New Orleans Educator Closes Achievement Gap with Earobics
Education has always been a passion for Arment Guillaume. The national education
consultant has spent more than 20 years helping young children become better readers.
Wherever she has gone, success has followed.
After moving to New Orleans for college, the Los Angeles native spent 16 years as a
kindergarten and first grade teacher in New Orleans Public Schools. She later
became a reading coach and literacy facilitator, and eventually was named the district’s early
childhood coordinator, charged with overseeing K-3 curriculum districtwide.
Throughout her time in the district’s K-3 classrooms, Guillaume noticed a troubling trend.
As they assessed literacy skills with DIBELS, they saw many students had low vocabulary
and oral language skills and limited phonemic awareness and phonics skills. “The DIBELS
assessment was a true eye-opener for us,” she said. “Many of our students weren’t coming
to school with the fundamental skills they need.”
In essence, New Orleans students were arriving for the first day of school already behind
After being named early childhood coordinator, Guillaume searched for solutions to this
chronic problem. While at the International Reading Association conference, she learned
about Earobics and was intrigued by the success this multisensory literacy solution has
One of the district’s key problems was their inability to meet the wide variety of student
literacy needs with the core program. “It had a lot of holes that we needed to fill,” Guillaume said.
To fill those gaps, the district purchased Earobics as a reading intervention to help
at-risk readers quickly develop the foundational literacy skills they needed for
success. They implemented the program in K–1 classrooms in 22 schools.
“Earobics offers everything a teacher needs to target these struggling readers,” Guillaume
The district experienced immediate results in that first year. According to the DIBELS data
from fall 2005, nearly 55 percent of kindergarten students were classified as struggling, 45
percent were classified as emerging, and only five percent were on track.
By the end of that same school year, the numbers had shifted dramatically. The number of struggling
readers dropped to 28 percent, emerging readers to 22 percent, and the number of on-track
students rocketed to 50 percent.
Guillaume attributes that success to teachers’ ability to use Earobics to target instruction to each
student’s individual needs using the assessment data.
“Earobics really guided us, showing teachers exactly what you do when students struggle,”
Guillaume also found that teachers were able to easily integrate Earobics into the
literacy program. “This was something that was an easy fit for our teachers,” she said. “I didn’t
want it to be a lot more work. I wanted it to be easy.”
Guillaume left New Orleans in August 2005 after 20 years devoted to the district. She now works
on the Earobics team and consults with districts across the country on how to build their
students’ literacy skills.
“I wanted to do something I have a passion for and support something that I know works,” she said.
FALL 2005 (BEFORE EAROBICS)
SPRING 2006 (AFTER EAROBICS)