For helping kindergartners and first graders who are having difficulty on their early literacy skills, Road to the Code is a successful, 11-week program for teaching phonemic awareness and letter sound correspondence. Developmentally sequenced, each of the 44 15- to 20-minute lessons features three activities -- Say-It-and-Move-It, Letter Name and Sound Instruction, and Phonological Awareness Practice -- that give students repeated opportunities to practice and enhance their beginning reading and spelling abilities. Road to the Code is backed by more than 10 years of study in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms.
Detailed scripted instructions and reproducible materials -- such as Alphabet Picture and Sound Bingo cards -- make this program easy for teachers to use. Teachers have the flexibility to work with students individually or in small groups and may adjust the amount of time it takes for a student to complete the program. With these proven phonological awareness activities, educators can confidently intervene before children have a chance to fail.
Benita A. Blachman, Ph.D., is a professor in the Reading and Language Arts Department and Coordinator of the Graduate Program in Learning Disabilities in the School of Education at Syracuse University. She also holds a courtesy appointment in the Communication Sciences and Disorders Department. She has a doctoral degree in educational psychology from the University of Connecticut and is a former special education teacher, reading specialist, and learning disabilities consultant. She has published extensively in the area of early literacy, focusing her research on early intervention to prevent reading failure and on the factors that predict reading achievement. Dr. Blachman is currently directing a project at Syracuse University (in collaboration with researchers at Yale Medical School and the University of Texas-Houston Health Science Center) funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to investigate the influence of intensive reading intervention on patterns of brain activation in young children. Dr. Blachman has served on the professional advisory boards of the National Center for Learning Disabilities, the National Dyslexia Research Foundation, and the Neuhaus Center. Her edited book Foundations of Reading Acquisition and Dyslexia: Implications for Early Intervention was published recently by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Eileen Wynne Ball, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where she was the recipient of two major teaching awards. She has a doctoral degree in education from Syracuse University, where she also earned a master's degree in urban education. Before joining the faculty of the University of Illinois at Chicago, Dr. Ball received a second master's degree from Northeastern Illinois University and taught at Barat College in Lake Forest, Illinois; she also taught at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, New York, where she created and coordinated Le Moyne's program for special education teachers. Prior to her university work, Dr. Ball was an urban classroom teacher for 12 years. In Chicago, she directed and taught in The Parents School, an early model in alternative urban education, and she continues to do educational consulting nationally. Her research in phonological awareness has won her grants and fellowships from the National Dyslexia Research Association, the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, and the Spencer Foundation. Dr. Ball is returning to UIC after completing another 2 years as a full-time third-grade classroom teacher during which she deepened her belief that classroom practices and classroom teachers must inform educational research. Rochella Black, M.S., has been a kindergarten teacher, first-grade teacher, and special education resource teacher for 24 years, teaching in both the inner-city schools of Syracuse, New York, and the suburban schools in Northport-East Northport, New York. Over the years, she has also served as a private tutor for students of all ages who were experiencing difficulty learning to read. In addition, Ms. Black was the project coordinator of the large-scale kindergarten and first-grade reading research project directed by Dr. Blachman during which the Road to the Code manual was developed and evaluated. She has presented numerous seminars and in-service courses for teachers on the effectiveness of specific activities for developing phonological awareness in children at the beginning stages of reading. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan in social studies and two master's degrees from Syracuse University in elementary education and special education with a specialization in learning disabilities. Her publications have appeared in Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Darlene M. Tangel, Ph.D., is Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Reading and Language Arts Department at Syracuse University. She has taught graduate courses in learning disabilities and in language disorders at Syracuse University and has been a reading specialist in the Oriskany Public Schools for more than 20 years, where she also serves as the Chair of Special Education and the Chair of Preschool Special Education. Her research interests include early reading acquisition and invented spelling, alternative reading curricula for children at risk for reading failure, and adult literacy. She has developed training materials for the American Federation of Teachers and has extensive experience conducting teacher training workshops. The focus of these workshops is translating research into practical application for classroom use. Her most recent publications have appeared in the Journal of Reading Behavior and Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Drs. Tangel and Blachman were awarded the Dina Feitelson Research Award by the International Reading Association for their research on invented spelling.