Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Elish-Piper, Laurie

Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)

Legacy Department

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (CI)


This single subject experimental design study used an adapted alternating treatment design to examine the effects of a synthetic phonics intervention and an analytic phonics intervention on oral reading accuracy, oral reading rate, and letter-sound correspondences among first grade students. Students who were reading at least two levels below guided reading level expectations and scored below the 25th percentile on the AIMSweb R-CBM (2017) fluency probe and the Words Their Way Primary Spelling Inventory (Baer et al., 2007) were selected to participate in the study. Five participants received daily instruction based on a synthetic phonics intervention (systematic directed phonics) or an analytic phonics intervention (word sorts) over a duration of 11 weeks. Participant response to each intervention was measured using the Wilson Assessment of Decoding and Encoding (WADE; Wilson, 1998) and the AIMSweb fluency probes. Data were collected twice a week and were graphed and analyzed after each session. Visual analysis of graphed displays were examined to compare the effectiveness of the synthetic phonics intervention and the analytic phonics intervention. Trendlines for most participants demonstrated a moderate to high impact on oral reading rate (ORR) and word reading accuracy across conditions. At times, the analytic phonics intervention resulted in some of the highest ORR across conditions, especially when prefaced with synthetic phonics instruction. Findings from the study include the need for systematic phonics instruction as a precursor to the successful use of analytic phonics instruction. In addition, the combination of both synthetic phonics and analytic phonics instruction supported an increase in oral reading rate and word reading efficiency. Implications for practice include the importance of building a strong foundation in oral language and letter-sound knowledge along with the combination of both synthetic phonics and analytic phonics to offer the most comprehensive instruction for developing word recognition in emerging readers. Future research should include a replication of the study using intermediate students who demonstrate struggles with oral reading fluency, word reading accuracy, and spelling. The addition of a third independent variable such as the combination of both the synthetic phonics and analytic phonics interventions could provide an additional comparison treatment. In addition, the use of longitudinal data collection could determine retention of any gains in oral reading rate, word reading accuracy, and letter-sound correspondences.


226 pages




Northern Illinois University

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