The Magic Penny Early literacy program: A pilot study of effects on phonemic awareness and basic reading skills
Casey, Carolyn Marie
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The current pilot study was an investigation into the effectiveness of the Magic Penny Early Literacy Program, a new reading curriculum that was created based on recommendations from the National Reading Panel (NRP; 2000). In an effort to test the effectiveness of this program, Magic Penny was introduced as a supplement to the existing curriculum in one kindergarten classroom ( n = 19) for approximately three months. Pre- and post-test reading performance of children in this intervention classroom was compared to the reading performance of children in a comparison kindergarten classroom ( n = 19) who did not receive any Magic Penny instruction. It was hypothesized that intervention group membership would be associated with greater improvement in reading achievement. Reading achievement was assessed using a selection of tests from the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Cognitive Abilities and the Woodcock-Johnson III Tests of Achievement that comprise the Basic Reading Skills Cluster and the Phonemic Awareness III Clinical Cluster. This study utilized a between-group comparison and longitudinal study design. Group differences between intervention and comparison classrooms on the early literacy outcome measures were examined using linear regression models. Results provided mixed support for the Magic Penny Early Literacy Program. Analyses indicated that intervention group membership was associated with greater improvement in children’s Basic Reading scores, when controlling for pre-test scores. In contrast, intervention group membership was not associated with greater improvement in children’s Phonemic Awareness scores. This study represents the first formal evaluation of the Magic Penny Early Literacy Program. However, this pilot study was limited in scope and lacked random assignment. Given its limitations, additional, larger-scale research is warranted to further examine the impact of this promising new program.