Redding School of the Arts: Sound Club « Center on Educational Governance (CEG)

Redding School of the Arts: Sound Club

Practice Area: Special Education

Redding School of the Arts:
Sound Club

Redding School of the Arts

Redding, California
Founded 1999
323 students
Grades K-8
82.2% White, 6% Asian, 3.3% Hispanic, 1.6% African-American, Other 6.9%
0% English language learners
10% Special needs
23% Receive subsidized meals
Teachers not part of collective bargaining unit

Source: Center on Educational Governance, 2006.

Designed to increase student achievement though a strong foundation in literacy, Sound Club instructs kindergarteners in necessary phonemic awareness in order to reduce special education referrals. Sound Club
operates on three levels: pre-enrollment testing, effective instruction and early intervention. A 50 percent reduction in referrals to special education in the second through fourth grades suggests that the program works.


Before starting kindergarten, all students are screened for needs in speech and language, motor skills, academic skills, health and development. Redding requires Sound Club for all its kindergarten students. The Sound Club speech and language pathologist (SLP) addresses student needs by teaching simple phonemic awareness skills related to the properties and creation of sounds. The SLP convenes weekly 30-minute classes with eight to ten students; the kindergarten classroom teachers attend to provide additional materials, to address discipline problems and to observe relevant skills that can be incorporated in general classroom lessons.

The Sound Club SLPs teach students to recognize the physical components of speech, such as the tongue and voice box. Students participate in musical activities that encourage them to move their mouths in different ways and in role-playing activities where they represent the individual sounds that comprise words. Students also bring home booklets to work through with their parents. After half a year, students are reassessed to determine whether additional assistance, including individual instruction, is necessary or whether they can place out of Sound Club.


As a provider of speech and language services, Sound Club is a cost-effective practice compared to the traditional “pull-out” model, though the acquisition of additional materials can vary costs from year to year. The practice requires a highly qualified speech and language pathologist who can provide an observing teacher with a suitable understanding of the program. Other needs include classroom space and kindergarten teachers willing to provide lesson materials and address discipline problems.

Lessons Learned

Sound Club and the related testing methods has evolved over the past five years. The school’s directors have come to believe that the assessment process needs to be ongoing and comprehensive so progress could be monitored and necessary intervention provided.

Today, Redding School of the Arts uses the Diagnostic Assessments of Reading (DAR) examination, which measures word recognition, reading comprehension and oral reading. Student development is charted from year to year and these assessments determine placement.

Collaboration between teachers and speech and language pathologists has been an integral part of the evolution of Sound Club. In the general education classroom, teachers are made aware of students struggling in Sound Club, and an SLP, knowing what is being taught in the classroom, can cover relevant material in her lessons. Additionally, Redding has noted the importance of requiring Sound Club for all kindergarten students.

Students enjoy the classes, parents feel the program is valuable and mandatory participation eliminates any stigma.


Over 95 percent of Redding School of the Arts students can read by the end of their kindergarten year; the remaining students know the majority of sounds but have yet to make the connection to the written word. Anecdotal reports from veteran kindergarten teachers suggests students are reading earlier in the year and parents credit

Sound Club with improved reading skills. By allowing teachers the opportunity to identify language and reading problems, Sound Club permits early intervention and reduces the need for special education.


Center on Educational Governance
Rossier School of Education
University of Southern California
3470 Trousdale Parkway
Waite Phillips Hall, Room 901
Los Angeles, CA 90089-4039

Phone: (213) 740-0697
Fax: (213) 740-4184
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