Colleague in the Classroom

Period of Performance: 09/06/2003 - 05/31/2005


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Sopris West Educational Services
Sopris West Educational Services, 4093 Specialty Pl
Longmont, CO 80504
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The overall goal of this project is to develop high quality, low cost, research-based demonstrations of effective strategies for teaching beginning reading instruction using linguistically informed, structured, explicit, sequential, systematic, engaging, and multi-sensory techniques. The project will produce 100 episodes of instruction on videodisks (DVD) that feature an expert teacher who models beginning reading instruction as if she were teaching a group of students in a classroom. In Phase I of the proposed project, we will re-tape our existing 25 lessons to align the content with an improved scope and sequence and to demonstrate more fully the relationship between speech sound awareness, letter-sound association, word reading, spelling, vocabulary and writing. We will then field test the impact of this teacher mentoring/student instruction tool on teaching practices and student outcomes in several first grade classrooms over a three month period. The lessons will be produced as DVD-based presentations designed to illustrate the specific skills that teachers will learn best through modeling and demonstration. We show the teachers how, during instruction, they must differentiate between phonemes and graphemes, call attention to the features of speech sounds, use "hands-on" sound blending techniques, teach orthographic patterns, guide students into a decoding habit, use memory strategies for irregular words, follow reading with writing, and explore word meanings even while decoding skill is being established. This approach complements any comprehensive, core reading instruction program that meets the stipulations of Reading First. The program guide will also emphasize the importance of data-based decision making about students' instructional needs. Colleague will provide explicit skill-building for teachers that is atypical of publisher-funded, program-specific professional development..