Road to the Code: A Phonological Awareness Program for Young Children
by: Benita A. Blachman, Ph.D, Eileen Wynne Ball, Ph.D, Rochella Black, M.S., & Darlene M. Tangel, Ph.D.

Team Members: Amanda Bent, Amanda Camerota and Carissa Carey
Manufacturer/Producer: Brookes Publishing
Product Websiteexternal image Road%20to%20the%20Code%20%5B%5D_1.jpg
Copyright: 2000
Cost: $54.95 for manual through Brookes Publishing

General Information:

  • very focused on phonemic awareness
  • geared towards Kindergarten and first grade
  • designed to teach phonemic awareness in order to prevent future failure, as opposed to intervention after the student has already failed.
  • 44 activities and each lesson is 15-20 minutes long;they are developmentally sequenced and multi-sensory.
  • Each lesson has three parts- Say it and Move it, Letter-Name and Sound Instruction, and Phonological awareness
  • Program meets four times a week for an 11 week period
  • works best in groups of 4-5 students with one teacher
  • Materials needed: one manual with 44 lessons included, teacher notes for each lesson, and material section that includes picture cards, letter cards and games.
  • The program is backed by more than ten years of study in kindergarten and first grade classrooms.
  • It is taught in isolation, specifically teaching phonemic awareness and letter sound correspondence.
  • The program provides detailed scripted instructions so that teachers can work individually with a student or with a small group of students.

Activities
  • Say it and Move it- teaches students to break up words into phonemes. The teacher says the word, the students repeat the word by moving the small disk for each sound of the word. The students then blend the word together and say it at normal speed.

  • Letter Names and Sounds- This game-like activity focuses on sounds segments in words and the letters that symbolize the sound segment.
  • Phonological Awareness- provides students with more practice in segmenting words, but it focuses on beginning sounds and rhyming parts. An example of an activity is having the students use a puppet to "stretch" out the word.
  • An example lesson can be seen here: Example Lesson

Student part
  • The program provides students with the opportunity to practice what they just learned and master the skill
  • The teacher gives students immediate feedback in order to allow mastery
  • Designed to increase their reading and spelling abilities in the classroom
  • Helps students begin to associate letters to sounds, with the teacher's help with the hope that they will be able to perform the task on their own at a later time.
  • Teaches the students strategies through direct instruction which provides them with examples to follow and then the chance to do it themselves
  • This program is very hands on in most activities. For example, the activities in Say it and Move it, as well as activities in Phonological Awareness.

Teacher Part
  • The teacher works in a small group and is able to provide immediate feedback in order to assess mastery
  • It is important for the teacher to confirm that the student has truly mastered the skill before moving onto the next lesson.
  • The teacher's manual suggests pacing, as well as providing ideas for adaptations depending on the students' needs.
  • No professional development is required, all information needed is provided in the manual and is very straightforward and easy to understand.
  • This program could easily be used in an inclusive classroom by breaking the students up into small groups
  • The manual provides Teacher Notes with ideas to adjust and adapt instruction to cater to the needs of the different students.
  • After speaking with Mrs. Creighton of Eden Park Elementary in Cranston, RI, she stated that, "The children responded well to the Say It and Move It. It is breaking down sounds into smaller slower pieces they can hear and understand with a physical movement. The children respond well to multi sensory activities."

Strengths
  • This program focuses on teaching to mastery, and having the teacher confirm mastery before moving on
  • It includes very structured sequenced events to provide students with high levels of success
  • The manual is very user-friendly and it provides assistance for adaptations
  • The research backing this program supports its focus

Weaknesses
  • All materials are provided, but some need to be put together or photo-copied
  • No supplementary activities were provided- things that students could do at home
  • No mastery criteria was specified, it is based on the judgement of the teacher.

Final Reflection

  • We like that this program is multi-sensory because it provides the well-rounded approach to learning including the kinesthetic aspect.
  • We also liked that the program was designed to provide a strong foundation rather than intervene after the student has already failed.
  • We didn't like the fact that there is no universal criteria for mastery because it makes the idea of mastery subjective to the teacher, which may make it not as effective.
  • We think that the program would be much more effective if it translates to a later reading program which might make it used more in classrooms.

Work Cited

"Excerpt | Road to the Code: A Phonological Awareness Program for Young Children (Blachman, Ball, Black, & Tangel)." Brookes Publishing | Books, resources, and tools to help enhance the success of all learners. Web. 10 Nov. 2009.
<http://www.brookespublishing.com/store/books/blachman4382 /excerpt.htm>.

"Mrs. Creighton." E-mail interview. 9 Nov. 2009.

"Road to the Code: A Phonological Awareness Program for Young Children (Blachman, Ball, Black, & Tangel)." Brookes Publishing | Books, resources, and tools to help enhance the success of all learners. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <http://www.brookespublishing.com/store/books/blachman-4382/index.htm>.

"Road to the Code." Florida Center for Reading Research. Web. 10 Nov. 2009. <www.hickman.k12.ca.us/grue/Road_Code,%20K-1%20book.pdf>.