The Development of KeyPhonics

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Dr. Michelle Hosp

While working as a school psychologist, teachers and reading specialist would come to me and ask,  “Why can’t my student read?” After spending hours testing the student, the best I could do was confirm what they already knew, their student couldn’t read.

I was adding no value because the assessments I was using did not tell me specifically what the student needed help with. So I went back to get my PhD with a focus on reading assessments and instruction in reading. Even after getting my PhD I still struggled to be helpful when teachers would ask me which specific phonics patterns their students needed instruction on.

I researched what was available only to find that a good phonics assessment just didn’t exist, so I decided to built it. After years of research, testing thousands of students, getting feedback from national experts, and teachers in the field, I developed a phonics assessment that can quickly tell teachers which phonics patterns to teach at a classroom, small group, and individual level. I wanted teachers to be able to use the data easily so I created user friendly data reports that can be linked directly to instruction.

KeyPhonics is fast and efficient to give, the only phonics assessment that screens and diagnoses 12 phonics categories and 103 specific target patterns, making it easy for educators to help all students be proficient readers.

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Starting in 2016:

  • Reading Research Associates was formed in Spring 2016 to commercialize KeyPhonics based on research conducted over the past 15 years
  • Conducted focus groups to understand product viability
  • Conducted beta testing with paper-n-pencil version to refine product
  • Moved from paper-n-pencil to a technology based platform
  • Beta tested in 4 states (7 districts) and added new features based on user feedback
  • Filed nonprovisional patent

What People Are Saying:

  • Principal in NY: “We are going to be implementing KeyPhonics grades 2 through 5 because it gives us information we need and can’t get from any of our other assessments”
  • Teacher in NY: “I was a nonbeliever, but now I believe”
  • Curriculum Director in NY: The KeyPhonics online assessment helped our teachers quickly pinpoint the areas of weaknesses in phonics for their students. The easy to administer benchmark screener and diagnostic assessments are valuable tools for elementary teachers.  The resulting data presented in high quality reports assisted teachers in their decision making for their small group instruction in foundational literacy skills.”
  • Teachers in CT: “This is better, faster and easier, than our old phonics assessments.”
  • Teachers in MA: “Thank you for the training, our teachers started testing the same day they were trained.”