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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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Professional Development Interventions to Improve Early Literacy and Language Outcomes

Douglas R. Powell, Purdue University
Karen E. Diamond, Purdue University

Abstract: This poster describes two professional development interventions that involve expert coaching aimed at improving Head Start classroom and teacher supports for literacy and language development, and children's language and literacy skills. In the first intervention, teachers participated in a university course that introduced evidence-based practices in early literacy through class sessions for teachers and half-day expert coaching sessions in classrooms. Classrooms (n=50) were assigned within geographic region (urban, suburban, rural) to intervention or wait-list control conditions. Classroom, teacher, and child (n=306 intervention, 157 control) outcome data were collected at the beginning, middle, and end of the school year. HLM was used to model the repeated measures over time. Classrooms in the intervention group showed significant, sustained increases on overall classroom literacy supports, provision of books and writing materials, and teachers' use of evidence-based book-reading practices. Classrooms in the control condition remained unchanged. There was a significant difference over time between intervention and control group children on concepts about print scores; the intervention group increased and the control group remained unchanged. Girls in the intervention group demonstrated significant gains in alphabet knowledge compared to control group girls. There were no group differences for boys. Results suggest that comprehensive professional development interventions are a promising focus of research on how to improve at-risk children's early reading competence. These results were used to inform a second intervention, now ongoing, in which two forms of expert coaching (on-site and remote) are being examined.