Sound Partners Kindergarten

Study: Vadasy, Sanders, & Peyton (2006)

Vadasy, P.F., Sanders, E.A., & Peyton, J.A. (2006). Code-oriented instruction for kindergarten students at risk for reading difficulties: A randomized field trial with paraeducator implementers. Journal of Educational Psychology, 98, 508-528.
Descriptive Information Usage Acquisition and Cost Program Specifications and Requirements Training

Sound Partners Kindergarten is a supplemental Tier 2 intervention that provides integrated and explicit instruction in phonemic and alphabetic skills, including phonemic decoding skills and assisted oral reading practice in decodable texts. The program consists of a set of 70 scripted lessons (with 7-8 activities per lesson) with matched decodable texts that are used during 30-minute tutoring sessions (typically provided 4 days a week, for about 20 weeks). Tutoring is typically conducted during the school day, outside the classroom in a quiet school space. On average, instruction includes 20 minutes of phonics activities and 10 minutes of oral reading practice in decodable texts. Tutors adjust the rate of progress through the phonics content to meet students’ needs. Lesson activities include the following:

  • Letter-sound correspondences
  • Syllable and phoneme segmenting
  • Decoding and spelling
  • Irregular word instruction
  • Phoneme blending
  • Alphabet naming practice
  • Assisted oral reading practice

The effectiveness of Sound Partners Kindergarten tutoring depends upon careful implementation. To ensure a successful Sound Partners Kindergarten tutoring program, schools should have: space for tutors to work with students; paraprofessional tutors available to work with students (one-on-one, 30 minutes/day, 4 days/week, for the entire school year); and a program supervisor to oversee program implementation.

A program supervisor (reading specialist, resource teacher, or tutor coordinator) is essential to successful program implementation. Responsibility for supervising Sound Partners Kindergarten tutoring can usually be incorporated into the supervisor’s regular school job description, and may require 1 to 3 hours per week of time.

Sound Partners Kindergarten is intended for use in kindergarten. It is designed for use with students with learning disabilities, English language learners, and students at risk for reading difficulties. The academic area of focus is reading (including phonological awareness, alphabetic knowledge, and phonics/word study).

In the Seattle School District, where all of the developer’s studies have been based, it is estimated that about 20 schools use Sound Partners Kindergarten as a supplemental intervention. With funds from a U.S. Department of Education OSEP outreach grant and local private funding, from 2004-present, the developer conducted over 70 Sound Partners Kindergarten trainings. These trainings served about 300 paraeducators, 170 teachers, and other parent organizations. The developer has also conducted trainings in Nebraska (serving 27 school districts); Oakland, CA; Holly Springs, MS; Tucson, AZ; and Palm Springs, CA. 

Where to obtain: 
Cambium Learning Group

17855 Dallas Parkway, Suite 400

Dallas, TX 75287

Phone: 303-651-2829

Website:www.voyagersopris.com/curriculum/subject/literacy/sound-partners

Cost:

$89.95 for master set including three copies of lesson materials.

Initial cost per student for implementing program: lesson notebooks available from the publisher, and approximately $25 for two sets of decodable Bob Books storybooks (Maslen: Scholastic Press) available from a bookstore/publisher.

Replacement cost per student for subsequent use: Lessons can be copied. Storybooks can be replaced as needed.

The estimated cost for program implementation will vary, based upon the type of implementer (hourly tutor, salaried paraeducator with benefits, or certificated teacher), the number of students a school plans to serve (and consequently how many students each tutor will serve). Based on average hourly tutor rates at Seattle elementary sites, the estimated Sound Partners Kindergarten cost per student is $800, annually.

School staff interested in assistance with training can contact the developers at Washington Research Institute.

Sound Partners Kindergarten is designed for use with individual students. In a randomized study, dyad tutoring has also been found to be an effective implementation.

Sound Partners Kindergarten takes 30 minutes per session with a recommended four sessions per week for 20 weeks.

The program includes a detailed tutor manual. The program is not affiliated with a basal text, but it is coordinated with a set of decodable storybooks that include the Bob books (Maslen) published by Scholastic. No special technology is required.

Typically a half-day training is provided for non-teacher tutor trainees.

This program is designed to be implemented by paraeducator tutors. Trainers model use of the scripted lessons and supervise practice in use of each component. Follow-up coaching is typically provided either locally by our trainers or by the school contact who is trained to be the on-site coach/supervisor. The program includes a coaching guide as well as a format for recording fidelity of use.

Instructors must be professionals (in the case of the tutor trainer) or paraprofessionals (in the case of the typical tutor implementer). The tutors often have little background in beginning reading instruction, but the tutor trainers and supervisors should have a background in beginning reading acquisition and instruction.

The training manual and training procedures were used in several RCT studies of the program as well as in an earlier first- grade version of the program, and in a second-third- grade version of the program (tutoring in advanced word reading skills).

Although on-site technical support in training local tutors is not typically needed, Seattle-area trainers are available to provide long-distance support to schools beginning to use the program.

 

Participants: Convincing Evidence

Sample size: 67 kindergarten students across nine schools (36 students in the treatment group and 31 students in the control group; 75 students initially pretested)

Risk Status: Teachers referred students for screening who were at risk, and researchers screened students on alphabetic and phonological skills, using DIBELS measures. Students who scored in the at risk or deficit range on two of the three DIBELS subtests were eligible. Furthermore, all students in the sample were at-risk with a grand mean of the sample below 25th percentile on the CTOPP Phonological Awareness Measure. (Grand mean CTOPP across both treatment and control conditions is 82.66, which is < 15th percentile on this measure).

Demographics:

 

Program

Control

p of chi square

Number

Percentage

Number

Percentage

Grade level

  Kindergarten

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 1

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 2

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 3

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 4

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 5

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 6

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 7

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 8

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 9

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 10

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 11

 

 

 

 

 

  Grade 12

 

 

 

 

 

Race-ethnicity

  African-American

 

 

 

 

 

  American Indian

 

 

 

 

 

  Asian/Pacific Islander

 

 

 

 

 

  Hispanic

 

 

 

 

 

  White

 

 

 

 

 

  Other

 

 

 

 

 

  Minority

33

92%

25

81%

0.921

Socioeconomic status

  Subsidized lunch

 

 

 

 

 

  No subsidized lunch

 

 

 

 

 

  Title I

12

33%

10

32%

0.009

Disability status

  Speech-language impairments

 

 

 

 

 

  Learning disabilities

 

 

 

 

 

  Behavior disorders

 

 

 

 

 

  Intellectual disabilities

 

 

 

 

 

  Other

 

 

 

 

 

Any disability

8

22%

1

3%

3.665

  Not identified with a disability

 

 

 

 

 

ELL status

  English language learner

9

25%

8

26%

0.006

  Not English language learner

 

 

 

 

 

Gender

Female

 

 

 

 

 

Male

26

72%

13

42%

6.281

Training of Instructors: The 11 participating paraeducators were mostly non-minority (91%) and female (82%) and varied in their educational levels, general tutoring experience, and experience working with program completion, (M = 14.1, SD = 2.12), and six (55%) paraeducators had more than a high school education. The average education level of paraeducators in this study is similar to that recommended in new NCLB requirements. Prior to the study, the range of paraeducator tutoring experience was 0 to 9 years, M = 3.7 (SD = 3.82); four had no previous tutoring experience. Five (45%) had some previous experience working with kindergarteners, although most had no experience with this age group, M = 0.6 years (SD = 0.81, Range = 0 to 2). All paraeducators were hired as district employees and paid by the schools with funds provided by the research grant.

Design: Convincing Evidence

Did the study use random assignment?: Yes.

If not, was it a tenable quasi-experiment?: Not applicable.

If the study used random assignment, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures used as covariates or on pretest measures also used as outcomes?: Yes.

If not, at pretreatment, were the program and control groups not statistically significantly different and had a mean standardized difference that fell within 0.25 SD on measures central to the study (i.e., pretest measures also used as outcomes), and outcomes were analyzed to adjust for pretreatment differences?: Not applicable.

Were the program and control groups demographically comparable at pretreatment?: Yes.

Was there attrition bias1 ?: No.

Did the unit of analysis match the unit for random assignment (for randomized studies) or the assignment strategy (for quasi-experiments)?: Yes.

1 NCII follows guidance from the What Works Clearinghouse (WWC) in determining attrition bias. The WWC model for determining bias based on a combination of differential and overall attrition rates can be found on pages 13-14 of this document: http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/wwc/pdf/reference_resources/wwc_procedures_v2_1_standards_handbook.pdf

 

Fidelity of Implementation: Convincing Evidence

Describe when and how fidelity of treatment information was obtained: Researchers conducted an average of 16 observations per paraeducator (SD = 4) over the course of the intervention. Paraeducators without previous tutoring experience received an average of 19 observations. Observers used an implementation checklist that included two to four behavioral criteria for each of 9 instructional activities (e.g., one criterion for word reading was models sounding out without stopping between sounds, and one criterion for spelling was scaffolds with phoneme segmenting). Instructional behaviors were rated on a scale of 0-4, with higher scores indicating better performance. Interrater reliability for 29 paired observations was r = 0.90, p < 0.001.

Provide documentation (i.e., in terms of numbers) of fidelity of treatment implementation: Across 177 observations, treatment fidelity was acceptable, M = 3.64 (SD = 0.37).

Measures Targeted: Convincing Evidence

Measures Broader: Convincing Evidence

Targeted Measure Score type & range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Letter Name Fluency

This measure uses a letter card showing upper- and lowercase letters in random order. Students are asked to name as many letters on the page as they can in 1 min. The score is the number of correctly named letters.

Alternate-form reliability reported by the developers is 0.88 in kindergarten. For this sample, internal consistency at pretest was 0.91 (27 items) and at posttest was 0.96 (56 items).

DIBELS Letter Name Fluency measures alphabetic knowledge.

Word Attack and Word Identification subtests of the standardized Woodcock Reading Mastery Test—Revised/Normative Update (WRMT-R/NU)

The Word Attack subtest includes 50 nonwords that increase in difficulty. Testing is discontinued after six consecutive incorrect responses.

The Word Identification subtest consists of 106 words that increase in difficulty. Testing is discontinued after six consecutive incorrect responses.

Word Attack subtest: Split-half reliability for first graders reported in the manual is 0.94. Sample reliability could not be computed for pretest because of lack of any item variance; however, posttest internal consistency was 0.88 (16 items). At follow-up, internal consistency was 0.93 (41 items).

Word Identification subtest: Split-half reliability reported in the manual for first graders is 0.98. Although sample reliability could not be computed for pretest items (because of lack of variability), posttest internal consistency was 0.90 (23 items) and follow-up internal consistency was 0.96 (69 items).

Measures reading accuracy.

Composite average of the Phonemic Decoding and Sight Word Efficiency subtests of the standardized Test of Word Reading Efficiency (TOWRE).

The Phonemic Decoding subtest requires the student to read orally as many nonwords as possible in 45 s. Items in the list increase in difficulty from 2 to 10 phonemes. For students who were under the age of 7 at kindergarten posttest, standard scores were computed using age 7 (the youngest age category).

The Sight Word subtest requires the student to read lists of words that increase in difficulty as fast as possible. Students begin at the top of the page and read down the list, skipping any unknown word. The student’s raw score is the number of words read correctly in 45 s. For students who were under the age of 7 at kindergarten posttest, standard scores were computed using age 7 (the youngest age category).

Phonemic Decoding subtest: Test–retest reliability for 6–9- year-olds is 0.90. For this sample, internal consistency was 0.84 (12 items) at posttest and 0.90 (29 items) at follow-up posttest.

Sight Word subtest: Test–retest reliability for 6–9-year-olds is 0.96. Sample internal consistency was 0.89 (15 items) at posttest and 0.96 (60 items) at follow-up.

Measures reading efficiency

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) Phoneme Segmentation Fluency and Nonsense Word Fluency subtests

In the Phoneme Segmentation Fluency subtest, the tester says words containing three or four sounds and asks the student to segment each sound in the word (e.g., the tester says sat, and the student earns 1 point for each correctly segmented sound: “/s/ /a/ /t/” for three correct points). The student’s score is the number of correctly segmented sounds in 1 min.

For the Nonsense Word Fluency subtest, students were presented with a page of randomly ordered vowel–consonant and consonant–vowel– consonant nonsense words (e.g., sig, rav, and ov) and were asked to say the sounds. One point is awarded for each letter sound in the nonsense word (blending the sounds is not required), and the total score is the number of letter sounds the student says correctly in 1 min (e.g., for the item sig, the student would receive 3 points for either “/s/ /i/ /g/” or “/sig/”).

Phoneme Segmentation Fluency subtest: Two-week alternate-form reliability reported by the developers for kindergarten is 0.88. For this sample, internal consistencies were 0.83 (6 items), 0.90 (9 items), and 0.92 (10 items) at pretest, midtest, and posttest, respectively.

Nonsense Word Fluency subtest: Alternate-form reliability reported by the developers for mid-first grade is 0.83 (Good et al., 2004). For this sample, internal consistencies were 0.14 (two items), 0.46 (five items), and 0.76 (four items) for pretest, midtest, and posttest, respectively.

 

Measure growth (the development of critical early literacy skills targeted in the intervention). These two measures were administered at pretest, midtest, and posttest to assess phonemic awareness and phonological recoding and blending of sounds.

Wide Range Achievement Test—Revised (WRAT) Spelling subtest.

Normally, this subtest requires the student to copy marks–symbols, print his or her name, and print a list of dictated words, and testing is discontinued after 10 consecutive incorrect responses.

Similar to Fuchs et al. (2001), we applied the Tangel and Blachman (1992) developmental scoring rubric to all words attempted (within normal test administration guidelines). This rubric allowed us to credit students for partial and less phonemically sophisticated responses. Items were scored from 0 (random string of letters) to 6 (entire word correctly spelled).

Test–retest reliability reported for ages 7.0 –7.5 is 0.97.

Internal consistencies for this sample were 0.95 (21 items) and 0.96 (30 items) at kindergarten posttest and follow-up, respectively.

Measures developmental spelling.

Broader Measure Score type & range of measure Reliability statistics Relevance to program instructional content

WRMT-R/NU Passage Comprehension subtest

The student is asked to silently read a short passage and orally provide the missing keyword. (For each blank, the student is asked to supply a word appropriate in the context of the passage.) Acceptable responses are listed on the examiner’s easel page, and testing is discontinued after six consecutive incorrect responses. The student’s raw score is the total number of correct responses.

Internal consistency reported by test developers is 0.94 –0.97. For this sample, internal consistencies were 0.63 (8 items) and 0.91 (31 items) at kindergarten posttest and follow-up, respectively.

Measures comprehension.

Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP) Phonological Awareness composite score. (Blending Words, Elision, and Sound Matching.)

During the Blending Words subtest, the student is asked to listen to parts of words and blend them together to make a whole word. This subtest has 20 items, and testing is discontinued after the student misses three items in a row or when the student completes all items.

During the Elision subtest, the student is asked to listen to the sounds in a spoken word and is then asked to say the word without one or more of its sounds, creating a new word (e.g., the student is asked to “say the word spider without saying der”). This subtest has 20 items, and testing is discontinued after the student misses three items in a row or when all items are completed.

The Sound Matching subtest has two parts: In Part 1, the tester says a word and asks the student to say, out of three word choices, the word that starts with the same sound as the initial word (e.g., the student is asked, “Which word starts with the same sound as sock? Sun, cake, or bear?”). Part 2 of this subtest asks the student to say, out of three word choices, the word that ends with the same sound as the initial word. This subtest has 20 items, and testing is discontinued after four out of seven items are incorrect.

Blending Words subtest: Test–retest reliability reported in the manual for 5–7-year-olds is 0.88. For this sample, internal consistency at pretest was 0.79 (10 items) and at posttest was 0.90 (16 items).

Elision subtest: Test–retest reliability reported in the test manual for 5–7-year-olds is 0.88. For this sample, internal consistency at pretest was 0.64 (5 items) and at posttest was 0.80 (10 items).

Sound Matching subtest: Test–retest reliability reported in the manual for 5–7-year-olds is 0.83. For this sample, internal consistency at pretest was 0.79 (20 items) and at posttest was 0.86 (20 items).

Measures phonological awareness.

Beginning first-grade decodable reading passage entitled “Mac Gets Well”

Students read the passage aloud for 1 min. Words omitted, words substituted, and hesitations of more than 3 s were scored as errors. Words self-corrected within 3 s were scored as accurate. Fluency rate is calculated as the number of words correctly read in 1 min.

For this sample, internal consistency was 0.93 (26 words) at kindergarten posttest and 0.98 (121 words) at follow-up.

Measures oral reading fluency rate.

 

Number of Outcome Measures: 2 Prereading, 4 Reading, 1 Writing

Mean ES - Targeted: 0.56*

Mean ES - Broader: 0.40*

Effect Size:

Targeted Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Prereading DIBELS LNF 0.07
Reading  Word Reading: Mean WRMT 0.98***
Reading  Reading Efficiency: Mean TOWRE Phonemic Decoding and Sight Word 0.63*
Writing WRAT-R Spelling 0.57*

Broader Measures

Construct Measure Effect Size
Prereading CTOPP Phonological Awareness 0.20
Reading Oral Reading Fluency Rate 0.69**
Reading Comprehension: WRMT-R/NU Passage Comprehension 0.32

 

Key
*        p ≤ 0.05
**      p ≤ 0.01
***    p ≤ 0.001
–      Developer was unable to provide necessary data for NCII to calculate effect sizes
u      Effect size is based on unadjusted means
†      Effect size based on unadjusted means not reported due to lack of pretest group equivalency, and effect size based on adjusted means is not available

 

Visual Analysis (Single Subject Design): N/A

Disaggregated Data for Demographic Subgroups: No

Disaggregated Data for <20th Percentile: No

Administration Group Size: Individual

Duration of Intervention: 30 minutes, 4 times a week, 18 weeks

Minimum Interventionist Requirements: Paraprofessional, 4 hours of training

Reviewed by WWC or E-ESSA: WWC & E-ESSA

What Works Clearinghouse Review

Beginning Readers Protocol

Effectiveness: Sound Partners was found to have positive effects on alphabetics, fluency, and comprehension and no discernible effects on general reading achievement on beginning readers.

Studies Reviewed: 7 studies meet standards out of 11 studies total

Full Report

Evidence for ESSA

English Learners

Program Outcomes: Two studies evaluated Sound Partners with English learners. One involved kindergartners and one first graders. Effect sizes were significantly positive compared to controls at both grade levels. The effect size across Woodcock and CTOPP measures was +0.60 for kindergartners, +0.15 for first graders. Follow-up studies found that these outcomes were still seen two years later, on Word Reading and Comprehension. The positive outcomes qualify Sound Partners for the ESSA “Strong” category, and for the “Solid Outcomes” rating (effect size of at least +0.20 over at least two studies).

Number of Studies: 2

Average Effect Size: 0.36

Full Report

Struggling Readers

Program Outcomes: Two studies, one at the kindergarten level and the other at the first grade level, qualified for the review. The average effect size was +0.58 on measures from the Woodcock Reading Mastery Test and CTOPP. These met the criteria for the ESSA “Strong” category, and for “Solid Outcomes” (two studies with effect sizes of at least +0.20). Follow-up studies of the kindergartners and first graders both found positive effects maintained two years later on word reading and comprehension.

Number of Studies: 4

Average Effect Size: 0.58

Full Report

 

Other Research: Potentially Eligible for NCII Review: 4 studies

Jenkins, J. R., Peyton, J. A., Sanders, E. A., & Vadasy, P. F. (2004). Effects of reading decodable texts in supplemental first-grade tutoring. Scientific Studies of Reading, 8(1), 53–86.
 

Mooney, P. J. (2003). An investigation of the effects of a comprehensive reading intervention on the beginning reading skills of first graders at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (Doctoral dissertation, University of Nebraska–Lincoln, 2003). Dissertation Abstracts International, 64(05A), 85–1599.
 

Vadasy, P. F., Jenkins, J. R., & Pool, K. (2000). Effects of tutoring in phonological and early reading skills on students at risk for reading disabilities. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 33(6), 579–590.
 

Vadasy, P. F., Jenkins, J. R., Antil, L. R., Wayne, S. K., & O’Connor, R. E. (1997a). The effectiveness of one-to-one tutoring by community tutors for at-risk beginning readers. Learning Disability Quarterly, 20(1), 126–139.