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The authors of the program are headed by Siegfried (Zig) Engelmann, a retired professor of Education at the University of Oregon, and senior author of more than 50 instructional programs, most of which are available through SRA McGraw/Hill.
Zig developed the system of teaching called Direct Instruction, which consistently outperforms other methods in all subjects and with the full range of children. The Direct Instruction schools proved to be the best in the largest educational experiment ever conducted-Project Follow Through-which involved more than 15 different approaches to instruction and more than 100,000 children. The children in the Direct Instruction schools placed first in reading, math, language, spelling and highest in self-esteem. The children had high self-esteem because they were competent, smart, and they knew that they had superior skills. Zig has successfully taught all types of children: deaf, autistic, preschool, language-delayed and gifted. Zig has been involved in working in school districts on problems with poor readers in primary grades through high school.
For a closer look at the senior author, visit Zig's site at zigsite.com.
Owen Engelmann is Zig's son. Owen has worked as a project director for the National Institute for Direct Instruction, which recently elevated some of the worst schools in Baltimore, MD, from the bottom of the performance ladder to the upper half of the ladder. One school, City Springs, went from the school that placed 114th in reading (in a district of 115 schools) to 12th overall and 5th in reading.
Owen also directs a reading tutoring program in a school that accelerates the children's reading performance to above the 95th percentile.
Owen writes Direct Instruction programs in math, reading, and language arts, including SRA's Connecting Math Concepts, Horizons, Journeys and Reading Mastery Plus. He oversees the field-tryouts and keeps track of the data on problems teachers and students encounter, which indicates rough spots in the program that are to be revised so that the program works well for all children.
Karen Davis is a demonstration teacher, who had served as an implementation manager for a large Direct Instruction implementation in New England. Karen is an author of reading and language programs, including SRA's Reasoning and Writing, Horizons and Journeys. Karen has been a first-grade teacher for 20 years, and every one of her children reads by the end of the school year.