The Spel-Lang Tree is a Research Based Program

Becoming a Nation of Readers, 1985
National Reading Panel Report (Summary, 2001)
University of Virginia Research (Henderson, 1985)
Orton-Gillingham Based
Classroom Performance Data

 

1) The Spel-Lang Tree is aligned with phonics recommendations from Becoming a Nation of Readers (1985):

"The purpose of phonics is to teach children the alphabetic principle. The goal is for this to become an operating principle so that young readers consistently use information about the relationship between letters and sounds and letters and meanings to assist in the identification of known words and to independently figure out unfamiliar words." (p. 42)

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2) The Spel-Lang Tree is aligned with phonics recommendations from the National Reading Panel Report as summarized in Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read (CIERA, 2001):

a) Phonemic awareness instruction helps children learn to read. (CIERA, p. 6) The Spel-Lang Tree manuals guide the teacher in helping children isolate phonemes in spoken words.
b) Phonemic awareness instruction is most effective when children are taught to manipulate phonemes by using the letters of the alphabet and when instruction focuses on only one or two rather than several types of phoneme manipulation. (CIERA, p. 10) The Spel-Lang Tree manuals are consistent in methods of presentation of phonemes and in immediate application of graphemes (letters) that represent the various phonemes.
b)
Systematic and explicit phonics instruction is more effective than non-systematic or no phonics instruction and significantly improves children's word recognition, spelling, and reading comprehension. CIERA, p. 13-14) The Spel-Lang Tree provides systematic and explicit phonics instruction. See Classroom Data below.

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2) The Spel-Lang Tree is aligned with recommendations from the University of Virginia Research (Henderson, 1985, Teaching Spelling) for sequence of instruction:

a) "One important contribution of developmental spelling research has been to clarify the word-knowledge progression that normal children follow and so make it possible for teachers to know . . . what the content of a basal spelling program should be. . . These data tend to support the general sequencing plan that has evolved traditionally." (Henderson, p. 99) The Spel-Lang Tree follows a generally accepted sequence of spelling progression.
b) "Most formal spelling programs emphasize the short vowel patterns first. . . Typically the short e pattern is the last to show correct spelling in children's writing." (Henderson, p. 115). The Spel-Lang Tree: Roots follows the short vowel sequence of a, i, u, o, e.
c) "A few lessons with long vowel words are often included in the first grade." (Henderson, p . 115) The Spel-Lang Tree: Roots includes all long vowels in its carefully planned sequence of instruction.
d) Henderson recommends using word sorts as a basic element in spelling instruction. Although this is not the primary method in The Spel-Lang Tree: Roots, word sort activities are included for enrichment. The Spel-Lang Tree: Trunks places a great emphasis on word sorting.

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3) The Spel-Lang Tree is an Orton-Gillingham based program:

a) The Spel-Lang Tree program is multi-sensory in presentation -- visual, auditory, kinesthetic, tactile.
b) The Spel-Lang Tree manuals follow the general sequence of instruction recommended in Orton-Gillingham programs.
c) Orton-Gillingham programs recommend direct instruction. The Spel-Lang Tree: Seeds and The Spel-Lang Tree: Roots place a strong emphasis on direct instruction.

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4) Classroom Performance Data

The Class Performance Data Table (shown below) documents the changes in overall reading performance in the author's classroom as she moved from using traditional phonics materials in reading instruction toward the use of multisensory spelling instruction with the children writing patterned words on a daily basis.

The Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test was administered to first grade children during April of each year (Grade Equivalent 1.8). Year 1 on the table shows a class median Grade Equivalent of 1.9 on this test. This was equal to the author's traditional experience and expectation regarding test results in previous years.

In Years 2 and 3, students were taught to sound blend words in lists which were written on the chalkboard. Using this type of decoding instruction produced substantially better test results as the class mean increased to G.E. 2.2.

In Years 4 and 5, the students were asked to orally segment the words into their sounds and write them before seeing the words in print. The transfer of spelling skills to reading was significant, increasing the class mean to G.E. 2.5. While, in the first year, 38% of the students functioned below grade level, when multi-sensory techniques were added, only 9% and 8% of students performed below grade level on this test (Yellow area of table). Even more surprising were the scores of upper level students, those performing at Grade Equivalent 3.8 and above (Green area of table). In the first year, only 8% performed at this higher level but during Years 4 and 5, over 20% of students scored at this high level on this reading test. Return to home page...

Grade Equivalents of First Graders on Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test
over Five Year Period
 
Traditional
Sound Blending Added
Multi-Sensory Activities
Added
G.E.
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5
N = 24
(13 B + 11 G)
N = 24
(8 B + 16 G)
N = 29
(13 B + 16 G)
N = 22
(12 B + 10 G)
N = 24
(13 B + 11 G)
3.8+++  
G
 
B
GG
3.8++
B
 
G
B
G
3.8+
B
       
3.8    
B
BBBG
BB
3.6
B
B
G
 
BBG
3.4  
BBG
G
B
 
3.2  
G
G
 
GG
3.0
B
GG
 
G
G
2.8  
G
BG
BG
G
2.7
G
       
2.6
GG
GG
BG
 
BB
2.5
B
GG
G
GG
 
2.4  
G
BBG
BBG
BB
2.3
G
 
BBG
G
BGG
2.2
G
 
GG
G
 
2.1
GG
 
G
 
BB
2.0    
BBG
B
 
1.9  
B
G
   
1.8 (Test)
BBB
GG
 
BB
B
1.7
BBG
BGG
BBGG
   
1.6
B
BG
 
GG
B
1.5
BG
B
   
B
1.4
GG
       
1.3  
B
BB
   
1.2          
1.1          
1.0
B
       
Mean
1.9
2.2
2.2
2.4
2.5
Vocabulary
2.0
2.3
2.3
2.6
2.6
Comprehension
2.0
2.1
2.2
2.3
2.5
Below
Grade
Equivalent
38%
29%
21%
9%
8%

N = Number of students. . . G.E. = Grade Equivalent. . . B = Boy. . . G = Girl

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The Spel-Lang Tree, Dept. WP
Johnsburg Educational Partnership Foundation (JEPF)
2222 W. Church Street
Johnsburg IL 60050 USA
Fax: (815) 385-4715