Pile Of Books

CASE STUDIES

The following depicts students who have participated in our pilot studies, including details such as description of progress, pre and post test data, and graphs of growth in the target word reading. (Note: We have used pseudonyms. Names are listed on the table by age with the first name beginning with A, the second name beginning with B, etc.)

The graphs represent the number of selected target words read correctly in each level before and after we began instruction in that level. The data points to the left of each vertical dotted line represent the tested words read correctly prior to beginning instruction on each level. The dotted horizontal line represents when instruction began. The data points to the right of the line represent the tested words read correctly after instruction in that level began.

ANN: 6 years old, Smith-Lemli Opitz Syndrome

BRENT: 7 years old, Autism Spectrum Disorder

CLAIRE: 9 years old, Intellectual Disability/Speech Impairment

DAN: 9 years old, Autism Spectrum Disorder

ELLIE:9 years old, Down Syndrome

FRANK: 9 years old, Autism Spectrum Disorder/Intellectual

          Disability/Speech Impairment

GREG: 10 years old, Smith-Lemli Opitz Syndrome/Brain Tumor

HENRY: 10 years old, Intellectual Disability/Speech Impairment

ISABELLE: 10 years old, Down Syndrome

JOHN: 10 years old, Down Syndrome

KEVIN: 10 years old, Speech Impairment

LARRY: 11 years old, Intellectual Disability/Speech Impairment

MATT: 11 years old, Down Syndrome

NEAL: 11 years old, Speech Impairment

OSCAR: 11 years old, Intellectual Disability/Speech Impairment

PAM: 12 years old, Intellectual Disability/Speech Impairment

QUINN: 12 years old, Intellectual Disability/Speech Impairment

ROBERT: 13 years old, Down Syndrome

ANN, 6 years old

 

Ann began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when she was 6 years old and in an ungraded classroom in a private school for students with disabilities.

 

Ann had a diagnosis of Smith-Lemli Opitz Syndrome and an IQ of 59. Prior to Friends on the Block (FOTB), she did not have many literacy skills as she was unable to identify any sight words or letter sounds and her phonological awareness skills were minimal (e.g., she was unable to identify the initial sounds in spoken words). Since she was unable to identify any sight words on the initial placement test, she began FOTB at Level 1.

 

During her 27 weeks (approximately 32 hours) in the program, she mastered words in Levels 1 to 4. In addition to mastering these sight words, she also demonstrated progress on the post-test measures of letter sounds, phonemic awareness, and sight words. Her graphs show that she clear progress on the sight words after intervention at each level.

 

She became very engaged with the books and would often make connections from the characters in the text to herself, such as commenting on the color of her clothes (e.g., I don’t have green shoes.) or about similar likes/dislikes. 

Graphs of Ann's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 4

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

BRENT, 7 years old

 

Brent began instruction in FOTB when he was 7 years old and receiving academic instruction in a special education classroom in a public school. He had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and a speech impairment and also had an IQ of 55.

 

Prior to FOTB, he was unable to identify high frequency words or letter sounds and his phonemic awareness skills were minimal. Since he correctly read only two of the words on the placement test (a and I), he began instruction in Level 1.

 

During his 21 weeks (approximately 21 total hours) in the program, he mastered the words in Levels 1-3. In addition, he also demonstrated progress on the post-test measures of letter sounds, phonemic awareness, and sight words. His graphs show clear progress on the target sight words after intervention at each level.

 

Brent displayed aggressive externalizing behaviors which impacted the amount of time he was able to receive instruction; however, he still made important progress. Additionally, once the systematic, routine nature of the instruction became familiar to him, his teacher reported that he was able to maintain concentration for longer periods of time. He also enjoyed reading the books on the iPad and would frequently ask to listen to the eBooks during his free time.  

Graphs of brent's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 3

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

claire, 9 years old

 

Claire began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when she was 9 years old. She had a diagnosis of intellectual disability and speech impairment and an IQ of 41.

 

She received the majority of her reading instruction in a special education classroom in a public school. Prior to FOTB, she had very limited literacy skills. She was unable to correctly identify many letter sounds. In the area of phonemic awareness, she was unable to identify initial sounds in spoken words (initial sound isolation) or to blend individual phonemes into words (blending). She also had difficulty segmenting words into phonemes (segmenting). She correctly read most of the sight words in Levels 1 and 2 of FOTB, so she began instruction at Level 3.

 

After participating in FOTB instruction for 21 weeks, she mastered sight words in Levels 3, 4, and 5. Her graphs show inconsistent performance on tested words prior to the intervention and clear improvement once each level of instruction began. She also improved in her ability to identify letter sounds and in the area of phonemic awareness. Claire enjoyed reading the books with her teacher and playing the games.

Graphs of claire's Progress: FOTB Levels 3 to 5

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

dan, 9 years old

 

Dan began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 9 years old and in an ungraded classroom in a private school for students with disabilities. Dan had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder with an IQ of 42.

 

He displayed several behaviors often associated with ASD, including frequent echolalia (i.e., repetition of spoken language). Prior to beginning FOTB, he had low literacy skills. He was able to identify some letter sounds, but his phonemic awareness was very limited. He had a relative strength in sight word recognition. He correctly read most of the sight words in Levels 1-3 on the placement test, so he began instruction in Level 4. 

 

After participating in FOTB for 27 weeks (26 hours), he mastered the words taught in Levels 4-7, which included additional sight words and words with short vowels a, i, o, and u. His graphs show that his recognition of tested target words improved after beginning each level of the program, though differences are not striking because he knew some words in each level of the program before it began (i.e., during baseline). He also demonstrated some progress on post-test measures, improving his letter sound fluency, phonemic awareness initial sounds, and word identification, but he still struggled with phonemic awareness segmentation. During his time in the FOTB pilot study, he eagerly awaited each new book, and expressed enthusiasm for reading.

Graphs of dan's Progress: FOTB Levels 4 to 7

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

ellie, 9 years old

 

Ellie began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when she was 9 years old. She was student with Down syndrome, a speech impairment, and an IQ of 42.

 

She received her primary reading instruction in the special education resource room. Prior to FOTB, her literacy skills were very limited. According to the initial pretesting assessments, she did not have any knowledge of letter sounds and also struggled with aspects of phonemic awareness, such as identifying initial sounds in spoken words (initial sound isolation), blending individual phonemes into words (blending), and segmenting words into phonemes (segmenting). Because she did not correctly read the words in Level 1 on the placement test, she began instruction in Level 1. After participating in FOTB for 27 weeks, for a total of 30 hours, she mastered the words taught in Levels 1-2 and some of the words in Level 3. 

 

As can be seen in the graphs, she knew very few target words prior to beginning instruction in each level and she made clear progress on words once instruction in each level began, particularly Levels 1 and 2.  She also improved in her ability to identify letter sounds, sight words, and in the area of phonemic awareness. Ellie enjoyed reading the books included in the FOTB curriculum and her teacher noted that her engagement and attention span during reading improved the longer she participated in the program.

Graphs of ellie's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 3

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

frank, 9 years old

 

Frank began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 9 years old. He had a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, speech impairment, and intellectual disability with an IQ of 70. 

 

He received his primary reading instruction in the special education resource room. Prior to FOTB, he had very limited literacy skills; during pretesting he was unable to correctly identify any letter sounds or high frequency words and also struggled to blend individual phonemes into words (blending) and to segment words into phonemes (segmenting). He did not correctly read any of the words on the placement test, so he began in Level 1. 

 

After participating in the FOTB instruction for 21 weeks he mastered the words in Levels 1-3. His graphs show clear progress on target words after beginning each level of the intervention. He also improved in his phonemic awareness skills (both blending and segmenting), and letter sound identification abilities. Frank enjoyed reading the FOTB books. His teacher created additional books based on some of his favorite comic book characters following the FOTB model and using the same words that were taught in Level 3. 

Graphs of frank's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 3

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

greg, 10 years old

 

Greg began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 10 years old. He was a student with Smith-Lemli Opitz Syndrome, a brain tumor, and an IQ of 40.

 

Prior to FOTB, he had minimal literacy skills. During pretesting, he was unable to identify any letter sounds or sight words. He also lacked other phonemic awareness skills, such as initial sound isolation, blending, and segmenting. He was unable to identify any words on the placement test, so he began instruction in FOTB in Level 1.

 

After participating in FOTB for 27 weeks, for a total of 31 hours, he mastered the words taught in Levels 1-3. His graphs show clear improvement on target words after receiving instruction at each level. He also improved on measures of phonemic awareness, though he continued to struggle on the letter sound assessment. He loved the books and particularly enjoyed the ones with Jazz, a family dog who was a character in many books.

Graphs of Greg's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 3

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

henry, 10 years old

 

Henry began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 10 years old. He had a diagnosis of intellectual disability and speech impairment and an IQ of 43.

 

He received all of his reading instruction in a special education classroom in a public school. Prior to beginning FOTB, he had the reading skills equivalent of a student in kindergarten. He was familiar with most of his letter sounds and was able to identify initial sounds, however he struggled to segment and blend entire words. He read 6 words correctly on the placement test and the only words from Level 1 that he read correctly were a and I, so he began FOTB in Level 1. 

 

Over his two years of receiving instruction in FOTB, 12 weeks in the spring of one year and 21 weeks in the following academic school year, he mastered the words in Levels 1-7. His graphs indicate that he consistently responded positively to the curriculum as clear differences in recognition of target words are seen before and after each level of instruction. His posttest scores also showed improvement in phonemic awareness and word reading. Henry expressed his enjoyment for the program, verbally expressing his desire to move through the curriculum and have more books delivered to his classroom as he mastered levels. He enjoyed reading the books on the iPad as well as playing the instructional games. 

Graphs of henry's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 3

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Isabelle, 10 years old

 

Isabelle began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when she was 10 years old. She was a student with Down syndrome and an IQ of 47.

 

Prior to beginning FOTB, she was able to identify most letter sounds and segment onset sounds. She struggled with other aspects of phonemic awareness, such as blending individual phonemes into words (blending) and segmenting words into phonemes (segmenting). On the placement test she read most of the words in Levels 1-5 correctly, so she began instruction in FOTB in Level 6. 

 

After participating in FOTB for 27 weeks, for a total of 57 hours, she mastered the words taught in levels 6 and 7 of the curriculum, which included sight words and word with short vowels. She was familiar with some of the tested words prior to beginning instruction, however growth was seen after each level of the intervention began. At post-test, she also improved in her ability to identify letter sounds, as well as blend and segment phonemes. Isabelle was engaged, cooperative, and enthusiastic during instruction.

Graphs of Isabelle's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 3

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

John, 10 years old

 

John began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 10 years old. ​He had a diagnosis of Down syndrome and an IQ of 56.

 

He attended a private school for students with disabilities. Prior to FOTB, he did not have many literacy skills. He was not able to identify any letter sounds or sight words. He also struggled with phonemic awareness. He did not correctly read the words for Level 1 on the placement test, so he began instruction in Level 1. 

 

After participating in FOTB instruction for 27 weeks, for a total of 50 hours, he mastered the words in Levels 1-3. His graphs show clear improvement once each level of instruction began. He showed slight improvement on measures of phonemic awareness. Initially, John exhibited avoidance and disruptive behaviors during reading instruction. His engagement slowly improved, particularly when he was paired with another student for instruction, and he is now enthusiastic and excited about reading stories. For example, when the Helper Text is read to him, he is absorbed in perusing the pictures; and, when it is his turn to read, he immediately participates.

Graphs of John's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 4

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

KEVIN, 10 years old

 

Kevin began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 10 years old and in the 3rd grade. He had a diagnosis of speech impaired and received reading instruction in a special education resource classroom for reading. He had also received instruction from the school dyslexia specialist. His overall IQ score was 88, with a verbal score of 61 and a percent reasoning score of 119.

 

Prior to instruction in FOTB, he had developed some literacy skills but was well below grade level. He identified most letter sounds and demonstrated good phonemic awareness, but struggled with word recognition and fluency. He correctly read words from Levels 1-6 on the placement test, so he began instruction in Level 7. 

 

After participating in the FOTB intervention for one and a half years (12 weeks in the spring of one year and then 21 weeks the following school year; 32 hours total), he mastered the words in Levels 7-11. These words included short vowels and other vowel combinations. Though he knew some of the tested words prior to beginning instruction in each level (particularly many of the decodable words), the graphs show clear progress once the intervention began at each level. He improved slightly on other posttest measures, though his fluency remained low on the DIBELS 1st Grade Oral Reading Fluency measure. He demonstrated improved confidence in his reading ability as reported by his general education teachers, who said he was much more willing to participate in group reading activities in the general education class.

Graphs of kEVIN's Progress: FOTB Levels 7 to 11

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Larry, 11 years old

 

Larry began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 11 years old. He had a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (ID) and Speech Impairment (SI) and an IQ of 52.

 

He received his primary reading instruction in the special education resource room. Prior to FOTB, his literacy skills were similar to those of a student early in kindergarten. He knew about half of his letter sounds and could identify initial sounds in spoken words about half of the time. He struggled to blend and segment words, as well as to identify high frequency words. During the placement assessment the only two words he was able to read were a and I, placing him in Level 1.

 

After participating in FOTB instruction for 21 weeks (33 hours), he mastered words in Levels 1-6. As seen in the graphs, Larry read some of the target words correctly prior to beginning each level, however there is clear improvement in reading ability after the intervention begins for each level. In addition to learning more sight words, he also was able to read words that included short vowel a and u. On post-test measures he demonstrated mastery of letter sounds, improved phonological awareness skills (initial sound identification, blending, and segmenting), and improved recognition of high frequency words. He displayed a significant amount of growth during his participation in the intervention and was eager to read the chapter books at home as well as to play the learning games with classmates who did not participate in the curriculum.

Graphs of Larry's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 6

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Matt, 11 years old

 

Matt began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 11 years old.  He had a diagnosis of Down syndrome and an IQ of 63.

 

Prior to FOTB, he had minimal literacy skills. He identified most letter sounds and segment onset sounds; however, he struggled to identify high frequency sight words. He correctly identified most of the words in Levels 1-4, so he began instruction in FOTB in Level 5. 

 

After participating in FOTB instruction for 27 weeks, he mastered words in Levels 5-8. These words included both sight words and decodable words made up of short vowels. His graphs show clear growth once each level of instruction began, though his performance was somewhat inconsistent. At post-test, he grew on several measures, particularly letter sound fluency and phoneme segmentation. Matt was eager and excited to work during FOTB instruction.

Graphs of Matt's Progress: FOTB Levels 5 to 8

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Neal, 11 years old

 

Neal began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 11 years old. He had a diagnosis of Speech Impairment (SI) and an IQ of 65.

 

He received some reading instruction in the special education classroom, as well as in the general education classroom, and also spent time working with the dyslexia specialist at school. His reading skills were far below his peers. He was able to identify most letter sounds as well as beginning sounds, however he struggled to blend, segment, and identify high frequency words. He did not correctly identify the words in Level 1, so he began instruction in Level 1. 

 

After participating in FOTB instruction for 33 weeks across one and a half academic years, he mastered words in Levels 1-6, which included sight words and decodable words made up of short vowels a and u. Though he correctly read some target words prior to instruction at each level, his graphs show clear improvement after each level of instruction began. This can be seen most clearly in Levels 2, 3, and 5. Neal also grew somewhat on post-test measures, improving in his sight word identification and phonemic awareness. Prior to FOTB instruction, he avoided participation in any reading instruction or activity in his general education classroom. After becoming familiar with FOTB and experiencing success with the books, he would frequently bring the books from FOTB to his general education classroom and participate in reading activities and free reading time.

Graphs of Neal's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 6

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

oscar, 11 years old

 

Oscar began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 11 years old. He had a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (ID) and Speech Impairment (SI) and an IQ of 70.

 

He received his primary reading instruction in the special education resource room. Prior to FOTB, he had very limited literacy skills. He was able to identify some letter sounds, however struggled with phonemic awareness skills such as identifying the initial sounds in spoken words (initial sound isolation), blending individual phonemes into words (blending), and segmenting words into phonemes (segmenting). He began instruction in Level 1.

 

After participating in FOTB for 21 weeks (53 hours), he mastered Levels 1-4.  His graphs show clear improvement once each level of instruction began, particularly in Levels 1, 2, and 4.  Post-test measures demonstrated improvements in letter sound recognition, word identification, and phonemic awareness.

Graphs of oscar's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 4

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

pam, 12 years old

 

Pam began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when she was 11 years old. She had a diagnosis of Intellectual Disability (ID) and Speech Impairment (SI) and an IQ of 63.

 

She received her primary reading instruction in the special education classroom. Before FOTB, her skills were similar to those of a student in early first grade. She had some skill in phonemic awareness, though this was not well-developed, and she knew many letter-sounds and quite a few words. She already knew most of the words in Levels 1-6, so she began instruction in FOTB in Level 7. 

 

After participating in FOTB instruction for 21 weeks, she mastered the words from Levels 7-9, which included short vowel words and some long vowel words. Because she already knew some of the tested words prior to beginning each level, her graphs do not show dramatic differences before and after each level. She did learn most or all of the words at each level and her graphs show somewhat higher performance on the tested words after she received instruction. On post-test measures, she demonstrated growth on several measures, particularly DIBELS Phoneme Segmentation Fluency. Her oral reading fluency grew from 22 to 32 words per minute on DIBELS First Grade Oral Reading Fluency. Although we do not have a formal measure of comprehension, her teacher reported she enjoyed the books and her interest in reading increased.  Pam has not yet not mastered all first-grade skills, but she made measurable progress in reading as she received instruction in FOTB.

Graphs of pam's Progress: FOTB Levels 7 to 9

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

quinn, 12 years old

 

Quinn began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 11 years old. He had a diagnosis of Speech Impairment (SI) and Intellectual Disability (ID) and an IQ of 65.

 

He received his primary reading instruction in the special education resource room. Prior to FOTB, his literacy skills were similar to that of a student late in kindergarten or early in first grade. He knew most letter-sounds; in the area of phonemic awareness, he was able to identify initial sounds in spoken words (initial sound isolation) and blend individual phonemes into words (blending), but had difficulty segmenting words into phonemes (segmenting). He knew some sight words, but his fluency was very low. He already knew most of the words in Levels 1-7, so he began FOTB at Level 8. 

 

During his 33 weeks in the program, he mastered words in Levels 8-14, which included words with short vowels, long vowels, other vowel pairs, as well as some multisyllabic words. Even though Quinn knew some of the tested words prior to instruction at each level, the graphs show clear progress after intervention. At post-test, he was able to segment words into phonemes consistently and was reading approximately 40 words correct per minute on an ending first grade oral reading fluency measure. Not only did he enjoy reading the chapter books, the skills he learned while reading helped build his confidence and he was willing to read in front of his peers. His teacher shared that he often requested to bring previously mastered books home to read on his own, outside of the classroom setting. This statement was reiterated up by his parents, who also noticed a growing eagerness to read.

Graphs of quinn's Progress: FOTB Levels 8 to 14

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Decodable Words (before and after intervention at each level)

Robert, 13 years old

 

Robert began instruction with Friends on the Block (FOTB) when he was 13 years old. He was a student with Down syndrome and an IQ of 40.

 

Prior to beginning FOTB, he had minimal literacy and spoken language skills. He was able to identify only a few letters and sounds and barely spoke. He was unable to read the words in Level 1, so he began FOTB in Level 1. 

 

After participating in FOTB for 27 weeks (55 hours), he mastered the words in Levels 1-2 and learned some words in Level 3. Though his growth was slow, progress is seen on his graphs. The research team and his teacher also observed an increase in oral language. On post-test measures he demonstrated slight improvement in letter-sound knowledge and phonemic awareness. He initially experienced difficulty remaining engaged during small group instruction; however, his engagement during small group instruction and also his motivation to read improved during the intervention.

Graphs of robert's Progress: FOTB Levels 1 to 4

Sight Words (before and after intervention at each level)

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