Several widely circulated reading research studies report a strong consensus on how children learn to read, why many children fail to learn adequately, and what methods of reading instruction are most likely to be effective. You may read more about these issues and how StudyDog addresses them below, to see a curriculum description of the skills and lessons in the StudyDog program please select the “Skills” menu option above

The components identified across these reports of effective research-supported instruction for the primary grades are:

Phonemic Awareness

Research evidence indicates that phonemic awareness and letter knowledge are the best predictors of how well children will learn to read during the first two years of instruction. Children who are able to recognize individual sounds in words are phonemically aware. Beginning readers who have difficulty differentiating sounds in words will have difficulty decoding fluently and accurately. StudyDog provides explicit and systematic instruction in phoneme manipulation, fostering the student’s ability to read better and faster.

Examples of phonemic awareness tasks:
  • Phoneme deletion
  • Sound Isolation
  • Sound to word matching
  • Blending
  • Word to word matching


To facilitate fluent word recognition, beginning readers must understand the link between the sounds of words and the letters they represent. Numerous studies support the importance of this knowledge in accounting for differences between good and poor readers. Explicit instruction in letter-sound correspondence helps children who have not grasped phonics or do not apply it. StudyDog explicitly teaches students letter-sound correspondence in a clear and simple way to assist struggling readers. Each letter is individually taught because research shows that explicit phonics instruction results in higher student achievement.

Example of specific instruction:

  • Explicit phonics instruction means that a phoneme is isolated for the student. For example, Studydog shows the letter m and says, “This letter says /mmm/.”



    Research shows that vocabulary development in children with limited comprehension skills is significantly enhanced by the amount and variety of material they read. Vocabulary and word meanings are learned in relation to other known words and ideas. Words are remembered and recalled easily when students’ understanding of words is deepened. Through StudyDog’s shared reading format, children learn vocabulary in content-rich passages that is later integrated into their own reading. Shared reading allows for more sophisticated language, creating the opportunity for the introduction of new words and a richer content than is possible in independent text. The shared reading also provides students with the opportunity to encounter vocabulary words repeatedly in multiple contexts.



    Research supports the idea that oral reading fluency functions as an overall indicator of reading comprehension and development. StudyDog students read stories composed of the sounds and words they have learned. Your child will read stories at their instructional level, giving him/her the opportunity to develop fluency through repeated readings. Your child will progress from a slow, deliberate reader to an expressive, fluent reader. The StudyDog stories are captivating. Students are exposed to rich content, which fosters motivation by providing students with many opportunities to experience success in reading. Your child will learn to systematically sound out words, recognize common word patterns, and identify high-frequency words. Skills are practiced to mastery then applied and reinforced in stories so that your child will learn that he or she CAN read.


    Text Comprehension

    Skilled readers comprehend what they read. They differ from less skilled readers in their use of background knowledge to comprehend text and to draw valid inferences about what they have read. They also differ from struggling readers in their ability to decode fluently and accurately. To comprehend text, the reader must be able to decode words and construct meaning. If word recognition is slow and difficult, the readers’ attention remains focused on decoding rather than on gaining meaning. StudyDog teaches reading comprehension skills through short stories and small books. These are both independently read by the child, and shared reading with the student and StudyDog. The shared readings allow for more content-rich material and developed story lines. This provides extended opportunities for comprehension skills.  The StudyDog curriculum explicitly instructs the child on strategies for summarizing, predicting, and self-monitoring for understanding. StudyDog’s comprehension instruction includes the development of background knowledge before reading selections by discussing key vocabulary concepts.

    Example of how StudyDog incorporates comprehension:

  • Decodable text is composed of words that use the sound spelling correspondences that children have learned and contain a limited number of sight words that have been systematically taught.
  • The use of interesting authentic stories to develop language comprehension plays an important role in building comprehension skills and strategies.


    Continuous Evaluation and Assessment

    Effective reading instruction includes continuous progress assessment to guide instruction. Student performance on the StudyDog placement assessment is used to assign students to a reading level that is appropriate to their needs. Once instruction has begun, every instructional device has a built-in assessment system to monitor the progress and needs of your child. Based on the results of systematic assessments, StudyDog is able to determine what material to review and can guide the pace of instruction in direct response to the strengths and weaknesses of each individual student.


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