Methods in Learning Kinesthetically (MILK)

MILK Project Description

MILK body shaping L

Body Shaping the Letter “H”

MILK is a project for training primary grade teachers in the use of child centered kinesthetic modalities as an essential feature in primary grade literacy programs that traditionally only use visual and aural teacher centered methodologies.  MILK targets building reading comprehension and interpretation skills through interactive and interpretative movement and supports basic components of literacy such as phonemic awareness, spelling skills, fluency, vocabulary, and writing. The MILK project enables young readers to learn comprehension processes and to develop their abilities to initiate them without teacher prompting. MILK can provide prekindergarten to grade 5 educators with a way to increase the effectiveness of traditional instruction with specific kinesthetic movements. These movements become a second learning input system.


body shape V

Body Shaping the Letter “V”


To incorporate MILK into literacy instruction to determine if students will experience higher scores on standardized assessments, improved confidence in their literacy ability, and an improved overall attitude regarding literacy and reading.

To determine if students reading confidence, self-efficacy, behavior, and engagement improves.



2012-13 Mid. Year Results

sign language spelling words

Using sign language to practice spelling words

Fifteen students were assigned to the treatment group, and started this year at a 1st and 2nd grade reading level. By mid-year 14 out of the 15 students moved up to the next grade reading level.  Three students moved up 2 grade levels.

Pre- & Post-test (DRA: fluency and reading comprehension)

The gains made by MILK students (treatment) were  significantly greater than the gains of the control group, p < .05.

However,  we find that this test does not separate fluency from comprehension. We know that our students read slower due to them creating movement to what they are reading.


2013-14 End of Year Results

Moving the story

Moving the Story


Beg. Year – Only 32% were on reading level (DRA)
End Year- 68% were on grade level.

Of those who were not on grade level, 15% improved their reading 1.5 grade levels, 65% improved by one grade level, and 20% improved only ½ a grade level.

All participating 3rdgrade classes showed significant improvement on the Discovery test.

Other Results


Writing spelling words on each other’s backs. Developing the inner eye.



Teachers Reported:

  • Less behavior problems
  • Longer student engagement
  • More collaborative learning
  • Students investment in each other’s learning
  • Less stress during tests
  • Students were more comfortable reading aloud
  • Increase in reading comprehension over longer periods of time




MILK sign language

Signing the letter “H”