Funnix Authors

Siegfried Engelmann

Siegfried “Zig” Engelmann was considered a maverick in the field of education, a complimentary title that sums up everything he believed about educating children: that every child’s mind is malleable, magnificent, and ready to learn, and that it is the responsibility of adults to teach children, not label them.

This belief ensured his success teaching children with a variety of needs, including those who are deaf, preschool aged, or language delayed; children with autism or dyslexia; and gifted children. Also known as a mentor, innovator, inspiration, and influencer, Zig developed systematic instruction programs that have been used by tens of thousands to teach millions of students around the world.

Zig’s passion for better teaching of all children led him to develop Direct Instruction (DI), a highly prescriptive model of reading instruction to teach children through methodically sequenced lessons offering practice and repetition. DI lessons are designed around small learning increments and clearly defined teaching tasks, and DI has consistently outperformed other methods in all subjects.

Zig, a former professor at the University of Oregon, died in February, 2019.

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Owen Engelmann

Using the scientifically validated DI method developed by his father, Owen has dedicated his professional life to improving educational experiences and outcomes for students, parents, educators, and schools. He has authored numerous DI programs and partnered with educational institutions around the globe to integrate DI reading, language arts, mathematics, ELL, and ESL platforms into schools in the US and abroad.

In his past work as Project Director for the National Institute for Direct Instruction, Owen implemented DI programs in substandard schools in Baltimore. Utilizing DI methods and training educators in the system, the schools elevated their scores from the bottom of the performance spectrum to the upper half.  One school improved from 114th place (out of 115 schools) to 12th place overall and 5th place in reading.

Owen strives for equally dramatic results every day. He cares deeply about educating children and believes that all students, no matter where they live or which school they attend, deserve the best possible education that will provide them the foundation for a fulfilling and successful life.