Date of Award


Degree Type

Certificate of Advanced Study


Connecticut Literacy Specialist


Dr. Karen C. Waters


Currently, more than 20% of kindergarten and first grade students struggle with an aspect of phonological awareness. Further, 80% of struggling readers exhibit weaknesses in phonological processing, which is the basis for grappling with unfamiliar words. Students whose reading achievement is not at grade level by third grade are at risk for not catching up to their more-capable peers. Using social constructivism as the theoretical framework in this action research study, we examined the effect of a multisensory, explicit, and systematic approach in phonological awareness for students in the primary grades. From the larger school population, this study focused on eight specific students in first grade. The structured program, fundations, was implemented throughout the eight week intervention period. Students learned skills to support their ability to decode unknown words through a sequential set of phonics elements in a multisensory approach. Instrumentation included the Gallistel-Ellis Test of Coding Skills, and STAR Early Literacy, which were used for pre and post measures in the fall and again in the winter after the eight week period. Students’ ability to decode consonant-vowel-consonant words increased from an average of 11 words to 21.5 words, and students’ mean score in phonemic awareness increased from 56% to 81% through pre and post testing. Thus, results showed that early intervention using a multisensory approach was effective in providing students strategies to decode unfamiliar words while reading grade level texts.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.



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