Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping for Word Knowledge and Reading Instruction - Spiral WarmUps Feature
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Guided Reading, Plus Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping

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Guided reading is a powerful and well-researched approach to boosting reading comprehension, reading skills, and reading levels. Phoneme-Grapheme mapping is a lesser-known activity but is equally powerful to help students in their reading skills. What happens when reading teachers combine these two?

When combined, these two instructional methods can create amazing reading gains! This is evident in these 2018 research studies I’m sharing with you today.

But first, if you’d like to read a quick overview of either of these instructional strategies, I recommend these resources:

Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping for Word Knowledge and Reading Instruction - Spiral WarmUps 1000 x 1500

Traditional Guided Reading

The Journal of School Psychology just released a research study (by Matthew Burns & Matthew Hall) on the topic of small-group reading interventions. The key findings were:

  • Small-group is more effective when it targets a specific skill.
  • Guided reading programs are less effective when they address multiple skills.
  • Group size doesn’t have much effect on effectiveness.
  • Duration doesn’t have much effect on effectiveness.

The details of the study are quoted below, and you can purchase the full peer-reviewed study at

Small-group reading instruction is more effective when it targets a specific skill vs. being a comprehensive program.Click To Tweet

Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping Research

Another 2018 study examined the effects of Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping, a technique used in Taps and Claps. Researchers applied 10 weeks of phoneme-grapheme mapping and compared it to the current best practices in small-group instruction.

It was shown to have a significantly bigger impact on reading skills!

Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping specifically impacted:

  • word reading
  • spelling
  • sentence comprehension.

A follow-up test was administered 5-months after the study ended, and the reading gains were still in holding true!

You can get more details on this research at Taylor & Francis Online: Scientific Studies of Reading.

2018 Research brought interesting findings on reading instruction, particularly related to phoneme-grapheme mapping!Click To Tweet

Research Applied to Spiral WarmUps

How does this apply to SpiralWarmUps?

1. Reinforcing Small Group in Warm-Ups

We recommend using small group instruction as your “first-teach” for core reading skills. Then you can use your spiral warm-up time to reinforce these specific skills.

2. Phoneme-Grapheme Mapping

This activity is an embedded part of the warm-ups in several of our free word study warm-ups units as well as the Awesome Membership!

3. Video-Based Learning Station

You can use the phoneme-grapheme mapping as a learning station for students. We recommend teaching the students in a guided reading group and then rotating them to the learning station.

In the learning station, they will play the SpiralWarmUps video related to the skill you taught in guided reading. This provides two opportunities to learn. And it allows them to process the knowledge in two different formats.

Quote from the Research

“Small-group reading interventions are commonly used in schools but the components that make them effective are still debated or unknown. The current study meta-analyzed 26 small-group reading intervention studies that resulted in 27 effect sizes. Findings suggested a moderate overall effect for small-group reading interventions (weighted g = 0.54). Interventions were more effective if they were targeted to a specific skill (g = 0.65), then as part of a comprehensive intervention program that addressed multiple skills (g = 0.35). There was a small correlation between intervention effects and group size (r = 0.21) and duration (r = 0.11). Small-group interventions led to a larger median effect size (g = 0.64) for elementary-aged students than for those in middle or high school (g = 0.20), but the two confidence intervals overlapped. Implications for research and practice are discussed.”

-Matthew Burns & Matthew Hall

Free Reading Tips
If you found this research base to be helpful, you might also like our free pdf with 8 Super Simple Reading Tips.





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