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Volume I: 2012

Melissa Blackwell

The Effects of a Reading Training Seminar which Encouraged Active Parental Involvement

This research study conducted by a teacher researcher as part of the coursework required for a graduate capstone course, looked at the extent to which active parent involvement would affect reading scores and achievement levels of students in a Kindergarten classroom. Seven male students participated in the study (n=7). Student participants were selected based on whether their parents/guardians attended one optional parent training seminar. This seminar trained parents in the utilization of eight word-solving strategies that could be used with their child while reading at home. Data collection techniques used during the research study included pre- and post-running record assessments to determine the reading levels of student participants, two word-solving strategy checklists to determine students’ use of each strategy while reading, and two parent surveys to help identify which word-solving strategies parents were using at home with their child while reading. Challenges included a short amount of time to complete this research study, a small number of participants, and issues with having the completed surveys returned. Results of this study indicated an increase in the use of the eight word-solving strategies parents used at home with their child while reading. Additionally, data showed an increase in students’ accuracy rates while reading and an increase in the amount of word-solving strategies students used while reading.

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More about Melissa

Melissa Blackwell

"While completing my Master's Degree at EIU I have learned many useful techniques and skills that I have found helpful in my own teaching practices. I have also gained the confidence to try new things in my classroom without the fear of failure. Thanks to the professors at EIU and fellow students, I now feel I have the skills necessary to better meet the needs of my students."

Melissa Blackwell graduated from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education. In May 2012, she received her Master’s Degree in Education from Eastern Illinois University. She currently teaches Kindergarten at Riddle Elementary School and is in her fourth year teaching. Mrs. Blackwell’s action research project looked at the extent to which active parent involvement would affect reading scores and achievement levels of students in a Kindergarten classroom.



Amanda Gibson

Dolch Word Practice: Can Struggling Readers Benefit?

This action research study was conducted to determine to what extent regular Dolch word instruction would impact the fluency of 4th grade students who are a year below grade level in reading. These students read orally with the teacher daily as a part of guided reading time. In addition, during this four-week study, the students in these guided reading groups used Dolch word flashcards to practice high frequency words and practiced and read timed fluency passages. Overall, students showed an increase in the number of words they read correctly on the fluency passages. Data analysis showed an increase in the number of words read correctly per passage from Monday to Friday, after practice sessions during the week. Additionally, the students called the Dolch flashcards correctly in fewer seconds than they did at the beginning of the study. General conclusions were that with regular Dolch word practice struggling readers were able to call the Dolch words correctly in less time and were able to read more words correct per minute with less errors on weekly fluency passages.

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More about Amanda

Amanda Gibson

"My classwork and experiences at Eastern Illinois University have been remarkable. The learned methods from my professors and the opportunities to share this information with other teachers and to apply this knowledge in my classroom have been challenging and rewarding. I attribute many of my classroom and student successes to this preparation. I have been especially pleased to be a positive influence on and to see improvement in the reading abilities of my students. I feel my participation in the Elementary Education program was a vital component in my ability to instill a true enjoyment for reading and learning in my students."

Amanda Gibson graduated from Eastern Illinois University in 2001 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Administrative Information Systems and in 2002 with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. In 2007, she earned her Post-Baccalaureate Teacher Certification. In May 2012, she also completed a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education with a Reading Concentration from Eastern Illinois University, as well as a Reading Teacher Certificate. She currently teaches fourth grade at Riddle Elementary School in Mattoon and is in her fourth year of teaching. Mrs. Gibson’s action research project was conducted to determine to what extent regular Dolch word instruction would impact the fluency of fourth grade students who are a year below grade level in reading.