PHOENIX - There are many programs and methods for teaching children how to spell, write and read. But when The Spalding Method was put up against two of the most popular mainstream reading programs, the Arizona State University study showed Spalding students' achievement test scores were significantly higher.
The four-year findings strongly suggest that use of "The Writing Road to Reading" (the textbook used in The Spalding Method) is an effective method for enhancing performance on critical early literacy skills.
The study started in the 2006-2007 school year and concluded with the 2009-2010 school year. It included 11 Arizona schools where an average of 1,000 general education kindergarten through third-grade students participated in each of the four years. Five experimental schools used "The Writing Road to Reading" (also referred to as The Spalding Method) and six control schools used one of two mainstream reading programs, published by Harcourt School Publishers or Houghton Mifflin. All students were tested three times annually on Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS).
The report states, "In each administration, Spalding students had consistently higher mean values on all DIBELS areas, which provides evidence that Spalding has been more effective than the methods used in the control schools to teach those reading skills."
According to the researchers, since both the control and experimental groups used detailed teacher guides evaluated by the Arizona Department of Education for research-based reading components, theoretically, they should have produced similar results. That was not the case as Spalding students' results differed dramatically. For example, in the final test for second graders the mean oral reading fluency score for those using The Spalding Method was 109.96, compared to 87.48 for those using one of the two mainstream reading programs at a control school.