Researchers and teachers
Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm
Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm, an internationally recognized literacy expert and professor of English education at Boise State University, conducted a research study to explore the efficacy of Nardagani on the decoding skills and reading fluency rate of struggling readers in a school setting.
Beth Zuschlag, a literacy specialist at Anser Charter School in Garden City, Idaho, works with challenged readers who have been diagnosed with a reading disability and qualify for IEP (Individual Education Program). Beth uses Nardagani in her classroom with notable results.
Challenged Readers of All Ages
Nardagani teaches decoding (sounding out words) quickly and simply.
Reading and speaking effectively in English has had a dramatic effect on many of our ESL students’ lives. Our ESL students know how to read in their primary language.
We've taught in prisons and schools since 2011 and were adopted by the Idaho State Department of Education in 2012. Contact us regarding corporate and institutional solutions.
“The initial results of our teacher research studies demonstrate that Nardagani is easy for teachers to learn and use (significantly more so than traditional teaching methods for decoding) and for students and parents to use in the role of teacher or thinking partner, as well. The studies also demonstrate that the approach has benefits to readers that go well beyond decoding and assists them in comprehending on literal and then inferential levels. … Given the significance of reading to modern life, and the finding in recent studies that reading ability and time spent pleasure reading in youth is the most significant factor in cognitive progress and social mobility and attainment over time, any method that can help students to read in the way Nardagani does is actually helping to address a civil rights issue of tremendous moral and economic importance.”
Dr. Jeffrey Wilhelm
Dr. Wilhelm’s Associates
“The Nardagani Reading Program uses a simple, structured method to help students improve their decoding skills and, thereby, improve reading fluency. … With the scaffolded support of the Nardagani symbols, readers do not have to guess, analyze, or remember rules and exceptions; instead, the consistent phoneme-sound correspondence allows them to immediately recognize, and verbalize, the necessary sounds to produce the words in text.”
Annette Wall, seventh-grade teacher at Saint Paul School, Nampa School District
“A 5-year-old, bilingual kindergarten student with no prior reading instructions was taught Nardagani on the eight-lesson plan. At the end of 10 weeks, this student showed marked improvement and tested at a second-grade reading level without the Nardagani symbols upon exiting kindergarten.”
Jon Buckridge, English teacher, Nampa School District
“Data gathered shows that completing the Nardagani program can yield a large amount of growth in a short time frame. … I have been teaching special-education language learning labs for three years, and until being introduced to the Nardagani Reading Program had not found a program that teaches decoding in a different way than it is traditionally taught in the primary grades. The method of teaching needs to be different because the previous approaches have either not worked, or only partially worked. A need for a novel approach also exists because the system of special education at the state level requires teachers to use some form of research-based intervention curriculum. Our current options are few and, quite frankly, poor.”
Jody Braun, Special Education, Lake Hazel Middle School, West Ada School District
Students, parents, and tutors say…
“I am writing to tell you how impressed I am by your program. I have adult friends who have used it to improve their reading skills. It has made them feel more confident. I have reviewed the program myself, and am looking forward to teaching it to my 4-year-old son. He loves playing games, so I think he will be able to learn to read quickly using this system. This is an exciting new teaching method!”
“I am Hispanic and have to take my time to read slowly. I like the idea of being able to read better and faster. I might enjoy reading more! My experience was fun, easy and very informative. I usually get migraines and I give up reading easily, but now I hope to ‘stretch my mind’ and not give up as easily. It taught me that I can help my children and other people’s children to read. I hope to be able to go to Mexico some day and teach English.”
Maria, Nardagani student
“It was a wonderfully simplified method of learning, not just to read, but to improve on one’s pronunciation skills. This is so similar to learning other languages. I taught two girls last night and listened to their skills increase in just one hour.”
Teneal, Seventh-grade teacher
“Last summer, I took your class at the community center. I learned the program in four lessons. I did not think that it would make much of a difference because it was so simple to learn. It really did make a big difference for me. My reading improved a lot. Now I like to read and I want you to know that it is because of Nardagani that this school year I am now in Honors English. Thank you.”
Kayman, Nardagani student
“It boosted my confidence. It made me feel excited about going out and teaching people how to read better. It showed me that with a little practice it’s not hard to learn at all, which provides hope. This is something that could touch the lives of many people. It’s a way to simplify such a difficult language and make more people feel confident.”
Shelby, Nardagani student
“I teach English to local Hispanics who do not speak English, or have a limited ability to speak English. With Nardagani, I have the tools to teach people faster. Students can learn to read and correctly pronounce English words in only four lessons. Once they feel confident pronouncing the words, they quickly learn more vocabulary and learn to speak the language with a clear accent. When I was learning English, it was boring. When I teach with Nardagani, the students are excited!”
Jose, Nardagani teacher
“I’ve seen it help in just three times of classes and I’ve got learning disabilities. I feel I could help others with this.”
“This was an outstanding class. It was nothing like I expected. This is a fabulous system. I am so happy I came. I can’t believe I was given this opportunity. It always helps your self-esteem to be able to read better. The benefits this program can offer many people is endless. This is a program that can change so many lives.”
Mike, Nardagani student
“The literacy program through the Blaine County Detention Center has been using the Nardagani Reading Program since December of 2012. The program includes components of both English and Spanish. Students participate in both classes, English and Spanish, for two hours, one day per week.
Detainees attend the program on a voluntary basis. The facility will allow a maximum of five students to attend each class per session. There is usually a waiting list of students requesting the Nardagani Reading Program training.
Throughout the time that the program has been in existence, 54 inmates have participated in the program. The inmates have been able to increase their reading levels by an average of one grade level every two weeks, measured by an increase in accuracy/fluency and number of words read in either a one-minute oral reading sample, advancing weekly, or through formal assessment administered monthly or bimonthly. Reading comprehension skills increase weekly on average by 10 to 40 percent.
Inmates who are involved in the program for five to 10 weeks are able to begin teaching others who are beginning the program. This allows the inmates who would like or wish to become instructors the opportunity and time to practice their skills, obtain feedback and refine their teaching abilities. Eighteen inmates have participated in the instructor level of the program, with seven continuing on to become advanced instructors.
English-speaking inmates are able to learn to read, pronounce and speak Spanish at a beginning level through the Nardagani Reading Program.
Within the BCDC program, inmates are able to work independently and in small groups to instruct each other. This allows inmates to practice communication skills, restructuring their language, modeling interactions as well as pronunciations, and engaging in accent production or reduction.
For inmates who are not bilingual, whether English or Spanish speakers, second-language skills show an average increase of 20 or more new words per class.”
Tracy Cloud, Eds, ccc/SLP (Tracy Cloud has an education specialist degree in learning disabilities and a master’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Florida in 1974. She taught the Nardagani Reading Program in the Blaine County Detention Center in Hailey, Idaho.)
“I taught Adult Basic Skills Development at Snake River Correctional Institution for many years and was often frustrated with the slow progress my students made in their reading. Last year I heard about Nardagani through a friend and on our local news program with Dee Sarton of Channel 7. The claims about student progress in reading were so enticing, I decided to try a small pilot of the program.
I began with six voluntary students, of whom only two were native English speakers. Of these two students, one had a diagnosed learning disability and had been in special-education classes in public school and in prison. The other did not have a diagnosed learning disability, but as a 58-year-old man, he definitely struggled to learn and to remember information. Two students were native Spanish speakers who were speaking English well, but learning to read English. One student was a native Mayan speaker for whom English was his third language. The sixth student was from Micronesia and had very little schooling in his native tongue. He struggled with English and reading and therefore had learning difficulties with all subjects.
I used the San Diego Quick Reading Assessment for a pre- and post-test. This test is a list of grade-level words and it assesses the student’s ability to correctly pronounce the words. It does not assess comprehension, only pronunciation. It designates three levels of ability for the student: independent level, instructional level, or frustration level.
After seven days of instruction with the Nardagani program (approximately one hour of instruction per day), I was able to post-test four of the six students. I saw some pretty significant gains in the students’ reading levels. These four students raised their instructional level at least one grade higher. Two students were post-tested at day 10 of instruction and they each raised their independent reading levels by at least two grade levels.
Overall, I was very pleased to see the results that came from using the Nardagani Reading Program. I’ve since changed jobs and positions. I am no longer teaching at Snake River Correctional Institution, but am assistant director of education at Washington State Penitentiary. I look forward to finding instructors who are eager to try something new, as I’d like to see more adult educators try the program and document their results so we can all learn about the program’s effectiveness.”
Carol Fitzgerald (BA: Communication, Secondary Ed. Certification, Boise State UniversityMA: Literacy Specialist, Boise State University)