Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Document Type



Reading difficulties during childhood often continue during adulthood and result in adverse effects (e.g., unemployment, poverty). A common method to teach early literacy skills is via multisensory instructional programs, which use combinations of mnemonic devices, such as visual, auditory, tactile, and kinesthetic movements. The current literature on the effects of pairing visual mnemonics and kinesthetic movements with literacy skills, either in isolation or in combination, is sparse. The purpose of Study 1 and Study 2 was to compare the efficacy, generalization, and maintenance of and preference for letter sound interventions with and without mnemonic devices. Study 1 evaluated a traditional drill, a traditional drill paired with an embedded picture, and a traditional drill paired with kinesthetic movements flashcard methods. Study 2 evaluated a traditional drill paired with kinesthetic movements and a traditional drill paired with pictures and movements (combined mnemonics) flashcard methods. Both studies were conducted with preschool children using a single-subject design; Study 1 also used a pre- and post-test group design. In general, pairing letters with movements was the most effective method to teach letter sounds, but all intervention conditions were more effective than no intervention. Both studies demonstrated that all interventions were more effective than no intervention. The number of letters correct during the maintenance probes and generalization to more complex reading skills did not significantly differ between interventions conditions in either study. Nevertheless, there was a significant difference between intervention and control conditions on the generalization effects. Effectiveness of the intervention did not correlate with participant preference.



Committee Chair

Donaldson, Jeanne