each student close their eyes while she removed a word. Then each student had to tell her which word she had taken. Before re ading she did a picture walk through the story and they would predict what might happen. She would also introduce new vocabulary by having them locate the word in the te xt. Finally, she would have them mumble read the text listening in as the students r ead (Field Notes and tally sheets).
102 She had three reading groups in her class of 16 stu dents for language arts and she usually was able to meet with each group about four times per week. During observations of her lessons she consistently had fa miliar reads, new text reading, and writing a related sentence. She used the Houghton M ifflin Series as well as other books. While she was doing guided reading groups, the othe r students rotated to related centers including: a computer program that reinforced the p honics and word work for the week, a writing task, a word work task like magnetic letter s, and a manipulative task that usually used coloring, cutting, and pasting. All paper bas ed center tasks are glued into a notebook for future use. Some days Ms. Elsworth ha d a paraprofessional who helped in her classroom, but not every day, the paraprofessio nal was present at three of the five visits. Her students knew the routines and she was extremely organized with everything prepared in advance. She began with circle time whe re she taught a concept or reviewed a concept with the whole group. She explained their c enter tasks and then sent each group to their assigned center and called her first guide d reading group. All groups worked on task while she is doing guided reading. They were allowed to help each other quietly. Cynthia Carson Â– Oak Hill Elementary (pseudonym) Oak Hill Elementary was a rural Title 1 school wit h a large minority population. The school was located on a two-lane road across th e street from a county park. It is a well kept school with faculty staying at this schoo l for many years. It has a fairly stable student population, Cynthia CarsonÂ’s sixteen first grade students were there for the entire year. She faced the greatest challenge of the four teachers because her four lowest readers had an average book level of only 1.25 at t he beginning of the year.
103 Ms. Carson was the most experienced teacher with 3 2 years in the classroom. She had seven years working as a reading intervention t eacher after she completed her ALL training. She had been back in the classroom for a bout four years. Her classroom structure was quite traditional with seatwork writt en on the whiteboard for the students to do while she conducted her reading groups or read w ith individual students. Students all had a bag of familiar read books at their desks to read when they finished their seatwork. Unlike the other three schools that used Houghton Mifflin as their basic reading curriculum, Oak Hill Elementary had adopted a compu ter related reading program called Breakthrough to Literacy. The program introduced a big book to the whole cla ss each week. Then students went daily to a related compute r program which was set up to work at their individual levels by responding to correct answers with more difficult work and giving extra practice on items on which the student s responded incorrectly. Students would rotate to the computers during the language a rts time. Ms. Carson also had some leveled books that she wo uld use in her guided reading groups and with individuals. She would attempt to read individually with every child each week, and those books would then go into their familiar read bags. The four reading groups meet with her two to three times per week. S he had broken up the ALL lesson into stages: The first day she introduced a book and the y read it. The second day they reread the book and took a word to Elkonin boxes. On the t hird day they reread the book and wrote a sentence about it. Finally, on the fourth d ay, they reread the book and sentence, and then cut up the sentence, wrote it on an envelo pe and took it home. It took four guided reading group days for the reading group to finish the cycle, but she reported this usually was spread over two weeks.
104 The students read the same big book as a class eve ry day for a week, and they had a small copy to take home to read. They also had a class writing assignment for their journal each day. Ms. Carson had her students very engaged in literacy tasks each day listing their assigned seatwork on the board each d ay. She was observed to take extra time with a couple of the very needy students by wo rking individually with them when they encountered difficulty on the assigned tasks. She strove to use the curriculum that had been assigned for them to use, so she was obser ved to follow the daily routines with the big book and computer time and then worked her guided reading groups into what time is left. Findings for Research Question Two What is the relationship between teacher-reported u se of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice? In order to compare the relationship between teache r-reported use of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice, t he researcher calculated mean of the 5point response scale response scores and the tallie d daily use of those activities in the five observed language arts instruction times. Although the 5-point scale mean and the mean daily use are two different kinds of scores, by gro uping the activities by modality it was possible to make some comparisons. (See Table 5)
105 Table 5 Comparison of Questionnaire Responses and Observed Sensory Activity Use Teacher Sensory Activity Mean Daily Use M ean 5-point Scale Denton Visual 4.6 ( SD = 2.50) 4.22 ( SD =1.30) Auditory 5.4 ( SD = 2.30) 4.50 (SD=0.71) Tactile/Kines. 3.8 ( SD = 2.28) 3.64 ( SD =1.21) Gresham Visual 5.25 ( SD = 0.96) 3.89 ( SD = 1.76) Auditory 4.5 ( SD = 1.29) 4.0 ( SD = 1.05) Tactile/Kines. 2.0 ( SD = 0.82) 3.18 ( SD = 0.83) Elsworth Visual 4.0 ( SD =1.58) 4.89 ( SD = 0.33) Auditory 4.8 ( SD =1.30) 4.70 ( SD = 0.48) Tactile/Kines 3.2 ( SD =1.30) 3.91 ( SD = 0.83) Carson Visual 4.8 ( SD =1.09) 4.44 ( SD = 0.88) Auditory 5.2 ( SD = 1.64) 4.40 ( SD = 0.70) Tactile/Kines. 2.2 ( SD = 1.09) 3.36 ( SD = 1.12) All of the four teachers in this phase of the study had reported that Tactile/Kinesthetic activities would be their lowes t used activities and that did prove true in the observed lessons. Denton with her Montessor i background was the only one who reported each modality in the order of preference t hat she used them. She reported Auditory activities as her highest and it was the o bserved highest in her daily use of sensory activities. Gresham, on the other hand, ha d reported visual activities would be used slightly less than auditory, but in reality vi sual was used more often. Elsworth had
106 reported a higher use of visual, but in four out of five observations her use of auditory activities was highest. In fact, three of the four teachers had auditory as the highest used activity modality. Carson had reported approximate ly equal use of visual and auditory, but in observed use auditory was higher. However, in looking at the overall profiles of the teachers there were similarities in how they re ported the use of ALL sensory activities and the observed use of those activities. ALL trai ned sensory activities could be found in their whole class and group literacy instruction. In looking at use of individual activities, Carla D enton predicted daily use for 13 of the 30 activities, ranging from directing the st udent to pictures to writing words for fluency. In observations of her lessons 11 of the 1 3 activities were used daily. Two of the 13, reread writing sentence aloud, and, saying the words for fluency, were not observed in any of the five observations. Only one of the ac tivities given a 5-point score below 2 (2-3 times per month) was observed. Although she h ad said she would use body movements for segmenting once per month or less, it was observed in one of the lessons. Denton reported her sensory activity use in a manne r similar to the observed use in her literacy lessons. Interesting to note, Debbie Gresham also reported u sing 13 out of 30 activities on a daily basis, and again 11 of the 13 were observed used during each literacy instructional time. She reported daily use of body movements fo r chunking, and, referring to charts, but neither activity was observed. However, of the six activities she reported as low use (2-3 times per month or less) none of those were ob served. She used, locating the word in text, at every observation which was much higher than her reported use of weekly. But
107 overall, she also used the activities in a pattern close to what she reported on the questionnaire. Cynthia Carson, also, reported using 13 of the acti vities on a daily basis, but only 9 of the 13 were observed as used each time her lit eracy lessons were observed. She had reported daily use of, stretching the sounds to hea r them, and, framing the work or chunk with hands, but these were not observed in her less ons. The other activities were observed as reported, except, body movements for ch unking, and, writing words for fluency. Those activities were reported as used at least weekly, but they were not observed. Overall, Carson used the same pattern of activities in each of her lessons and all tactile/kinesthetic was primarily finger pointi ng to the words unless that lesson happened to be the day they were writing or reconst ructing a sentence. In contrast, Lisette Elsworth reported using 18 of the 30 activities on a daily basis. In five observations, 15 of the 18 were observed at some time during her literacy lessons each day of observation. Making and breaking with magnetic letters was observed during 3 out of 5 observations, but not daily. On t he other hand, find the hard part, and, say the letters while writing words for fluency, we re not observed even though she had reported them as used daily. Although, she reporte d using all activities at least weekly there were six activities that were not observed. T wo of those not observed had to do with Elkonin boxes. In looking at the pattern so far in the four teac hers, they had all had at least two activities reported as used frequently but which we re not observed. Since some of these activities are used more with first grade students at the beginning of the school year, it
108 would be expected that the time of year would affec t the frequency and even kind of activities that might be included in the literacy l esson. Table 6 TeachersÂ’ Observed Frequencies by Modality_________ __________________________ Teacher Visual_ Auditory Tactile/Kinesthetic__ Denton 4.6 ( SD = 2.50 ) 5.4 ( SD = 2.30) 3.8 ( SD = 2.28) Gresham 5.25 ( SD = 0.95) 4.5 ( SD = 1.29) 2.0 ( SD = 0.82) Elsworth 4.0 ( SD = 1.58) 4.8 ( SD = 1.30) 3.2 ( SD = 1.30) Carson 4.8 (SD = 1.09) 5.2 ( SD = 1.64) 2.2 ( SD = 1.09)_____ Table 6 summarizes the teachersÂ’ observed frequenc y of sensory activity use by modality. Looking across the table the mean freque ncies are similar. The range for visual means was from 4.0 to 5.25, which would indi cate the teachers on average used four to five visual activities during a classroom o bservation. The range for auditory means was even closer, 4.5 to 5.4. Again, the teach ers usually implemented four or five auditory activities. The most variation was found i n tactile/kinesthetic ranging from 2.0 to 3.8. Two of the teachers, Carson and Gresham usual ly implemented two tactile/kinesthetic activities, such as finger poin ting nearly every lesson, while Denton and Elsworth had at least three tactile/kinesthetic activities. Findings for research question three. What is the relationship between observed teacher use of sensory activities and the assessed reading growth of struggling readers in her/his classroom? Question three addressed whether there was a relati onship between the way these participant teachers implemented sensory activities in their literacy instruction and the
109 reading growth of struggling readers in their class rooms. The county expectations were that students be at book level four by the end of k indergarten, and at level 18 by the end of first grade. This would mean an expected averag e growth of 14 book levels in first grade. In order to investigate this, the researcher gathe red classroom reading assessment results. In January, the results for the beginning of the year and mid year testing were collected from the teachers. Using those results, a group of four lowest readers was identified for each teacher. Then in May, the final reading assessment results were collected from the teachers. The results for each t eacher were tabulated with averages for the whole class and the group of struggling readers (see Appendix H). Finally the results for the whole class reading growth and the lowest r eaders growth were graphed (Figures 1 and 2).
110 Average Class Reading Growth0 5 10 15 20 25 1. Denton2. Gresham 3. Elsworth 4. CarsonAverage Beginning and Ending Book Levels Average Gain Beginning Level Figure1. Average Book Level Growth by Class_______ ____________________ As can be seen in the graph indicating average gro wth for their whole class, all teachers showed considerable growth in t he overall reading book level of their students. As might be expected the two classes with the lowest average beginning level had the lowest average at the end of the year, and the class with the highest beginning level ended with the highest average reading level. However, although Ms. ElsworthÂ’s beginning level was only slightly higher than Dento nÂ’s and CarsonÂ’s, her class showed very good growth with 81% of the students reading a t level 18 or above. Level 18 was the target book level for students to be on by the end of first grade.
111 When looking at the graph (Figure 2) of the averag e reading growth of the group of four lowest students in each of the four c lasses we find a greater difference in the results. The average reading level of Ms. Gres hamÂ’s and Ms. ElsworthÂ’s lowest students was approaching an end of the first grade year level (18). Ms. DentonÂ’s group was lower but still showing a lot of progress. Ms. CarsonÂ’s students began at the lowest book level of the four and continued to struggle ev en at the end of the year. Average Reading Growth of Lowest Students0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 16 18 1. Denton2. Gresham 3. Elsworth 4. CarsonBeginning and Ending Book Levels Average Gain Beginning Level Figure 2. Average Book Level Growth_of Lowest Stud ents by Class_________ Research question three had asked if there was a r elationship between the teacherÂ’s use of sensory activities in the classroo m and the reading growth of the struggling readers in that classroom. In order to look at this, the researcher took the data on the participant teachersÂ’ sensory use and the da ta for the group of the struggling readers in their classroom and placed the data into a table and graph (Table 7, Figure 3).
112 Table 7 Comparison of Average Daily Sensory Activity Use an d Reading Book Level Growth of Struggling Readers_________________________________ _______________________ Class Visual Auditory Tactile Sensory Book Level Kinesthetic Total Growth Denton 4.6 5.4 3.8 13.8 12 Gresham 5.25 4.5 2.0 11.75 12.75 Elsworth 4.0 4.8 3.2 12.6 13.25 Carson 4.8 5.2 2.2 12.2 5.0_________ As can be seen in Table 7, Denton, Gresham, and El sworthÂ’s groups were close to the expected book level growth of 14 levels in firs t grade. Even though their groups of lowest students had not quite reached level 18, the y were close enough to be expected to have success in second grade level reading. Carson Â’s group average would indicate that they are still at-risk. Comparison of Average Daily Sensory Activity Use and Book Level Growth of Struggling Readers051015 1 Denton 2 Gresham 3 Elsworth 4 Carson Average Sensory Use Reading Growth Figure 3. Comparison of Average Daily Sensory Activ ity Use and Book Level Growth
113 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 012345 Teachers Visual Book Level Growth Figure 4. Comparison of TeachersÂ’ Visual Activity Use and Book Level Growth 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 012345 Teachers Auditory Book Level Growth Figure 5. Comparison of Teachers Auditory Activity Use and Book Level Growth
114 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 012345 Teachers Tactile/Kinesthetic Book Level Growth Figure 6. Comparison of Tactile/Kinesthetic Activit y Use and Book Level Growth Looking at the comparison of modality use and book level growth we see a similar pattern of use among the four teachers in their use of the sensory activities, but the fourth teacher, Carson, shows much less book le vel growth in her lowest readers than the other three teachers. As can be seen in both Table 5 and Figure 3, all f our teachers had a similar range of sensory total activity use in their observed lit eracy instruction time. Three of the teachers showed considerable growth in their lowest students reading levels, with Gresham and Elsworth showing a very close parallel. Carson used a similar frequency of sensory activities. And yet, the reading growth of her struggling readers does not seem to bear any relationship with her sensory activity use Therefore finding a possible relationship between a teacherÂ’s sensory activity u se and the reading growth of students may require a look at things other than frequency. In looking at CarsonÂ’s use of sensory activities on a daily basis, it is evident that she used the same activities over and over with little variety and even used the same activiti es for all levels of reading groups.
115 Perhaps, variety as well as fluency is more effecti ve. The student populations of the three Title 1 schools were at a similar reading level at the beginning of the year. Denton and Elsworth frequently used a variety of tactile/kines thetic sensory activities in their literacy lessons, as well as visual and auditory activities. Carson, on the other hand, used fewer tactile/kinesthetic and with less variety. Compare and contrast case studies. Although the average daily sensory total was around 12 or 13 for all four case study teachers, t he way that each teacher implemented their ALL procedures were not the same. Ms. Gresha m and Ms. Elsworth implemented most of the ALL lesson components (familiar reads, word work, writing sentences, discussing and reading new text) four and five time s per week in their guided reading groups and their students are with them during the entire language arts block. Ms. Denton met with her groups three to five times per week, b ut often had times when children were missing during the language arts time because of co ming to class late from breakfast or being pulled for another special help class. Ms. Ca rson had to divide her language arts time with computer based learning time and other co nfines of her curriculum. Her groups met two to three times per week and she spre ad out the ALL lesson components so that students read about one new book per week i n their reading group. Summary This study investigated the teachersÂ’ use of senso ry activities that had been a part of their Accelerated Literacy Learning training pro gram. There were 38 participants in Phase One who sent back completed questionnaires. All but one participant reported a high use of sensory activities in their literacy le ssons, although the grade level they were
116 working with did influence the variety and frequenc y of their reported use. Most primary level teachers reported a high use on many of the a ctivities. There were seven teachers who participated in inte rviews for Phase Two and four of those teachers participated in Phase Three, whic h included classroom observations. The major themes that were found in the written ans wers on the questionnaire and in the interviews were: teacher change, teacher empowermen t, strategy talk, and student empowerment. Overall, they reported that their ALL training made a difference in how they conducted their literacy lessons. TeachersÂ’ classroom use of sensory activities was c ompared to the teachersÂ’ reported use in the questionnaires. Although some items were over reported and a few under reported, a similar pattern of sensory activi ty use was found both in the reports and in classroom observations. The book level growth of struggling readers within the classrooms was compared with sensory activity use. Although there may be some relationship between this reading growth and the se nsory activity use, other factors such as the variety of activities and the amount of time and text are factors that would need to be taken into consideration.
117 Chapter V Discussion and Conclusions This study of sensory activity use by teachers tra ined in Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) has added another facet to the body of knowledge concerning teachersÂ’ classroom implementation of strategies and techniqu es received in comprehensive professional development settings. It has similarities to a study by Roehrig, Pressley and Sloup (2001) which examined the transfer of Reading Recovery instructi onal practices and teaching strategies by primary classroom teachers trained in Reading Re covery. While observing classroom teachers during their literacy lessons, Roehrig, Pr essley, and Sloup coded strategies and procedures. They found that even though the trainin g the teachers received in Reading Recovery were for one-on-one intervention lessons, the teachers were implementing the Reading Recovery strategies and procedures in their own classroom literacy lessons. This study used extensive classroom observations of ten classrooms (three kindergarten, five first, and two second grade). A questionnaire was g iven to all of the teachers who had been observed asking them to report their integrati on of Reading Recovery type instruction into their classrooms and how their ins truction changed as a result of their training. During the analysis of their findings, R oehrig, Pressley, and Sloup discovered that the grade level the teacher was teaching affec ted how these strategies and procedures were used and they decided to make up a case study of one kindergarten, one first grade, and one second grade classroom to illustrate those differences.
118 This study investigated the transfer of ALL sensory activities into the literacy instruction of classroom teachers who had received the year-long training. Although there were similarities to the Roehrig, Pressley and Slo up (2001) study such as the use of observations, questionnaires and case studies, ther e were also major differences. For instance, this study was done in three phases. In the first phase, questionnaires were sent out to those teachers who had received training and were still listed as employed by the school district. Out of 104 possible participants, 38 returned their completed questionnaires. In Phase One, the study was more like the Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) study by Brashears, Homan, and King (2002) than the study by Roehrig, Pressley, and Sloup (2001). Brashears, Hom an, and King sent out questionnaires to a large group of teachers trained in ALL asking them to rate components of ALL training on a Likert response scale from least bene ficial to most beneficial. They also included interviews of some of the questionnaire re spondents. Like, the Brashears, Homan, and King study, this study did not have a re sponse from those who did not consider the training beneficial. In both studies, teachers who were using ALL procedures in their classrooms felt the training wa s beneficial for classroom instruction and recommended it for other classroom teachers. In the second phase, this study also had interviews of seven primary teachers who had completed the que stionnaires. The purpose of the interviews was to provide more in-depth data concerning the participantsÂ’ responses on the sensory activity questionnaire. D ata from Phase One and Two were collected to answer research question one: What are the variety and frequency of sensory activities used within primary grade literacy lesso ns by teachers who participated in literacy intervention training? This study found th at:
119 1. ALL trained teacher participants teaching in pri mary level classrooms report a high frequency and variety of sensory activity use in their literacy instruction. 2. All sensory modalities are reported as being use d with frequency, with visual highest, then auditory, and lastly tactile/kinesthe tic. 3. Grade level did influence the use of the sensory activities, with kindergarten through second grade reporting the highest usage an d greatest frequency. But many of the sensory activities were reported by eve n teachers at the intermediate grade levels. 4. The CronbachÂ’s Alpha for the 5-point response sc ale (N of items = 30) was .93 indicating satisfactory reliability for the questi onnaire. Although sensory activities were the dominant foci of this study, other findings were gleaned from the second page of the questionna ires and the interview transcripts. Four major themes appeared in the qualitative analy sis of the texts. The first was the theme of teacher change. The majority of the partic ipants made reference to some kind of change in their personal teaching philosophy and ex pertise as a result of having participated in the ALL training. The second theme was teacher empowerment. In both the written responses and the interviews, teachers talked about feeling like they now knew how to teach reading effectively and they knew how to communicate this knowledge to others. These results were similar to those found in comments in the Brashears, Homan, and King (2002) study. Although t he Roehrig, Pressley, and Sloup (2001) study did not address teacher empowerment, t hey did address teacher change in terms of classroom instruction. Both teacher report ed and observed instructional change were found for teachers trained in Reading Recovery
120 The third theme was strategies. Most teachers rep orted in both questionnaire comments and interviews that learning to use strate gies was central. It was strategies and strategy talk that was mentioned most often. This theme also had two sub-categories of questioning techniques and cueing systems that went along with the strategies. In fact, many of the teachers described it as a change in th eir teacher talk. They had learned a new language of literacy instruction during their y ear of training and they felt empowered by it. Lastly, the teachers felt their training allowed th em to empower their students to become independent learners who learn to read by reading. Since the ALL strateg y talk is designed to help students become self-perpetuating learners this would be a goal of the program. Phase Three included classroom observations of four first grade teachers who were interviewed in Phase Two. These observations a ddressed research question two: What is the relationship between teacher-reported u se of sensory activities and their observed classroom practice? During this phase, the researcher had expected to f ind ALL lessons such as she had observed during her two years as an ALL trainer However, this was not the case. The lessons observed as a trainer were a part of a teacher development program, and those teachers were allowed by their administration to do a 30-minute ALL lesson with their struggling readers. The classroom literacy le ssons observed during this study were shaped by district and school administration guidel ines. The teachers implemented the ALL activities and procedures according to their ow n time constraints, administrative directives, and personalities. The implementation o f ALL looked very different in each
121 classroom. The researcher used the Sensory Activity Tally sheet to track ALL sensory activities as they appeared in the literacy lesson time. The time lapse between the participants filling out their questionnaires and the actual classroom observations would also change som e of the teachersÂ’ sensory activity usage. Some of the sensory activities would be use d highly at the beginning of first grade and less as the students progress. Many of these a ctivities were rated as high frequency by the participants but did not show as high in the actual observations, but this could be because the questionnaires were filled out at the b eginning of the year but the observations were near the end of the first semeste r. The results were as follows: 1. In the four case studies, ALL trained teacher pa rticipants used the sensory activities in a similar manner in their observed li teracy lessons as were reported on their questionnaires, except that in ma ny cases they over rated their frequency of use. 2. The observed teachers also used classroom langua ge that included the strategies and questioning techniques that were a p art of their ALL training 3. Although all of the observed teachers had a simi lar frequency use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons, they did not all use as much variety within modalities. Phase Three also addressed research question three: What is the relationship between observed teacher use of sensory activities and the assessed reading growth of struggling readers in her/his classroom? Although t he Roehrig, Pressley, and Sloup (2001) study did not address this question, it was included in their discussion section as a
122 recommended area for further study. In this county, reading assessment data were gathered by the classroom teacher at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. The classroom sets of this data were used by the re searcher to examine a possible relationship between sensory use and the book level reading growth of the struggling readers. The three teachers implementing the greate st variety of sensory activities had the greatest book level gain in their groups of struggl ing students. But within the design and scope of this study comparison between sensory use and the book level growth of the struggling readers was inconclusive. Other important factors were observed in the classr oom observations that would have also influenced the growth or lack of growth i n book levels. Just as the First-Grade Studies (Bond & Dyksta, 1967,1997) found that facto rs other than method may affect reading achievement, this study seems to indicate t hat factors other than the frequency and variety of sensory activities brought greater o r less book level progress for the struggling readers in the four observed classes. The teacher with the lowest progress was endeavorin g to implement a computerlinked program, guided reading groups and an indivi dualized reading program. In order for her to do this within her time constraints, she had partitioned out the lesson components over several lessons. The result was th at her students only had a new reading passage every fourth lesson. On the other hand, the three teachers with the most progress endeavored to do as much of the ALL lesson components as possible each time they met with their groups. This meant that their students would read a new passage almost every time their group met for guided readin g.
123 In fact, the differences in book level growth of th e groups of struggling readers appear to have more relationship to the frequency o f their guided reading groups than in the sensory activities that were observed in them. This coincides with the Reading Recovery (Clay, 1993) and ALL (Short, Frye, Homan, & King, 1995) lesson format concept which introduces new text each lesson, as w ell as rereading familiar text, as the best way to accelerate reading growth in struggling readers. Although the researcher did not find what she expe cted to find in the classrooms and within the designs of this study, she came away with a more complete understanding of the complexities of implementing a program, orig inally designed to be used one-onone in a pull out situation, into all of the constr aints of todayÂ’s classrooms. Nevertheless, she agrees with many of the teacher p articipants in this study that the training received in the ALL program has great valu e within the literacy lessons of primary classrooms. A similar idea, has been espoused by Cox and Hopki ns (2006) concerning using the theoretical principles from Reading Recovery to inform classroom practice. Although they are not a part of the Reading Recovery program after studying the research and practice of Reading Recovery, they have come to the conclusion that Â“the theory and assumptions of Reading Recovery can be considered a s core to good literacy instruction for all children (p. 255).Â” The researcher has realized that the design of her study was not the best for answering her research questions. If she were redo ing this study, she would begin with the group of teachers to be observed and would have them complete the questionnaire just before the observations would begin. This woul d eliminate the time lapse that might
124 skew the relationship between the reported use and the observed use of the sensory activities. Also, she would focus her observations on the teachersÂ’ guided reading groups for their struggling readers and would not collect data on the other things happening in the classroom. This study ended up with a lot of ex traneous data that did not relate to the research questions. If trying to find a relationsh ip between sensory activity use and reading growth, observations over a longer span of time would be advisable. A longer and more in-depth look at sensory activit y use might bring a more conclusive answer to the research questions asked b y this study. Certainly further study into implementation of the theoretical basis and pr ocedures of Accelerated Literacy Learning and Reading Recovery into the classroom wo uld be valuable. This could be especially important in the professional developmen t of literacy theory and practice for classroom teachers.
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138 Appendix A: Informed Consent, Phase One Space below reserved for IRB Stamp Â– Please leave b lank Informed Consent Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida Information for People Who Take Part in Research St udies The following information is being presented to hel p you decide whether or not you want to take part in a minimal risk research study. Ple ase read this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the person in charge of th e study. Title of Study: Sensory Activity Implementation in Primary Literac y Lessons: A Study of Teachers Trained in Accelerated Literacy Learnin g Principal Investigator: Margaret E. Stockdale Study Location(s): School District You are being asked to participate because you have received the year-long training in Accelerated Literacy Learning. General Information about the Research Study The purpose of this research study is to investigat e teachersÂ’ classroom use of instructional procedures that are covered in the Ac celerated Literacy Learning training. These procedures use various senses and the study a sks the teacher to report which of these procedures are still being used in her/his li teracy lessons and about how often they are used. Plan of Study You are being asked to participate in the first pha se of the study which is a questionnaire covering these instructional procedures that are be ing called sensory activities. It should not take more than 15-30 minutes to fill out, accor ding to the amount of detail you give on the second page. Then you simply put the questi onnaire into the self-addressed envelope and drop it into the mail. Payment for Participation You will not be paid for participation in this stud y. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study Since teachers as professionals are always being en couraged to reflect upon their teaching philosophy and classroom practice, participating in this study will allow you to reflect and evaluate your classroom practice during literac y lessons from the point of view of the training that you received in Accelerated Literacy Learning. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study There are no known risks in taking part in this stu dy.
139 Appendix A: (Continued) Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy and research records will be kept conf idential to the extent of the law. Authorized research personnel, employees of the Dep artment of Health and Human Services, and the USF Institutional Review Board an d its staff, and any other individuals acting on behalf of USF, may inspect the records fr om this research project. The results of this study may be published. Howeve r, the data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the publication. The published results will not include your name or any other information that would perso nally identify you in any way. All data from questionnaires and the signed informe d consent forms will be kept in a locked file cabinet in the private home of the inve stigator. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study Your decision to participate in this research study is completely voluntary. You are free to participate in this research study or to withdra w at any time. There will be no penalty or loss of benefits you are entitled to receive, if you stop taking part in the study. Your decision about participation will in no way affect your job status. Questions and Contacts If you have any questions about this research study contact Margaret E. Stockdale at (813) 963-6711. If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a research study, you may contact the Division of Res earch Compliance of the University of South Florida at (813) 974-5638. Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: I have fully read or have had read and explained to me this informed consent form describing this research project. I have had the opportunity to question one of the p ersons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. I understand that I am being asked to participate i n research. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, under the conditions indicated in it. I have been given a signed copy of this informed co nsent form, which is mine to keep. _____________________ ______________________ ____ ______ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participan t Date
140 Appendix A: (Continued) Investigator Statement: I certify that participants have been provided with an informed consent form that has been approved by the University of South FloridaÂ’s Institutional Review Board and that explains the nature, demands, risks, and benefits i nvolved in participating in this study. I further certify that a phone number has been provid ed in the event of additional questions. _________________________ _________________________ ___________ Signature of Investigator Printed Name of Investiga tor Date
141 Appendix B: Informed Consent, Phase Two and Three Space below reserved for IRB Stamp Â– Please leave b lank Informed Consent Social and Behavioral Sciences University of South Florida Information for People Who Take Part in Research St udies The following information is being presented to hel p you decide whether or not you want to take part in a minimal risk research study. Ple ase read this carefully. If you do not understand anything, ask the person in charge of th e study. Title of Study: Sensory Activity Implementation in Primary Literac y Lessons: A Study of Teachers Trained in Accelerated Literacy Learnin g Principal Investigator: Margaret E. Stockdale Study Location(s): School District You are being asked to participate because you have received the year-long training in Accelerated Literacy Learning (ALL) and you teach i n a Primary Level classroom. General Information about the Research Study The purpose of this research study is to investigat e teachersÂ’ classroom use of instructional procedures that are covered in the AL L training. These procedures use various senses and the study asks the teacher to re port which of these procedures are still being used in her/his literacy lessons and about ho w often they are used. Plan of Study You are being asked to participate in the second ph ase of the study which would first of all be an approximately one hour interview asking y ou for more detail concerning your use of these instructional procedures that are bein g called sensory activities. The interview will be audio-taped and you will be allow ed to read the transcripts of the audiotape if you desire. The time and location of the i nterview will be set by the place and time which are convenient for you. Four of those i nterviewed will be asked to participate in the observations of literacy lessons in their cl assrooms. This would consist of five observations of literacy lessons during a five to s ix weeks period of time. Those teachers participating in observed lessons are asked to simp ly teach their lessons using their normal classroom literacy procedures. After the ob servations those four teachers would have another interview to further explain their tea ching philosophy and classroom practice as it pertains to using these sensory teac hing procedures learned in their ALL training. Those participating in only the interview would spend about one hour participating in the study. The four teachers whic h consent to having classroom observations would have approximately two hours for the pre and post interviews and then about five hours of observation of the literac y lesson instruction.
142 Appendix B: (Continued) Payment for Participation You will not be paid for participation in this stud y. Benefits of Being a Part of this Research Study Since teachers as professionals are always being en couraged to reflect upon their teaching philosophy and classroom practice, participating in this study will allow you to reflect and evaluate your classroom practice during literac y lessons from the point of view of the training that you received in Accelerated Literacy Learning. Risks of Being a Part of this Research Study There are no known risks in taking part in this stu dy. Confidentiality of Your Records Your privacy and research records will be kept conf idential to the extent of the law. Authorized research personnel, employees of the Dep artment of Health and Human Services, and the USF Institutional Review Board an d its staff, and any other individuals acting on behalf of USF, may inspect the records fr om this research project. The results of this study may be published. Howeve r, the data obtained from you will be combined with data from others in the publication. The published results will not include your name or any other information that would perso nally identify you in any way. TeachersÂ’ names would be given pseudonyms in all do cuments. All data from interviews, classroom observations an d other data collected including the signed informed consent forms will be kept in a loc ked file cabinet in the private home of the investigator. Volunteering to Be Part of this Research Study Your decision to participate in this research study is completely voluntary. You are free to participate in this research study or to withdra w at any time. There will be no penalty or loss of benefits you are entitled to receive, if you stop taking part in the study. Your decision about participation will in no way affect your job status. Questions and Contacts If you have any questions about this research study contact Margaret E. Stockdale at (813) 963-6711. If you have questions about your rights as a person who is taking part in a research study, you may contact the Division of Res earch Compliance of the University of South Florida at (813) 974-5638. Consent to Take Part in This Research Study By signing this form I agree that: I have fully read or have had read and explained to me this informed consent form describing this research project. I have had the opportunity to question one of the p ersons in charge of this research and have received satisfactory answers. I understand that I am being asked to participate i n research. I understand the risks and benefits, and I freely give my consent to participate in the research project outlined in this form, under the conditions indicated in it.
143 Appendix B: (Continued) I have been given a signed copy of this informed co nsent form, which is mine to keep. _________________________ _________________________ __________ Signature of Participant Printed Name of Participan t Date Investigator Statement I have carefully explained to the subject the natur e of the above research study. I hereby certify that to the best of my knowledge the subjec t signing this consent form understands the nature, demands, risks, and benefits involved i n participating in this study. _________________________ _________________________ ____________ Signature of Investigator Printed Name of Investiga tor Date Or authorized research investigator designated by the Principal Investigator
144 Appendix C: Letter to Accompany Questionnaire Dear (name of teacher), This letter and questionnaire is being sent to each person in the County School District who received the Accelerated Literacy Lear ning (PRI) training. The survey is a part of a dissertation study of te achersÂ’ use of sensory activities in their literacy lessons, with special interest in th eir lessons for struggling readers. During your training you would not have heard these activi ties defined as sensory activities. They were specifically activities or procedures tha t you were trained to use as a part of your 10-10-10 literacy lesson. If you look at the q uestionnaire, I am sure you will recognize the terminology used to describe them. For over 20 years I was a classroom teacher. Then during my doctoral studies I had the opportunity to take classes and become an A ccelerated Literacy Learning trainer. In working for two years, with teachers learning th e ALL program, I was interested in finding out if teachers have found the instruction al procedures to be useful in their classrooms, and if they continue to use them after their training year. For that reason, I designed my dissertation to look into teachersÂ’ use of these activities after being trained. I am particularly interested in your personal use of these activities when you teach a teacher-directed literacy lesson. If you are a c lassroom teacher, this may be your guided reading group lesson. If you are willing to participate, please sign the consent form and fill out the questionnaire.
145 Appendix C: (Continued) It is valuable to find out which things teachers h ave found most useful from their training. Feel free to add any other such activiti es that you find effective in your literacy lessons. Your input into this study will be appreciated. P lease place the completed questionnaire and consent form in the enclosed stam ped-addressed envelope and drop it into the mail as soon as possible. Thank you again for your time and cooperation in t his. Sincerely, Margaret Stockdale PhD. Dissertation Researcher University of South Florida
146 Appendix D: Sensory Activity Questionnaire Sensory Activities in Literacy Lessons Name_______________________________________________ ____________ In what year did you receive ALL training? ________ ________ Please indicate how often you use the following act ivities in your literacy lessons. 1once per month or less 2 Â– 2-3 times per month. 3 Â– weekly 4 Â– 2-3 times per week 5 Â– daily Activity Circle One Direct student to pictures 1 2 3 4 5 Say, Does it look right? 1 2 3 4 5 Have student read familiar books 1 2 3 4 5 Refer to charts, posters (ABC, etc.) 1 2 3 4 5 Ask student to find the hard part 1 2 3 4 5 Ask student to find the chunk 1 2 3 4 5 Have the student reread to check visually 1 2 3 4 5 Have the student locate word in text 1 2 3 4 5 Teach or cue directionality (color strip, etc.) 1 2 3 4 5 Say, Does it sound right? 1 2 3 4 5 Cue the student to get mouth read for sound 1 2 3 4 5 Stretching the sounds in words to hear them 1 2 3 4 5 Elkonin Boxes for sounds 1 2 3 4 5 Hearing or finding rhyming words 1 2 3 4 5 Reread writing sentence aloud 1 2 3 4 5 Saying letters while writing for fluency 1 2 3 4 5 Talk about the story 1 2 3 4 5 Verbally introduce vocabulary 1 2 3 4 5 Echo or choral read 1 2 3 4 5 Body movements for segmenting/chunking etc 1 2 3 4 5 Have a student finger point to words 1 2 3 4 5 Frame the word or chunk with fingers or hands 1 2 3 4 5 Make and break with magnetic letters or tiles 1 2 3 4 5 Writing sentences during the literacy lesson 1 2 3 4 5 Moving chips in Elkonin boxes 1 2 3 4 5 Writing words for fluency 1 2 3 4 5 Reconstructing cut-up sentences 1 2 3 4 5 Using other activities for cut-up sentence 1 2 3 4 5 Rubber band for stretching the words 1 2 3 4 5 Using a card to frame words 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 1 2 3 4 5 Please write in other activities that you may use a nd how often you use them.
147 Appendix D: (Continued) Please answer as completely as possible. 1.What grade level of students are you currently wo rking with? ___1st ___2nd ___3rd ___4th ___5th ___6th ___other 2. Have you had reading intervention training (clas ses or seminars) other than your ALL training? ___Reading First ___FLARE ___District worksh ops ___other 3. Describe your use of sensory activities in your literacy lessons before your ALL training? 4. Has your use of sensory activities changed since your ALL training? Please explain. 5.If you are a classroom teacher, describe the impa ct of your ALL training upon your literacy lessons with your struggling readers in yo ur classroom. Would you be willing to take part in a one hour int erview with the person conducting this research project? ___yes ___no Other Comments you may wish to share:
148 Appendix E: Sensory Activity Tally Sheet Sensory Activity CHECKLIST Â– A.L.L. Lessons Observer___________________ Teacher________________ ___ Sensory Activity Tally Looks at pictures Does it look right? Reading books Refers to charts Find the hard part Find the chunk Student rereads sentence to check visually Locate word in text Directionality (cueing aids) Say, Does it sound right? Get mouth ready for sound Stretching the sounds in word to hear them Elkonin boxes for sounds Hearing/finding rhyming words Reread writing sentence aloud Saying letters while writing words for fluency Talk about the story Verbally introducing vocabulary Echo or choral read Body movements for segmenting or chunking etc. Finger pointing to the words Frame the word or chunk with fingers/hands Make and break using magnetic letters or tiles Writing the sentences Moving chips in Elkonin boxes Writing word for fluency Reconstructing cut-up sentence Using other activities for cut-up sentence Using a card to frame words
149 Appendix F: Sensory Activities Glossary For Sensory Activities found on Questionnaire and T ally Sheet Visual Modality Emphasized Direct student to pictures Teacher asks student to look at picture to aid m eaning construction or to find a cue that will aid in word recognition Say, Does it look right? The teacher is directing the student to visually ch eck the word and compare it with the word read aloud. Have student read familiar books Familiar books are books that the student has al ready read successfully. Rereading them helps the student dev elop fluency and sight vocabulary. Refer to charts, posters (ABC, etc.) Referring to charts and posters of the alphabet a nd reading strategies helps students to develop indepe ndence in their self-checking reading behaviors. Ask the student to find the hard part After reading a page or story, the teacher directs the student to find the place where reading was difficu lt in order to help the child correct it, or to talk about the miscue word work. Ask the student to find the chunk Teacher directs the student to locate a part of the word that is known to help the child work on identifying the whole word. Have the student reread to check visually Teacher directs the student to reread to check the correctness of word work, or check when a student m iscues a word normally known. Have a student locate a word in text The teacher often directs the student to locate a new word in text during the picture walk to help prepare the m for reading the text.
150 Appendix F: (Continued) Teach or cue directionality (color strip, etc) Teacher cues student on where to begin reading and how to proceed. A color strip or sticker may b e placed on page as a cue for students having difficulty with directionality. Auditory Modality Emphasized Say, Does it sound right? Teacher asks student to think about how the sent ence sounds to cue them to use syntax to help them read the sentence c orrectly. Teacher can also say, Would we say it that way? Cue the student to get the mouth read for the sound Teacher asks student to get her/his mouth ready for the initial sound while thinking wh at would make sense here. Begins to help the student use cross-checking by using audito ry in relation to meaning and visual. Stretching the sounds in words to hear them Teacher prompts the student to say the word slowly articulating the sounds in the word. This h elps the student to be able to hear the sounds in words so that the word can be written dow n. Elkonin boxes for sounds The teacher makes boxes for each sound, then has the student push counters into the boxes as they articulate the word slowly. This activity helps students learn to hear the sounds within words. Hearing or finding rhyming words During word work or after reconstructing the cut-u p sentence, the student is asked to identify or make a rhyming word. This is often used when working with onset and rime word parts. Reread writing sentence aloud Teacher directs students to reread to help them remember which word comes next in their sentence, or to chec k the reconstructed sentence.
151 Appendix F: (Continued) Saying letters which writing for fluency Teacher directs the student to say the letters out loud so that the studentÂ’s mind is engaged with the task and to provide a deeper memory pattern. Talk about the story Teacher directs student to talk about the story wh ile doing the picture walk to engage the childÂ’s schema and prediction. The teacher may also have the child talk about the story to assess comprehension. Verbally introduce vocabulary During the picture walk and discussion of the story the teacher uses new words in meaningful ways to introd uce unknown vocabulary and aid comprehension of the text when it is read. Echo or choral read Teacher uses this to help the student develop be tter fluency. In echo read the teacher reads and the student then reads the sa me text. In choral read the all students, or students and teachers read together. Tactile/Kinesthetic Modality Emphasized Body movements for segmenting/chunking, etc. The teacher may have the student move hands, groups of letters, or word parts cards to pr actice segmenting word parts and putting them back together. Have a student finger point to words Teacher directs the student to point to each word t o aid tracking and or to foster one-to-one correspondence Frame the word or chunk with fingers or hands Teacher directs the student to use fingers or hands to frame the word or chunk of the word to hel p develop word recognition strategies.
152 Appendix F: (Continued) Make and break with magnetic letters or tiles Student is asked to make a word using letters or letter tiles and then break it into word parts s uch as onset and rime. Writing sentences during the literacy lesson This activity provides the child with the opportunity to produce text. It is the primary tim e for working on phoneme/grapheme correspondence as the child learns to hear the soun ds and write down the corresponding letters. Moving chips in Elkonin boxes The child learns to slowly say the word and to push a chip for each sound heard. This is especially helpful for s tudents that have difficulty hearing the sounds in words. Writing words for fluency This activity is used for high fluency words and es pecially for irregular sight words. The students is asked to wri te the words and say the letters, often on a dry erase board or using different colors for variety. Reconstructing cut-up sentence The teacher writes the childÂ’s sentence of a stri p of paper and then cuts it up. The child must then put the sente nce back together in correct order. This activity can also be used to work on spacing and li ne arrangement. Using other activities for the cut-up sentence The words from the sentence can be used to identify rhyming words, find word parts and other p ossible activities to aid in word recognition and sentence construction. Rubber band for stretching the words The rubber band is held and stretched by the child while slowly articulating the sounds in the word. Using a card to frame the word Either a card with a hole cut out or two cards ca n be pushed into place to frame and isolate the word being work ed on.
153 Appendix G: Interview Guide I see by your questionnaire response that you descr ibe your Literacy teaching and lessons before your ALL training as..? -Can you tell me more about this? What kinds of things did you do before your ALL tra ining to help your struggling readers? Your response to the questionnaire was that you hav e (have not) changed since you had your training? -Tell me about this. Are there activities that you learned about in your training that you do not use, but would like to begin implementing in you lessons? What aspects of the ALL lesson training would you s ay helped your students accelerate the most? How do you feel about your experiences as a teacher who received literacy intervention training? Are there activities that you use in whole group in struction as well as or in place of using it in your small group reading lesson?
154 Appendix H: Data Tables for Case Study Teachers Ms ElsworthÂ’s Combination Class Â– Washington Eleme ntary Gender Grade Beginning Mid-year End Gain 1. F 1 5 16 19 14 2. M 2 5 13 16 11 3. F 2 10 17 21 11 4. F 1 10 16 18 8 5. M 1 4 13 18 14 6. M 1 10 16 19 9 7. M 2 10 17 18 8 8. F 1 7 16 19 12 9. F 1 4 16 19 15 10. F 1 4 16 19 15 11. F 1 4 10 12 8 12. F 2 10 17 19 9 13. F 1 4 13 18 14 14. F K 7 13 18 11 15. M 1 0 5 16 16 16. F 1 3 10 18 15 Total Class Average Gain 11.875 Average Gain Four Lowest 13.25 Average beginning level of class6 Average Beginn ing Low Â–2.75 Average ending level of class17.9 Average Endi ng Low16
155 Appendix H: (Continued) Ms GreshamÂ’s Class Â– Forest Park Elementary Gender Grade Beginning Mid-year Ending Gain 1. M 1 13 23 26 13 2. M 1 7 12 16 9 3. F 1 21 25 26 5 4. F 1 4 8 16 12 5. M 1 8 13 21 13 6. M 1 4 8 16 12 7. M 1 6 12 21 15 8. M 1 13 18 21 8 9. F 1 5 12 26 21 10. F 1 4 6 19 15 11. F 1 15 23 26 11 12. M 1 4 6 16 12 13. F. 1 13 21 23 10 14. F. 1 16 21 23 7 15. M 1 20 23 23 3 16. M 1 5 10 21 16 17. M 1 5 13 19 14 18. F K 16 22 26 10 19. F K 13 18 26 13 Total Class Average Gain 11.526 Average Gain Four Lowest 12.75 Average Beginning Level10 Average Beginning Low 4 Average Ending Level21.1 Average Ending Low16.75
156 Appendix H: (Continued) Ms DentonÂ’s First Grade Â– Lincoln Elementary Gender Grade Beginning Mid-year End Gain 1. F 1 5 8 15 10 2. F 1 5 15 21 16 3. M 1 5 6 16 11 4. M 1 5 10 12 7 5. F 1 7 12 16 9 6. M 1 3 8 15 12 7. M 1 5 8 14 9 8. M 1 6 17 21 15 9. M 1 5 15 21 16 10. F 1 1 4 8 7 11. M 1 4 10 18 14 12. M 1 4 10 19 15 13. M 1 6 12 19 13 14. M 1 6 12 19 13 15. F 1 9 14 19 10 16. F 1 1 6 Left 17. F 1 7 10 Left Total Class Average Gain 11.8 Average Gain Four Lowest 12 Average Beginning Level5 Average Beginning Lo w3 Average Ending Level16.9 Average Ending Low15
157 Appendix H: (Continued) Ms CarsonÂ’s First Grade Class Â– Oak Hill Elementary Gender Beginning Mid-Year End Gain 1. M 2 5 7 5 2. F 7 8 18 11 3. F 16 18 19 3 4. M 2 11 18 16 5. M 1 4 4 3 6. M 2 6 8 6 7. M 1 6 8 7 8. M 6 13 16 10 9. M 3 5 11 8 10. F 13 18 19 6 11. F 8 16 18 10 12. F 6 16 18 12 13. M 1 1 6 5 14. F 2 11 16 14 15. M 6 9 19 13 16. F 6 13 19 13 Total Class Average Gain 8.875 Average Gain Four Lowest 5 Average Beginning Level5.1 Average Beginning Lo w1.25 Average Ending Level14 Average Ending Low6.25
158 Appendix I: Strategy Talk Options These Strategy Talk Options were taken from a hando ut sheet used in the Accelerated Literacy Learning Program. They were adapted from Guided Reading, Fountas & Pinnell, 1996. Directions: Below is a list of possible prompts tha t are designed to provide varying levels of support for strategic reading. Be gin by selecting a few and work on incorporating those appropriately. Remember, the pr ompts only work when used at the right time and in the right situation. Expect to fe el awkward at first. As you become more comfortable, add other prompts into your repertoire To support self-monitoring or checking behaviorÂ…. Were you right? What did you notice? (after hesitation/stop) WhatÂ’s wrong? What letter(s) would you expect to see at the begin ning? End? Would ______ fit there? Would ______ make sense with the story? Could it be ______? It could be _______, but did you notice _______? Check it. Does it look right and sound right to you ? Try that again. That does make sense but could that word be?
159 Appendix I: (Continued) To support self-correctionÂ… Something wasnÂ’t quite right. Try that again. You found two ways to check that! YouÂ’re almost right. Can you fix it? Checking the picture and the word really helped you You went back and made it make sense and look right To support the use of all cuesÂ… Check the picture. Does that make sense? Does that look right? Does that sound right? You said _____. Can we say it that way? You said _____. Does it make sense? WhatÂ’s wrong with this? (repeat what the child said ) Try that again and think what would make sense. Try that again and think what would sound right. Do you know a word like that? Start again and ge your mouth ready for that word. What could you try? What would make sense and start like that?
160 Appendix I: (Continued) What do you know that might help? What can you do to help yourself? To support phrased, fluent readingÂ… Can you read this quickly? Put your words together so it sounds like talking. Can you say it just the way (the character) would s ay it? You sounded just like (the character) was really ta lking. (You can also model fluent phrasing for the child t o echo.)
About the Author Margaret Stockdale received a BachelorÂ’s Degree in Elementary Education from Oral Roberts University in 1972 and a MasterÂ’s Degr ee in Reading Education in 1983 from the University of South Florida. She has been involved in education in various places and in cross-cultural settings over the year s. She entered the Ph.D. program at the University of South Florida in 1999. While in the Ph.D. program at the University of So uth Florida, Ms. Stockdale was a graduate assistant working with the Accelerated L iteracy Learning program in training teachers in Title 1 schools to provide classroom ba sed intervention for their at-risk students. She also taught pre-service teachers in literacy education.