Ethel Butler

Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Seguel, Mary Louise||Hull, Marion A.

Degree Name

M.S. Ed. (Master of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Education


Reading--Phonetic method


In this space age, knowledge must be attained in a shorter period of time. When most of this knowledge must be gained through reading, it is essential that the grade school child should be given the tools whereby he can achieve this goal. Investigations in the field of reading are turned in the direction of word study skills. One of the tasks of education is to conduct research on what phonics should be taught, when it should be taught, and at what level. Many educators are concerned with the teaching of phonics and other word study skills. Some feel the answer lies in an intensive drill on phonics; others feel the answer to reading problems lie in the linguistic analysis of words. The ITA program of a 44-word alphabet to teach beginning reading according to the sounds of these letters is being investigated. Various methods of teaching phonics are being conducted throughout the United States. One of the most notable ones is in operation in the Denver school system under Paul McKee and Lucille Harrison to examine when, how much, and at what level should phonics be taught. Perhaps in this well-controlled longitudinal study we will find some answers that will change our reading programs. Problem It is the purpose of this paper to explore the literature in the field and to examine the teaching approach of word study skills in three basal reading series to investigate their methods of presentation. Procedure The investigation was made by selecting thirty children in second grade to participate in the experiment. The children were chosen on the basis of their first grade IQ’s and the scores made on an achievement test in second grade. An attempt was made to equate the groups by the teachers’ experience and education, the children’s socioeconomic background, and the teachers' judgment. At the introduction of the study the children were given the Pintner-Cunningham Intelligence test and the Stanford Achievement test. One of the three word study skills methods was presented to each group of ten children. Then a retesting was given at the close of the investigation. Findings and Conclusions: The scores made by the thirty children were analyzed. The following findings were observed: 1. A systematic method of gradual phonics was found in the Scott, Foresman series and the Row, Peterson series, while the Open Court series is termed intensive phonics. 2. The Row, Peterson materials (now being revised) reinforces phonetic words study skills by using workbook material and by having the child write words on the blackboard. 3. The Scott, Foresman workbook (in which there is little pupil writing) is designed to expediate correction. The greater amount of reading necessary for the pupil caused some difficulty for the slower learner. The materials do assist in building comprehension skills. 4. In the Open Court series based on the Yale Phonics chart, the two-color affect (black for consonants and red for vowels) may attract attention to these elements. The children learn to read and write these elements simultaneously to reinforce the skills. 5. At the beginning of the Open Court series there is very little readiness and the child is taught to read words. Not until the eighth lesson does he read sentences. The following semester he uses a reader composed of stories with a non-controlled vocabulary. 6. Teaching an intensive phonetic approach demands constant teacher attention to assure that the child will read with fluency and not in a wordy manner. In conclusion, each group performed according to the assumptions made. The group that worked on the intensive word study skills showed a greater growth in that area.


Includes bibliographical references.


viii, 129 pages




Northern Illinois University

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