Contractors: Decision Information Resources; Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.; and University of Texas-Houston Health Sciences Center
Early Reading First is a discretionary grant program under NCLB designed to improve pre-reading and language instruction in early childhood programs. The program, funded at $113 million in FY08, targets funding toward early childhood programs that serve primarily low-income children, including Head Start centers, Title I preschools, Even Start Centers, State Pre-kindergartens, and independent child care centers. The program was designed to improve early reading and language instruction in early childhood programs serving primarily low-income children.
Congress mandated an independent national evaluation. The study examined:
The study used a quasi-experimental design (regression discontinuity) that provides unbiased estimates of program impact. The study focused on a single cohort of ERF applicants that applied for funding in Fiscal Year 2003, and compares child outcomes and literacy instruction between 28 sites that received grants and 37 sites that applied for, but did not receive, ERF funding. Data collection was conducted during the 2004–05 school year, and included individual assessments of four-year-old children's early language and literacy skills; classroom observations; and surveys of preschool directors, preschool teachers, and parents.
Duration: 3.8 years (July 29, 2003–May 28, 2007).
Current Status: The final report was released in June 2007 (see http://ies.ed.gov/ncee/pdf/20074007.pdf).