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National Center for Education Evaluation and Regional Assistance

National Evaluation of Early Reading First

The No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001 created the Early Reading First (ERF) program to provide funding to preschools, particularly those that serve children from low-income families, to support the development of children's language and literacy skills. NCLB mandated that the Department conduct an independent evaluation of the ERF program to assess the impact of the program on both children's literacy skills as well as the instructional content and practices in preschool classrooms. Using a quasi-experimental design, the study found that the program had a positive impact on children's print and letter knowledge, but not on phonological awareness or oral language. The program had positive impacts on aspects of the classroom environment and teacher practices that are intended to support the development of language and literacy skills.

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