Dr. Myrna Ross Gifford
Products and Strategies for Active Learners
Dr Myrna R. Gifford
Action Factor, Inc.
President & CEO
Dr. Myrna Ross Gifford, Consultant in Reading and Language Arts. Dr. Gifford is the developer of Sing Your Way Through Phonics, a set of CDs and visuals that teach phonics through music, published by Action Factor, Inc. A twenty-year veteran of classroom teaching, Dr. Gifford has worked with educators as a literacy consultant for the Ohio Department of Education, a teacher educator (Wright State University, Ohio University) and a Trustee of the Miami Valley Child Development Centers, Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Gifford currently presents workshops at reading conferences and school districts throughout the United States and overseas in Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.
A graduate of Boston University, West Virginia University, and Ohio University, Dr. Myrna Ross Gifford began her 30-year teaching career as a music educator in the public schools of Wellesley, Massachusetts, Half Moon Bay, California, and South Orange, New Jersey. A passion for the improvement of early literacy led Dr. Gifford to supplement her Music Education degree with a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education. Throughout a tenure of several years as a first grade and special education teacher for Appalachian children in Wirt County, West Virginia, Dr. Gifford energized her classroom by composing and adapting music, writing computer programs, and integrating multi-media. She realized that a classroom environment which capitalized on students’ normal inclinations to sing, to move, and to play would stimulate active learning by making the process both natural and enjoyable. Over time, Dr. Gifford’s songs and activities for teaching kids phonics became a regular part of reading instruction lesson plans for both average and remedial students.
Dr. Gifford began an intense study of children’s writing development, culminating in a Ph.D. in Reading and Language Arts in 1994. Her research on invented spelling was chosen for special recognition by the Outstanding Dissertation of the Year Committee of the International Reading Association. In conducting her doctoral studies, Dr. Gifford collected and analyzed over five thousand journal entries written by children who were just beginning to read and write.
In 1995, Dr. Gifford began working with classroom teachers and pre-service teachers as an education faculty member at Ohio University and Wright State University. Dr. Gifford developed workshops for educators involving technology in the classroom, tools for teaching phonics, spelling games and challenges, improving reading comprehension, and challenging at-risk students. In addition to presentations at conventions for the National Council of Teachers of English and state Language Arts and Early Childhood organizations, Dr. Gifford became a technology consultant for the Coldwater, Ohio public schools. Dr. Gifford engaged in an extensive research project for the Ohio Department of Education to evaluate the success of a statewide Phonics Demonstration Project.
Dr. Gifford’s work is particularly helpful to educators, parents, grandparents, and community members who work with at-risk students. Dr. Gifford has developed A Blueprint for Reading Success (Gifford, 1999) and A Blueprint for Math Success (Gifford, Cochran, and Herrelko, 2000), two comprehensive and easy-to-manage tutoring programs for reading and math improvement. St. Louis, Missouri participants report enthusiasm for this exciting program in community centers, latchkey programs, and schools. Dr. Gifford continues to develop curricula for computer-assisted learning, educational games, and distance learning. She has conducted professional development workshops and online courses for Wright State University since 1993.
In 2000, Dr. Gifford founded Action Factor, an enterprise devoted to the promotion and development of products and programs for active learners. One of the company’s premier offerings features a 4-volume set of songs designed to reinforce the entire scope and sequence of phonics concepts for students in pre-school through fourth grades. The snappy and motivating songs in Sing Your Way Through Phonics®are available on CD with accompanying visuals through mail order and the Internet. Reaction to the series has been unbridled enthusiasm from teachers, parents and students who now believe that phonics practice can be an enjoyable and stimulating experience. The workshop—Rap, Clap, and Sing—Phonics Activities with Zing!—has already provided many educators with a roadmap for helping students navigate the exciting route to reading independence.