Literacy Links Trials Summary

The Literacy Links program is a reading intervention course developed by an educational team at the Calgary Academy.  It is a systematic and explicit program designed to assist students who are struggling with reading.  This program emphasizes several factors that address Adams’ Four Processor Model.  In addition, research has consistently shown that students who have well-developed phonemic awareness are better readers than those who do not, therefore the program is embedded with a phonological structure.  It also utilizes different modalities for teaching and learning, including tactile, visual, and auditory methods.  The instruction is provided on a 1:1 basis and the lessons are consistent and include repetition and structure to enable the student to focus on the new content presented every day.

In an initial study to measure the effectiveness of the Literacy Links intervention, 72 students completed the 30-hour program at the UROK Learning Institute. Each student was scheduled to complete the program over a three-week period.  They attended 1:1 classes two hours per day, five days per week. Of the 72 participants, 44 were male and 28 were female. They ranged in age from 5 to 16 years old and ranged in grade from Kindergarten to 11th grade. The majority of the 72 students, (42) were in 1st, 2nd or 3rdgrade, however the rest of the students were distributed equally among the other grades.

Students were assessed using selected subtests of the Wechsler Individual Achievement Test – Second Edition (WIAT-II) which consists of word Reading, Pseudo-word decoding, Reading Comprehension, and Spelling sections,  and the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (C-TOPP), both before and after completing the Literacy Links program.  Students were considered good candidates for the Literacy Links program if they showed weaknesses on the Word Reading and Pseudo-word Decoding subtests of the WIAT-II.  In addition, students were included if they also exhibited a weakness on at least one factor of the C-TOPP (Phonological Awareness, Alternate Phonological Awareness, Rapid Naming, and Phonological Memory Composite scores).

After completing the Literacy Links program students made significant gains in the WIAT-II targeted areas of Word Reading (p<.001) and Pseudo-word Decoding (p<.001) when comparing both the grade-level increase and the standard score increase from before to after completing the program. The average grade level improvement for Word Reading was .52 and Pseudo-word Decoding was 1.15 after participating in the 3-week program (see table 1). The standard score gains students made after completing the program were also significant, with students increasing their score an average of 4.40 points on Word Reading (p<.001) and 7.45 on Pseudo-word Decoding (p<.001).

Significant increases were also identified with the WIAT-II Reading Comprehension (p<.001) and Spelling (p<.001) subtests.  While these areas were not directly addressed with the Literacy Links program, it appears that the skills the students learned in the program transferred to Reading Comprehension and spelling.   The average grade level improvement on these subtests was 1.33 on Reading Comprehension and .50 on Spelling.  The standard score gains students made after completing the program were also significant with students increasing their score an average of 8.07 points on Reading Comprehension (p<.001) and 3.72 on Spelling (p<.001).

Table 1.

WIAT-II (These “tables” will actually be formatted into graphic tables on the website)

Average Grade Level Improvement- Word Reading: 0.52

Average Grade Level Improvement- Pseudoword Decoding : 1.15

Average Grade Level Improvement- Reading Comprehension: 1.33

Average Grade Level Improvement- Spelling: 0.50

Students also showed significant improvements on the C-TOPP on 8 of the 12 subtests. Overall, the results of this study indicate that Literacy Links is a very effective way to improve the reading skills of students who are struggling with reading decoding.  Students averaged a half of one grade level increase in Word Reading and Spelling and a full grade level increase in Pseudo-word Decoding and Reading Comprehension after completing the three-week Literacy Links program.  Those gains are particularly significant in light of the fact that the program only lasts three weeks.

In addition to results generated at the clinic, UROK has demonstrated the effectiveness of Literacy Links in a variety of school and home settings. At the O’Farrell Community School in San Diego, 53 middle school students (grade 6-8) were identified as having significant difficulty with reading skills.  After implementation of a modified Literacy Links program, which included small group teaching, results were obtained that were in line with previous findings (see Table 2).

Table 2.

Woodcock Johnson –III Test of Reading Fluency

Average pre-test raw score: 40.57

Average post-test raw score: 47.83

Average raw score improvement : 7.26

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 4.70

Average post-test grade equivalent : 6.10

Average grade equivalent improvement: 1.40 grade levels

 

Table 3.

UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Average pre-test raw score: 65.9 (range 42-93)

Average post-test raw score: 102.4 (range 86-120)

Average raw score improvement: 36.5

 

At the Memorial Academy in San Diego County, 32 elementary school children were identified as having significant difficulty with reading skills.  After implementation of a modified Literacy Links program, which included small group teaching, results were obtained that were again consistent with previous findings (see Table 4).

Table 4.

UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Average pre-test raw score: 45 (range 12-80)

Average post-test raw score: 92 (range 67-106)

Average raw score improvement: 47 (a 104% gain)

 

At the Darnell E-Campus, a California Charter Elementary School in San Diego County, 25 elementary school children were identified as having significant difficulty with reading skills.  After implementation of a modified Literacy Links program, which included small group teaching, results were obtained that were again consistent with previous findings (see Table 5).

Table 5.

UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Average pre-test raw score: 36.3 (range 16-58)

Average post-test raw score: 99.4 (range 80-110)

Average raw score improvement: 63

 

A dynamic, multifaceted intervention was conducted at San Pasqual Academy, a residential high school for foster youth, located in Escondido in San Diego County. Incoming students generally had very poor academic skills primarily due to their inconsistent educational history as well as emotional disturbances. Table 6 presents the Literacy Links portion of the program. Through the 9 years UROK was present at San Pasqual Academy, scores consistently improved.

Table 6.

Woodcock Johnson –III Test of Reading Fluency

 Average pre-test raw score: 60.8

Average post-test raw score: 69.6

Average raw score improvement:  8.8

Average pre-test grade equivalent : 8.3

Average post-test grade equivalent: 10.6

Average grade equivalent improvement: 2.3 grade levels

 

UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Average pre-test raw score: 78.8 (range 56-91)

Average post-test raw score:  116.2 (range 105-121)

Average raw score improvement: 37.4

 

Table 7 represents scores of 99 students in the Los Angeles Unified School District who participated in the Literacy Links program, funded through Supplemental Education Services (SES).

Table 7.

Woodcock Johnson –III Test of Reading Fluency

Grades 1-6

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 2.85

Average post-test grade equivalent: 3.54

Average grade equivalent improvement: .69 grade levels

Grades 7-8

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 6.28

Average post-test grade equivalent: 8.40

Average grade equivalent improvement: 2.12 grade levels

Grades 9-11

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 5.24

Average post-test grade equivalent: 7.90

Average grade equivalent improvement: 2.66 grade levels

 

 UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Grades 1-6

Average pre-test raw score: 72.21 (range 45-98)

Average post-test raw score: 111.82 (range 73-122)

Average raw score improvement: 39.60

Grades 7-8

Average pre-test raw score: 73.06

Average post-test raw score: 115.25

Average raw score improvement:  42.19

Grades 9-11

Average pre-test raw score: 63.77

Average post-test raw score: 111.08

Average raw score improvement: 47.31

 

Table 8 represents scores of 18 students in the Santa Ana Unified School District who participated in the Literacy Links program, funded through Supplemental Education Services (SES).

able 8.

Woodcock Johnson –III Test of Reading Fluency

 Grades 1-7

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 3.68

Average post-test grade equivalent:  4.72

Average grade equivalent improvement : 1.04 grade levels

UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Grades 1-7

Average pre-test raw score: 69.31(range 49-90)

Average post-test raw score: 111.31 (range 85-122)

Average raw score improvement: 42.0

 

Table 9 represents scores of 29 students in the Ontario Unified School District who participated in the Literacy Links program, funded through Supplemental Education Services (SES).

Table 9.

Woodcock Johnson –III Test of Reading Fluency

Grades 1-6

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 2.73

Average post-test grade equivalent: 3.76

Average grade equivalent improvement

Grades 7-8

Average pre-test grade equivalent: 4.95

Average post-test grade equivalent: 5.90

Average grade equivalent improvement: .95    grades

 

UROK Sound Symbol Assessment (USSA)

Grades 1-6

Average pre-test raw score: 66.18 (range 36-87)

Average post-test raw score: 108.82 (range 55-122)

Average raw score improvement: 42.76

Grades 7-8

Average pre-test raw score: 72.75 (range 63-86)

Average post-test raw score: 116.50 (range 113-121)

Average raw score improvement: 42.75