Research Supports Zoo-phonics

Research Supports Zoo-phonics

The Research that Supports the “Essences” of Zoo-phonics

By Charlene A. Wrighton, Ed. D. Daily, research from both neuroscience and education is presented to the public based on data from small and large samples on the educational needs of children. Reflective analysis from these studies support all of the premises (our Essences) of Zoo-phonics. Here are some excellent examples: On multisensory curriculum: • “The brain cuts its developmental teeth in an overwhelmingly multisensory environment…its learning abilities are increasingly optimized the more multisensory the environment becomes” (Medina, 2010). • “If you want to do something good for a child…give him an environment where he can touch things as much as he wants” (Buckminster Fuller, 2009). • “Since it is the brain that is doing the learning,” states James (2007), “teaching strategies must be based on what we know about brain function.” If the child attends, the child learns. Furthermore, if the child has fun during the learning experience, the amygdala, memory’s gatekeeper, swings wide open, feeling safe (Willis, 2010). • Students learning through their senses have more accurate recall, which lasts longer, even 20 years later. In one study, problem solving skills improved by 50%. In another study, a 75% improvement rate was seen (Medina, 2010). • Jensen (2006) says, “For younger students, learning has simply got to be hands on, experien- tial, and relevant for patterns to develop.” On mnemonics as an effective memory device: • Rohwer (1996) investigated various kinds of associative mnemonics in young children and found that the best connectives for remembering pairs of pictures or words were meaningful “actor-action-object” relations. • “The associations between letters and sounds are totally arbitrary as there is nothing inherent in the visual symbol that suggests its name or sound” (Ehri, et al, 1984). • “The superiority of the integrated picture group over the disassociated picture group indicates that only one type of picture words, namely, one that links the shape of the letter with the way it sounds.” (Ehri, et al, 1984). On the importance of mastering the alphabet and phonics: • The fact that lowercase letters are easier to read (due to the unique shapes formed by ascenders and descenders) than uppercase letters holds true not only in body copy but for headlines as well. Headlines set in all caps are more difficult to read, perhaps 15% slower. The reader is forced to read all uppercase headlines letter by letter, rather than in saccadic jumps as with

the lowercase characters, where we recognize entire words (Clair, et al, 1999). • Gaining mastery of fundamental skills for decoding simple, one-syllable words provides students with a strong foundation for accurate decoding of longer and more complex words at later stages of reading development…. In ad- dition to explicit instruction and teacher-monitored practice in these areas, students need frequent practice applying these skills to achieve mastery. Activities that reinforce instruction in these areas play a key role in pro- moting students’ ability to recognize words automatically (Wolf, 2014).

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