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Research and Evidence

Based on Research, Supported by Evidence

Research has shown that reading requires a combination of decoding skills — that is, recognising whole words OR the code inside words and using it to sound out and pronounce words — and language comprehension skills.

Writing requires the ability to record (spell) the words we want to use to share ideas in print. Spelling relies on word retrieval skills — that is being able to remember what words look like — and being able to sound out and record the sounds in words not known by sight. Correct spelling requires knowledge of the spelling system that underpins written English.

The Problem

  • A lack of knowledge of the alphabetic code has a negative impact on decoding (and therefore reading) and spelling (and therefore writing).
  • Poor decoding and spelling skills are a cross-curricular problem, since reading and writing are the tools for accessing and expressing knowledge across the curriculum.
  • Students with gaps in this foundation area of knowledge need explicit instruction to close the gaps.

The Approach

  • Code-Ed resources were developed by educator and researcher Joy Allcock, M.Ed., as a response to these problems.
  • They use oral language skills as a platform for teaching written language skills and knowledge.
  • They teach students (and teachers) to understand how written English works—to understand the role of phonemes, graphemes, morphemes and spelling rules and conventions—in focused, 10-minutes-a-day lessons.

The Research

The unique approach developed by Joy Allcock was evaluated in a two-year research project—the Shine Literacy Project (2014-2016).

  • The research project included 32 schools and was designed and evaluated by Professor James Chapman from Massey University, New Zealand.
  • The research compared results from Trial groups, which used the Code-Ed approach (then called Sounds Like Fun), and Comparison groups with no intervention.
  • The project was funded by donations from community organisations and philanthropic trusts.

Key Findings

  • It is possible to accelerate students’ progress even if they come to school without a solid foundation of early literacy knowledge.
  • Regardless of other instructional programs being used, 10 minutes a day of targeted instruction can pull together the key skills and knowledge that are critical for literacy success.
  • Success was not linked to students’ ethnicity or socioeconomic status. The change in instruction used by Trial teachers levelled the playing field for all students.