1984 Paper

Marvin Dobermann, founder and President of the "Dobermann College of Effective Parenting Practice", claims that any parents following his "Aural Intensity Learning Accentuation Scheme" can be assured that their children will read fluently by the age of 5 years.

To test this claim Dr Martin Pincher carried out the following experiment. A group of 100 pairs of parents all with children between 2 and 4 years old, was contacted through a local baby-sitting service. Dr Pincher gathered the parents together and explained the principles of the Dobermann method -- the child is shown a card with a word written on it and the parent shouts the word at the child, as loudly as possible. The child is shown many such cards in rapid succession in the course of the daily 2-hour training session.

Because of the slightly stressful nature of the method, Dr Pincher asked for volunteers from his parents for the experimental group, the group to implement the Dobermann Scheme. Surprisingly, 62 couples volunteered and the remaining 38 couples were assigned to the control group. The control group parents were told to carry on helping their child to learn to read just as they had been, but not to use the Dobermann Scheme.

Dr Pincher asked parents to administer the Schonell Test to their child on its 5th birthday. This test requires the child to read aloud words presented on cards and produces a reading age for the child in years and months. When the last child reached its 5th birthday and all the data were collected, Dr Pincher analysed his results.

The reading ages were converted to a score in months by multiplying the years by 12 and then adding the months. Thus a reading age of 5 years 3 months becomes a score of 63. The mean scores were 77.3 and 74.5 for the experimental and control groups respectively. A one-way between subjects analysis of variance demonstrated that this difference was significant at the .05 level.

Dr Pincher noted from his records that the children in the experimental groups varied in the age at which they started training and hence the amount of time they had experienced the method. As an independent check on the earlier finding he computed a Pearson product-moment correlation between the number of months the child had been subjected to training using the Dobermann method and the final reading age at age 5. This correlation was found to be .26 which is significant at the .05 level.

Taking the two results together Dr Pincher concluded that Dobermann's claims were substantiated. The children who experienced the method are more fluent readers. In addition, early experience of the method leads to better results.

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