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The Research behind Concept Phonics

Concept Phonics™ uses multiple research-supported techniques to teach decoding skills much faster and more effectively than other phonics programs, including Orton-Gillingham based programs.

Two sets of research findings support this claim:

First, Concept Phonics™ uses concept training procedures to teach the syllable structures. Many years of psychology research have demonstrated clearly that such training increases the speed with which concepts are learned.  Just as importantly, concept training promotes “transfer learning”; students apply what they know about the features of the concept to any instance of the concept without teacher-provided practice on those specific instances.  

Second, Concept Phonics™ teaches all of the sounds for a letter at the same time. In-depth studies have shown that children who learned multiple sounds for the vowels simultaneously performed better on reading words than did children who learned only one sound at a time.

The superior effectiveness of Concept Phonics™ is illustrated by the following six-week study with non-reading 1st- and 2nd-grade children in Connecticut.  It investigated whether Orton-Gillingham (OG) procedures or Concept Phonics™ (CP) procedures would produce higher reading achievement scores.  The children chosen for the study were reading at or below the primer level, with these skills:

All groups were taught to read closed and magic-e syllables with a and with o (can, mop, take, rope), and words with ai, ay, and oo (say, rain, soon, book).  During the six weeks of the study, the children learned to read words with single consonants and began learning the digraphs.  They practiced blending and segmenting, sounds for letters in both reading and spelling, reading words and sentences, and spelling words and sentences.  The OG groups learned which letters are vowels and consonants, and what the syllable structures are, but did not use the Concept Phonics™ training procedures to learn the syllables.  The results were striking:

The Concept Phonics groups performed significantly better
than the Orton-Gillingham groups on all tests!

Moreover, Grade-1 children in the CP groups performed as well as Grade-2 children in the OG groups on the Lesson Test and performed better than the OG Grade-2 children on the Transfer Test.  

The Concept Phonics™ groups also did significantly better than the Orton-Gillingham groups on the Stanford Achievement Test, which was given one month later, with no follow-up teaching for any students.


Lesson Test (85 words)

Transfer Test (28 words)

OG Groups

CP Groups

OG Groups

CP Groups

Grade 1

24%   20.4

62%   53.0

18%   5.1

73%   20.4

Grade 2

60%   51.3

82%   70.0

41%   11.5

87%   24.1

Percent and Mean Number of Words Read Correctly, by Grade and Program

Mean Number of Words Read Correctly on the Stanford Achievement Test

(one month after instruction ended)


OG Groups

CP Groups

Grade 1

6.9

12.8

Grade 2

15.2

20.2

The graphs at right provide a striking visual comparison of these results, showing clearly the superior effectiveness of Concept Phonics!

Lesson Test

100%


80%


60%


40%


20%


Grade 1

Grade 2

Orton-Gillingham Groups

Concept PhonicsGroups

Transfer Test

100%


80%


60%


40%


20%


Grade 1

Grade 2

Stanford Achievement Test

25


20


15


10


5


Grade 1

Grade 2

A CONNECTICUT RESEARCH STUDY

“Of all the phonics programs out there, I’ve chosen Concept Phonics because it’s organized in such a way that you have easy access to the skills you need to teach.... My first experience with Concept Phonics  was in a second grade classroom.  Out of 21 students, I had 11 non-readers.  By the end of the year, only two needed special services — all the rest were readers!”

Carla M., K-2 Teacher

Farmington, Maine

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