Hi, my name is Kathy Hoyt and I have been a kindergarten teacher for the Southeast Polk School District in Runnells, Iowa for the last 22 years. Last year I began working on earning my Master’s Degree and decided to focus my action research paper on sight word development for my struggling readers. I had never heard about Heidisongs until a fellow kindergarten teacher in my class told me that her students benefitted from singing the sight word songs daily. I decided that I would put the songs to the test and see if they really would help my students become more confident readers!
Here is a quick summary of my research:
The purpose of this study was to determine the effect that music and movement had on at-risk beginning readers in kindergarten. Music and movement was incorporated into the classroom by the use of HeidiSongs Sing and Spell the Sight Words DVDs.
Sing and Spell the Sight Words DVD’s from HeidiSongs have a unique melody and catchy lyrics for each of 160 different high frequency words. All of them have movements to help kids remember them! Find out more here.
Research was conducted on kindergarten students from two comparable classes. Five struggling readers were identified from both kindergarten classes by using the results from the sight word pretest that was given during the first week of October. The experimental group spent just ten minutes each school day singing the HeidiSongs Sing and Spell the Sight Word songs and doing the movements. The control group was not exposed to the sight word songs throughout the study.
Here is what the two groups did:
-The control group used the Journeys 2013 Common Core Language Arts program. They also focused on two sight words per day, and learned a sight word poem. If you would like to know more about what the class did with the sight word poem, scroll down to the bottom of the post for more information.
-The experimental group did the exact same thing as the control group, but got an additional five to ten minutes per day of instruction by singing and dancing to HeidiSongs Sing and Spell the Sight Words DVDs.
-The experimental group learned five new spelling songs per week for eight weeks. Then they reviewed all of the sight word songs during that time for the last two weeks.
Here are two videos of the children in my (Mrs. Hoyt’s) class singing and dancing their sight words with HeidiSongs! The first video is the Go Song from Sing and Spell Vol. 1.
The second video is the Out Song, from Sing and Spell Vol. 4.
Sight word flashcards were used to assess both groups weekly. A parent survey was also utilized every two weeks asking about parent involvement at home and student interest in reading. When the data were analyzed, it showed that the use of music and movement did increase at-risk students’ sight word recognition by approximately 20% over the control group!
Now for the interesting part…the results!
Figure 1. Average weekly score for sight word recognition of two comparable at-risk kindergarten groups. As you can see by the graph, the experimental group outperformed the control group by about 20% on sight word recognition.
As you can clearly see my HeidiSongs group’s sight word recognition (represented by the blue line) progressed at a much faster pace. What a difference singing HeidiSongs made for my students!
Not only did 100% my students reach the 40 word district benchmark…they did it by March! This was the first year that ALL of my students have ever met the sight word goal. (Note that the graph above only shows the results for the ten week research study period.) I also want to note that Heidisongs didn’t just make an impact of my students reading….I also noticed my students writing sight words correctly in their daily writing as well!!
If you are interested in checking out more of my data, click on the link below to read through my complete research, Music and Movement: Effect on Kindergarten Sight Word Recognition for Struggling Readers Kathy Hoyt, 2014.” You can also read more research that supports HeidiSongs specifically by clicking here to visit the Research page on Heidi’s website. Then scroll down to the section that says “Research Specific to HeidiSongs, where you will find several other studies done and their results.
A HUGE thank you to Heidi Butkus for asking me to be a guest blogger and most of all for sharing her creativity with us all!
Other Research that Supports HeidiSongs
Here are some more research studies done specifically on the effectiveness on HeidiSongs products. None of these were sponsored by HeidiSongs in any way.
Kindergarten Sight Word Acquisition Abstract
Angelle N. Baladad, July 2007
The Impact of Music and Movement on Kindergarten Sight Word Achievement
Laura K. Brown 2013
Using Multisensory Methods in Reading and Literacy Instruction
Sara Ureno 2012
Here is a little more information on what the class did with the Sight Word Poems that were mentioned above, in addition to the Journeys Language Arts program:
The sight word poems that we use are from the book-Sight Word Poetry Pages: 100 Fill-in-the-Blank Practice Pages That Help Kids Really Learn the Top High-Frequency Words by Rozanne Williams. You can buy it used or new online. We pick a poem that has one or both of the words of the week. We write it out on big chart paper and have it hanging on the easel so kids can practice it at Center Time. We read it as a class M-Th (3 times) and then on Friday the kids read it by themselves or with a buddy out loud to the class. Then we give them their own paper copy to fill in the missing sight word, color, & read it silently 5 times. Finally we put it in their poetry folder (in sheet protectors) and we read through all the past poems as time allows. At the end of the year the kids take their poetry folder home and they have poems to practice over summer break.
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