Jessica, an otherwise capable 3rd grader who was nevertheless a struggling reader, was the first recipient of the initial model and tools that would later become Access Code. Jessica had good receptive and expressive oral language skills and was on or above grade level in all subjects other than reading. She had excellent oral comprehension. She was identified in 1st grade as a child in need of additional reading instruction and was enrolled in Reading Recovery. Jessica's teachers reported that she would soon "get it". However, she continued to struggle in 2nd grade.
Although Jessica was highly motivated she clearly needed something different from the behaviorist approach that had been used with her and is typically used with other struggling students. The hypothesis was she needed multiple and varied experiences so she could derive and construct the rules governing the "code".
After observing and working intensively with Jessica, Drs. Brown and Zimmermann developed a program designed to provide her with these varied experiences. The program was delivered by her teacher, in a one-on-one, for 15 minutes each day for 12 weeks. Within a year, her ITBS reading scores increased dramatically (see Figure 1).
The lessons learned in working with Jessica led to the formal development of The Varied Practice Model for Phonics.
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