Foundations & Frameworks is a uniquely designed, research-based, instructional reading program.
Recognizing the need for equipping all students to fully understand ideas conveyed in text, instructional designers studied the latest findings in reading, critical thinking, and neuroscience research. The study of latest findings in reading research revealed the need to address five quintessential elements: phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, and reading comprehension. Remarkably, in 2000, the National Reading Panel produced an extensive report based upon its exhaustive research that identified the same five crucial areas of reading instruction. This report’s publication coincided with the research and development of Foundations & Frameworks, confirming its instructional designers’ findings to that point.
The study of critical thinking resulted from emerging support for their initial premise: reading comprehension is the result of effective thinking about written text. If students can learn thought processes that enable them to consider an author’s intended message at the deepest levels, they will be equipped to understand ideas not only within text addressed in reading but in other content areas as well. Therefore, students exposed to deep learning in a Foundations & Frameworks instructional reading program would be equipped to transfer their understanding to mathematics, science, and social studies classes, among others.
Finally, the latest findings in neuroscience revealed the need to tailor instruction to the way learning occurs. Understanding learning would result in more effective teaching. Therefore, Foundations & Frameworks would incorporate brain-friendly methods of instruction to maximize learning.
The unique design of the Foundations & Frameworks program and its implementation stems directly from the substantial and focused research that went into its development. The depth of intentional, meaningful thinking that results from Foundations & Frameworks‘ implementation is unrivaled by other reading programs because every aspect of Foundations & Frameworks is designed to reflect the latest research, ensuring teacher practices result in student learning.
Research of Foundations & Frameworks validates its effectiveness.
Endeavoring to evaluate the validity of Foundations & Frameworks and its effectiveness within the school setting, Robertson (2002) studied the program’s impact on third and fourth grade student grades in reading. One hundred percent of the study’s participants improved in vocabulary and reading comprehension, and more than half increased their percentile ranking by 10 points or more.
On a larger scale, Albee (2004) researched the program’s impact on nearly 1,500 students in grades three through six at six different schools with diverse student populations in different regions of the country. After only seven months, the average vocabulary gain represented 1.7 years’ worth of development. Similarly, comprehension growth averaged 1.3 years’ worth of development. Since only seven months passed between the pretest and post-test in this study, the results represented remarkable gains. Additionally, the results did not include the top 25% of fifth grade students and the top 30% of sixth grade students because their post-test scores were higher than the testing instrument’s ability could adequately measure.
Research conducted by Washburn (2005) reveals the program’s impact on reading and critical thinking skills. The twofold research project, which focused on middle school reading instruction, examined the quantitative effects of two reading programs on the achievement of fifth grade students in reading comprehension and critical thinking. In both reading comprehension and critical thinking, the mean gain of students in the Foundations & Frameworks group was significantly greater than that of the students in the basal series program group. Foundations & Frameworks was assessed as having “consistent alignment with research findings in neurocognitive elements, instructional processes, instructional materials, and professional development components. In contrast, the basal series program was assessed as having limited alignment with research findings in the same areas.
A three-part study to investigate the effectiveness of Foundations & Frameworks in urban schools was conducted by Blackmon (2008). Standardized test scores were examined following seven months of implementation in fourth and fifth grades. Significant differences were observed in the pretest and post-test scores for vocabulary and reading comprehension at both grade levels. A highly significant difference was observed in vocabulary and reading comprehension for fifth grade students and achievement in vocabulary for fourth grade students exceeded expectations. A significant difference was not conclusive between schools implementing Foundations & Frameworks compared to schools that had not; however, the comparison of schools was encouraging because students in the Foundations & Frameworks schools exhibited comparable growth during the initial implementation of a program that required a major paradigm shift for teachers and students.