Date of Award

Fall 11-2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. John D. Long

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherrie Wisdom

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Michaels


The purpose of this study was to examine the existing research on early literacy and the types of approaches used in schools at the time of this writing. Although researchers could not agree on which types of reading programs are the most effective, there was a large amount of research supporting the work done in 2000 from the National Reading Panel, emphasizing the importance of the five components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. The study site historically used a traditional Balanced Literacy program, and reported proficiency scores in the 30th percentile overall. This research study investigated phonemic awareness and phonics as important components of a total literacy program, focusing on one supplementary program, Systematic Instruction in Phonological Awareness, Phonics, and Sight Words (SIPPS). SIPPS, combined with a traditional Balanced Literacy program, was implemented over a period of five years in a suburban, Midwest elementary school. Results indicated that overall reading achievement improved over the five year implementation, with the most significant growth occurring in the first grade. Growth was slow and not significant from year-to-year, but did improve in all subgroups, including Black students and the free-and-reduced-lunch subgroup. Given the importance of early literacy acquisition, future studies should investigate other supplementary programs available to identify the most effective programs for student achievement.


Copyright 2015