Completed Theses of M.S. Urban Education Degree Earners

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Ben Berkness

TITLE:   Teaching Letter Sounds To Kindergarteners Using Kinesthetic Memory Cues


This study examined the use of kinesthetic memory cues to improve knowledge of letter sounds for a kindergarten class.  Kinesthetic memory cues include actions, movements and hand signals that go along with the letter name and correspond to the sound.  The experiment looked specifically at using actions that coincided with actual letter sounds.  Example: Making a scared face and yelling the /a/ sound for the letter A, or scratching your head and making a confused “uhhh” sound for the letter U.

The study examined improving students speed and ability in stating the correct letter sound when viewing a letter.  Using a multiple baseline design as a multiple single-subject study on individual student progress, a kindergarten class was assessed letter sound knowledge every week over an eight week period.  The results from the data showed that by week seven, 15 of 21 students could correctly name all 26 letter sounds.  The data did not support that speed in recognition had improved in all students, since 3 of the 7 students who took the automaticity assessment had not shown consistent improvement in speed of recognition by week 8.  It was hypothesized that students letter sound fluency would improve through the use of kinesthetic memory cues that would allow them to make a stronger connection to the letter sound as associated with the movement.  The thesis was that learning cues would make learning letter sounds more memorable, and thus more enjoyable.

For this study, defining letter sound fluency, two specific aspects of letter sounds were looked at: fluency and automaticity.  Fluency was assessed by the number of letter sounds said correctly while looking at a randomized list of 26 lowercase letters.  Automaticity was assessed by the number of letter sounds said correctly in one minute from a 100 letter list of randomized lowercase letters.


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Author: Urban Teacher Program Manager
Last modified: 1/13/2023 3:40 PM (EDT)