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Davis Research in South Africa

Ron Davis discovered the key to unlocking his dyslexia in 1980. In 1981, he established the reading counsel together with Dr. Fatima Ali to conduct research and develop procedures based on his discovery a year earlier. In 1982, the Davis Dyslexia Correction Center was opened to help those with reading and writing problems.

This goes to show that the Davis program is not just some fly by night operation. In 33 years, a lot of research has been conducted on the program in general. You can read more on the history of the Davis program here or the science behind the program here, you can also find a list of resources pointing to research here. Below we highlight research publications that has some connotation or was conducted in South Africa specifically.

Enhancing intermediate dyslexic learners’ literacy skills: a Free State community project

Van Staden, A., Tolmie, A., & Badenhorst, M. G. (2009). Enhancing intermediate dyslexic learners’ literacy skills: a Free State community project. Africa Education Review, 6(2), 295–307.

A study conducted by researchers from the University of the Free State (Department of Psychology of Education) to determine if a community-based learning project can improve the literacy skills of dyslexic learners. The Davis program was selected as the intervention program. The researchers found a statistically significant improvement in the word recognition and spelling performance of students who participated in the intervention. Also the researchers commented on normal intervention strategies by saying:

“In contrast, however, there was no significant improvement in the word recognition and spelling skills of intermediate dyslexic learners in the control group who received individual remedial instruction based on phonological information processing strategies.”

The researchers also highlighted some benefits identified by the learners involved in the intervention. From the research article:

“additional benefits of this program, i.e., learners’ self-concept and concentration abilities were enhanced; orthographic knowledge was gained; learning the meaning of small words modelled in clay helped build learners’ vocabulary, syntax and semantic skills; and ultimately there was an improvement in learners’ reading fluency and reading comprehension.”

Read abstract here