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2006Research Conference | June 15–16

This conference highlighted the work of invited speakers, independent researchers who have received grant funds from the Institute of Education Sciences, and trainees supported through predoctoral training grants and postdoctoral fellowships. The presentations are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of the U.S. Department of Education or the Institute of Education Sciences.
Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Avenue, N.W.
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Evaluation of Preschool Curricula for Promoting Early Literacy Skills in Children At-Risk for Reading Difficulties

Christopher J Lonigan, Florida State University
Shauna Wilson, Florida State University
Jessica McQueen, Florida State University
David Purpura, Florida State University

Abstract: This presentation will report outcome data from the second year of our Preschool Curriculum Evaluation Research project. Using block-random assignment, schools were assigned to one of three conditions: (a) A business as usual control condition where teachers continued to use the preschool curriculum employed by the school district (in all cases, High Scope), (b) A curriculum condition in which DLM Early Childhood Express and Open Court Pre-K were used as a combined curriculum, and (c) A curriculum condition in which Literacy Express was used as the classroom curriculum. These conditions were held constant across the two years of the study. Year 1 of the study was a part of the PCER National Evaluation, and Year 2 of the study was conducted as a local evaluation of the impacts of the curricula. Multi-level modeling was used to examine the impacts of the curricula on children's skills taking into account the nested structure of the data. These analyses revealed that children in both experimental curriculum groups had significantly higher end of year scores in oral language, print knowledge, and phonological awareness. Use of a very conservative analytic strategy (i.e., using the fall score for the dependant variable as a covariate) also revealed significant effects for outcomes in the print knowledge and phonological awareness domains. Overall, these results indicate that preschool curricula with an academic-skills focus can have a significant impact on the early language and literacy skills of children who are at-risk of later problems in reading.