The Magic Penny Reading Program was first implemented in a Western New York public school in the 2002-2003 school year (30% of these children qualified for the free and reduced rate lunch program). Children in this Pilot study received Magic Penny Reading instruction in Kindergarten for 30 minutes each day (The average size of the intervention group in 2006-2009 was n=50; the average size of the non-intervention group (2006-2009) was n=14). No further instruction in the Magic Penny Reading Program was received in subsequent grades.
New York State (NYS) assesses reading performance in a statewide English Language Arts (ELA) assessment that is first administered in 3rd grade. The children receiving Phonemic Reading instruction in Kindergarten (2002-2003) took the 3rd grade ELA in January 2006; their scores on the NYS ELA were tracked though 6th grade in 2009. Figure 1 presents these results as compared to children in the same school who did not receive any Magic Penny Reading instruction. (components of these results were discussed in several national presentations (D Schneider, 2009; S Schneider, 2009; Schneider, 2010; Schneider, 2011).
In 2006, 100% of the children taught with the Magic Penny Reading Program scored at or above grade level in 3rd grade while only 44% of the children who did not receive instruction with the Magic Penny Reading Program achieved at or above grade level reading proficiency. The performance of the intervention group was remarkably similar over the 4 years that these data were tracked.
These data demonstrate that the Magic Penny Reading Program is a highly effective method for achieving reading proficiency. In addition, the data suggest that once children receive this instruction, their reading proficiency is stable and can be demonstrated year after year.
Figure 1. New York State English Language Arts Assessment (2006 – 2009).
The progress of these children was also tracked in Kindergarten through 4th grade using the standardized Rigby PM Benchmark assessment (Rigby, 2002) (Figure 2). Using this measure, no children were found to be reading below grade level; all children who used the Magic Penny Reading Program in Kindergarten were reading at or above grade level in Kindergarten through 4th grade. In addition, these data show that at least 80% of the children receiving instruction in Magic Penny Reading were performing at least 1 year above grade level in reading.
Figure 2. Rigby PM Benchmark reading assessment data (2003 – 2007).
Anecdotal Support from other WNY schools
School X. 46% of School X children qualified for the ‘free and reduced rate lunch’ program. After using the Magic Penny Reading Program in a pilot study in one of the district’s lowest testing Kindergarten classrooms in 2009-2010, the city school district’s Director of Learning wrote, “the students in the classroom where the Magic Penny Reading Program was implemented demonstrated significant strengths, with growth surpassing all other Kindergarten classrooms in the district…It is unmistakable that their success is directly related to the Magic Penny Reading Program…To say I am an advocate for the Magic Penny Reading Program would be an understatement.” (Personal Communication 2010)
School Y. 55% of School Y children qualified for the ‘free and reduced rate’ lunch program.
In 2008, a primary school that began using the ‘Magic Penny Reading Program’ in 2003 won the “Exemplary Reading Program Award” from the International Reading Association. In accepting the award, the school’s principal said, “Magic Penny Reading is the great equalizer because it breaks the cycle of poverty.” (Award Acceptance Speech 2008)
The Magic Penny Reading Program has been shown to achieve 100% reading proficiency in 3rd grade. This solution offers the opportunity to implement an evidence-based method to significantly increase reading proficiency in young children. In addition, the data suggest that once children receive this instruction, their reading proficiency is stable and can be demonstrated year after year.
For best results, the program should be implemented early, in pre-K , Kindergarten and first grade.
Bond, G., and R. Dykstra. 1967. The Cooperative Research Program in First-Grade Reading Instruction. Reading Research Quarterly. 2. 1–142.
National Assessment of Educational Progress. 2009. United States Department of Education. Institute of Educational Science. http://nces.ed.gov/nationsreportcard/reading/ (accessed Feb 2011)
National Reading Panel. 2000. Report of the National Reading Panel. National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Washington, D.C.
Rigby PM Benchmark. 2002. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Chicago, IL.
Rosner, J. and D.P. Simon. 1971. The auditory analysis test: An initial report. Journal of Learning Disabilities. 4. 384-392.
Schneider, S. 2009. "How to Break the Cycle of Poverty and Ensure Early Literacy Success for All Children (Including At-Risk, Special Needs and English Language Learners)" A Seminar/Workshop presented at the Annual Convention of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Washington D.C.
Schneider, D. 2009. “A Fresh Look at Phonemic Awareness”. A Seminar presented at the Annual Convention of the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Washington D.C.
Schneider, D. 2010. “America’s 70% Literacy Rate and How Audiologists Can Help’. A Learning Module presented at the American Academy of Audiology annual meeting, AudiologyNOW. San Diego, CA.
Schneider, D. 2011”Audiology and Literacy” A Learning Module presented at the American Academy of Audiology annual meeting, AudiologyNOW, Chicago, IL.