Abstract – Effect of Davis Learning Strategies

The Effect of the Davis Learning Strategies on First Grade Word Recognition and Subsequent Special Education Referrals

from Reading Improvement, Vol. 38, No. 2, Summer 2001

Authors: Sharon Pfeiffer, Ronald Davis, Ethel Kellogg, Carol Hern, T.F. McLaughlin, Ph.D. (Gonzaga University), and Gerry Curry


The purpose of this study was to determine the beneficial effects of integrating various Davis Learning Strategies, primarily Davis Symbol Mastery, on sight word skills.The participants were 86 primary students from two San Francisco Bay area schools enrolled in the standard K-1 program. The dependent measures were the percentage of children who are able to meet sight word recognition on a list of 100 basic core words.

For the first grade students the outcomes indicated that children scored significantly higher than the control group for the mastery of 100 basic sight words. In addition, follow-up data indicated that no special education referrals had been made two years after initial Davis intervention for any of the three pilot classrooms. However, gifted referrals from these same classrooms were higher than the typical school population.

Discussion includes the effect of early reading success on future school and social performance. Suggestions are given for further assessment of the Davis method and ways to coordinate the Davis method with other support services in future research.