Links to Studies

Promoting Early Literacy of Preschool Children: A Study of the Effectiveness of Funnix Beginning Reading by Jean Stockard University of Oregon 2010

Effects of a Computer Based Beginning Reading Program on Young Children by Tara Watson and Kerry Hempenstall RMIT University 2008

The Effects of the Funnix Beginning Reading Program on the Reading Skills of Preschoolers. Lorraine A. Parlange Eastern Washington University, 2004, unpublished

Links to Reviews

Review From Oregon Reading First Centers (pdf)

Review From Florida Center for Reading Research (pdf)

Reviewers Guide (pdf)

What Does the Research Say?

Funnix is a Direct Instruction program. Direct Instruction has been demonstrated to be the most effective method of teaching beginning skills to children. Direct Instruction was developed by Zig Engelmann, who is senior author of Funnix.The research overwhelmingly concurs that the best way to teach beginning reading is through a phonics method of instruction. Here are some of the important requirements that the research has identified:


Before children begin reading, they must learn the sounds that letters make. There is more than one common sound for the vowels and for some of the other letters. For initial reading, children learn one sound for each letter or letter combination. All the words they read at first are made up of letters that make the sounds children have learned.
All the words children read at first should be made up of letters that make the sounds children have learned.

Before children begin reading, children must learn about verbal manipulations called blending skills. The teacher says a word like SAIL slowly, a sound at a time. Then the teacher tells the child to say it fast. Another important pre-reading skill is rhyming (not nursery rhymes, but saying words that rhyme with other words). These skills and several others make learning to sound out written words easier. They help teach children that two words that have parts that sound the same, often have the same arrangement of letters.
Blending skills . . make learning to sound out words easier.

The "text" or the stories children read should be "decodable" by the child, which means that the child knows how to identify every word in the story or knows how to figure it out. The child has this skill because every word in the story has been taught in earlier word lists.

"text". . . should be decodable

The program should have a cumulative review of what has been taught. Programs that teach a skill for one or more lessons and then do not further develop or refer to the skill in the following lessons have no cumulative review. For obvious reasons they do not work well. Programs that have a cumulative review of everything that has been taught are greatly superior.
Programs that have a cumulative review are greatly superior.

Although there is great variation in the amount of practice different children need to become good readers, all children benefit greatly from practice in reading aloud in the presence of someone who gives them feedback-telling them words they don't know and encouraging them. Good readers are not created overnight. When children practice oral reading and it is observed and monitored on a regular basis, the children's ability to read more words, and to read them accurately, increases.
Children's ability to read . . increases when children are observed and monitored while they read out loud.

Research on the performance of at-risk children shows that Direct Instruction is capable of teaching all children-even those who don't often read by the end of the second grade-before they leave kindergarten.

City Springs Elementary School, in Baltimore for instance, the school that was once the lowest in a district of 115 elementary schools, is now 5th in reading performance. City Springs Elementary School, is a full-immersion Direct Instruction school. Similar results have been observed in elementary schools in California, Texas, Arkansas, Utah, Chicago, Miami, Detroit, Boston, and many other cities and counties (such as Broward County, FL) and towns (such as Gunnison, UT).

An Educator's Guide to Schoolwide Reform

The Direct Instruction approach has been recognized by the American Institute for Research (AIR) as one of only two approaches for school-wide reform that has substantial research evidence that documents its effectiveness in elementary schools..

To see the report by the National Institute of Child Health & Human Development, National Reading Panel: Teaching Children to Read, visit their website.


Funnix scores a 10.

SOUNDS: Funnix teaches sounds for the letters that will compose all the words that children read and teaches them before they appear in words. Funnix teaches all the "phonological" blending skills and rhyming skills that children need.

DECODABLE TEXT: Funnix has text that is 100% decodable, because its stories are composed entirely of words that children have been taught earlier in the program.

The program has a tight structure that is built around cumulative reviews and the principles that (a) everything that is taught is used in later applications and (b) every application is composed entirely of things children have been taught earlier.

AMPLE PRACTICE: Funnix provides lots and lots of practice in reading out-loud individual words, questions, and many stories-so it looks like fun, not practice. Funnix is set up so that parents who are observing and monitoring their children's performance can respond instantly with encouragement or correct answers.

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