"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.
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.
"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.