Instruction in the Academics Plus program focuses upon the remediation of the deficient skills of each student. Instead of emphasizing phonics, whole language or any other of several legitimate teaching methods exclusively, the A+ system utilizes the combination of techniques and methods that best helps each child acquire and master deficient skills. The program is learner-based rather than pre-determined and content-based.
The instructional model has its historical roots in the research done in the late 1960’s by federal grants under the McComb commission whose charge was to design a way to increase the reading achievement of inner-city, minority students. Top educators from across the nation pooled their talents and available research into this endeavor, resulting in significant academic gains measured on the students served. Polya’s mathematical problem solving process is taught within every math instructional hour.
Utilizing her B.S. in Kinesiology, M.S. in Biology and Ph.D. in Reading, Melinda Crenwelge, founder/consultant of Academics Plus, developed the instructional reading program used by A+ which maintains the four primary areas the research originally suggested. Current research was utilized to substantially increase the verbal development and higher order thinking skills of the students. This is supported by Put Reading First: The Research Building Blocks for Teaching Children to Read by the Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA). It describes the findings of the National Reading Panel Report in five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary and text-comprehension.