Research on Phono-Graphix - Peer Reviewed Publications

McGuinness, C., McGuinness, D., & McGuinness, G. (1996). Phono-Graphix: A new method for remediating reading difficulties. Orton Annals of Dyslexia, 46, 1, 73-96.

Eighty-seven children, 6 to 16 years of age, with reading and/or spelling difficulties were trained in a new program (Phono-Graphix™) that emphasizes phoneme awareness training, sound-to-print orientation, curriculum design sequenced by orthographic complexity, and active parental supervision in homework assignments. The children's initial level of competence to access the alphabet code was revealed by diagnostic testing, and individualized sequences of instruction were developed. The children received 12 hours or less of one-to-one training, one hour per week. Children gained an average of 13.7 standard score points on word recognition (1.70 points per clinical hour) and 19.34 standard score points on nonsense word decoding (2.57 points per clinical hour).

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Endress, S. A. (2007). Examining the effects of Phono-Graphix on the remediation of reading skills of students with disabilities: a program evaluation. Education & Treatment of Children, 30, 2.

Summary: "Many of the gains demonstrated in this program evaluation are statistically significant, these students made gains on the WJ-III normative group in their performance of 7% to 10% for the elementary group and 6% to 15% for the upper elementary/secondary group rather than continuing to fall further behind as do most students in special education. As stated previously, given that the students in this evaluation received special education services, one would expect their standard score difference to be stable or to worsen. Just the opposite occurred. This finding is particularly important when one considers that the the goal of special education is to reintroduce the student into the general education curriculum."

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Simos, P. et al (2002). Dyslexia-specific brain activation profile becomes normal following successful remedial training. Neurology, 58, 1203-1212.

Objectives: To examine changes in the spatiotemporal brain activation profiles associated with successful completion of an intensive intervention program in individual dyslexic children.

Methods: The authors obtained magnetic source imaging scans during a pseudoword reading task from eight children (7 to 17 years old) before and after 80 hours of intensive remedial instruction. All children were initially diagnosed with dyslexia, marked by severe difficulties in word recognition and phonologic processing. Eight children who never experienced reading problems were also tested on two occasions separated by a 2-month interval. Download full study Results: Before intervention, all children with dyslexia showed distinctly aberrant activation profiles featuring little or no activation of the posterior portion of the superior temporal gyrus (STGp), an area normally involved in phonologic processing, and increased activation of the corresponding right hemisphere area. After intervention that produced significant improvement in reading skills, activity in the left STGp increased by several orders of magnitude in every participant. No systematic changes were obtained in the activation profiles of the children without dyslexia as a function of time.

Conclusions: These findings suggest that the deficit in functional brain organization underlying dyslexia can be reversed after sufficiently intense intervention lasting as little as 2 months, and are consistent with current proposals that reading difficulties in many children represent a variation of normal development that can be altered by intense intervention.

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McLernon, H., Ferguson, J., & Gardner, J. (2005). Phono-Graphix: Rethinking the reading curriculum. In Learning to Read and Reading to Learn. E. Kennedy & T. M. Hickey (Eds.). Dublin, Ireland; Reading Association of Ireland.

Conclusion: "It is apparent that Phono-Graphix does represent quite a significant shift in teaching, a shift that involves teaching only letter sounds, emphasising a singular approach to decoding words, the avoidance of using reading books too early and the rejection of teaching a sight vocabulary. This shift was designed to create a logical, speedy and effective reading method. In theory, Phono-Graphix appears to contain the ingredients for such a method. The reasoning behind each particular change in approach seems plausible, especially in relation to children experiencing reading difficulties. Such children could identify with Pip’s declaration in Great Expectations that he ‘struggled through the alphabet as if it had been a bramble bush; getting considerably worried and scratched by every letter’ (Dickens, 1861, p. 36). Within Phono-Graphix, the focus on teaching sounds in the meaningful context of words may help alleviate such anxieties and struggles, especially those encountered when having to learn letter names and sounds."

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Duncan, Erin (2002): Meta Summary of International Phono-Graphix Research, paper presented to the HAAN Foundation

Summary: "These published studies and uncontrolled field reports suggest new hope in the race to save children. With Phono-Graphix’s remarkable efficiency and affordability, we should do all we can to see it tested against other methods and put into the hands of anyone working with children, especially those with limited time and resources who desperately need a practical means to save as many children as they possibly can."

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Dias, K. & Juniper, L. (2002). Phono-Graphix - who needs additional literacy support? An outline of research in Bristol schools. Support for Learning 17, 1, 34-38

ABSTRACT: The research described in this article was undertaken in a group of Bristol schools using a variety of teaching methods, including a new approach called Phono-Graphix. Results showed that students taught Phono-Graphix made more progress than the other children. Significantly, none of the children on the Phono-Graphix programme required additional literacy support (ALS) in the following year. This included a range of children initially identified as having special educational needs. Katy Dias and Lynne Juniper consider some of the factors contributing to the success of Phono-Graphix.

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Wright, M. & Mullan, F. (2006). Dyslexia and the Phono-Graphix reading programme. Support for Learning, Volume 21, 77-84

ABSTRACT: The study reported here set out to investigate the effectiveness of the Phono-Graphix™ reading programme with ten learners, aged 9-11 years, assessed as having specific learning difficulties/dyslexia. Testing was carried out via initial and final analysis of the students’ phonological processing skills and reading/spelling ability over an 8-month intervention period. The students were instructed on a one-to-one basis and each received an average of 24.3 hours of instruction. Findings suggest that the Phono-Graphix programme did appear to help improve students’ phonological processing skills. They further show that a majority of the students recorded an average gain in reading age of 21 months and an average gain in spelling age of 12 months at the end of the training period. Qualitative findings from the study also show overall positive perceptions of the Phono-Graphix intervention among the parents and class teachers involved. The study reported here adds to the sum of knowledge on UK trials of the Phono-Graphix approach and makes a useful contribution to the literature on remediation strategies for dyslexic students.

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Palmer, S. (2000). Assessing the benefits of phonics intervention on hearing impaired children's word reading. Deafness & Education International, 2, 3, 165-178.

ABSTRACT: Previous studies demonstrate that phoneme awareness training, particularly when combined with grapheme-phoneme correspondence (letter to sound matching) teaching, results in improved reading and spelling development for normally hearing children. This study seeks to investigate the efficacy of these claims for hearing impaired children. Two hearing impaired children were pre-tested on measures of spoken and written language, phonological abilities and alphabet knowledge prior to a 12 week intervention using a Phonographix teaching programme. The children were again tested on all measures immediately after intervention. The intervention programme accelerated the children's acquisition of phoneme awareness and of phoneme-grapheme correspondence knowledge, and their ability to apply these in reading and spelling. Can concentration on teaching phoneme awareness and phonics radically improve reading and spelling standards of hearing impaired children despite a poor standard of receptive language?

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Simos, P., et al (2007). Intensive instruction affects brain magnetic activity associated with oral word reading in children with persistent reading disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 40, 1, 37-48.

Fifteen children ages 7-9 years who had persistent reading difficulties despite adequate instruction were provided with intensive tutorial intervention based on Phono-Graphix. From the study, "A notable finding was that in addition to decoding accuracy, participants showed more significant gains in reading fluency and comprehension after the first stage of the intervension which focused primarily on phonological decoding." (Simos, 2007, p. 44)

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Duncan, E. (1998) Brook Knoll School Pilot Study

The 15 participants were identified by their fifth grade (US, ages 10-11) teachers as the very lowest-level readers, struggling with the fundamental skills needed for successful reading. Their teachers and principal were concerned about these students entering middle school (US) the following year, where no more reading instruction was likely to be provided. All were concerned that these students would have difficulty with the work required of them in sixth grade.

The children were pulled from their regular classrooms to receive instruction in groups of five. Each group met for an hour, approximately three times per week, as other school activities permitted. The program, started very late in the school year, lasted only eight weeks, giving an average of just over 10.2 hours of group instruction per child.

The Phono-Graphix Reading Subskills Diagnostic Test was administered before instruction began and upon completion of the project. Every student showed some improvement in his/her skills

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