Graduate Project

Spelling Patterns: An Online Tutorial for 1st Grade Parents

This project was an interactive online tutorial intended for parents to learn how to help their first grade students in learning spelling patterns. This tutorial would help parents by building a better understanding of what blending and segmenting are and how to use these strategies to help a child learn various spelling patterns. It had video clips, audio clips, images, and quizzes integrated with text to maximize the interest and understanding of the content being delivered. Spelling is an essential part of reading and writing, but due to the complexity of the English language, students need to have and use a variety of skills. Parent involvement has also proven to have a large impact on a child’s academic success, so it is essential that parents know how to adequately help their child at home (Darling & Westberg, 2004). The literature review provided a closer look at what the California Common Core Standards are for first grade in regards to reading, writing, and spelling. Also, a closer look at the standards revealed that the rigor and high-order skills that are being asked of young children, are very different than the ones required in years past (CDE, 2013). The literature also covered the importance of language awareness and its role in reading and spelling abilities (Critten, Sheriston, & Mann, 2016). The literature review has also provided information of best practices for teaching reading and spelling at primary grades (Roskos & Neuman, 2014; Simonsen & Gunter, 2001). Lastly, the literature examines the positive effects of the flipped classroom model on students at various levels of their education (Camiling, 2017; Bergmann & Sams, 2007; Sohrabi & Iraj, 2015; Gough et al., 2017). The target audience of this project was primarily parents of first grade students; however, parents of children at any primary grade could easily use it. The online tutorial was carefully designed to provide clear information and opportunities for parents to practice blending and segmenting with spelling patterns with their children, while keeping in mind many parents may not have any background knowledge of the content. This online tutorial was created according to the A.D.D.I.E model of instructional design, following five distinct development phases. The instructional designer decided to create an online tutorial to utilize a variety of multimedia in order to enhance the learning and engagement of the parents. The tutorial then underwent troubleshooting. It was created using Articulate Storyline 2 authoring program and tested on multiple platforms and various browsers. After completing two rounds of testing, the tutorial was warranted to be accessible on various types of devices and browsers with all of the multimedia components functioning correctly. Upon completion of troubleshooting, the project was submitted to Cal Poly Pomona Institutional Review Board (IRB), where it was approved for field-testing with first grade parents. The instructional designer then sent the consent letter to parents for field-testing. Parents had two weeks to view and provide feedback on the tutorial. One hundred first grade parents were invited to participate in the study. Twenty-one parents accepted the invitation and participated in the study. Through an online anonymous survey, 100% of the participants felt the online tutorial was beneficial and helped them in supporting their child’s learning of spelling patterns. Overall, the results were extremely positive. The main weaknesses identified by parents were a lack of practice questions for parents to self-check their knowledge and understanding of blending and segmenting and also the desire for more teacher and student modeling videos. Even though, the sample size was small and only allocated to one elementary school, the online tutorial showed to have a positive impact on parents’ confidence level in helping their child with spelling patterns.