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IES Grant

Title: Read It Again! In Early Childhood Special Education
Center: NCSER Year: 2013
Principal Investigator: Justice, Laura Awardee: Ohio State University
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/13–6/30/17 Award Amount: $3,500,000
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R324A130066
Description:

Purpose: The majority of children in early childhood special education programs exhibit disabilities that place them at high risk for future reading difficulties, including primary speech-language impairment or a general developmental delay in which language skills are impaired concomitantly with one or more other developmental domains, typically cognition. Children with primary speech-language impairment or a general developmental delay typically show significant lags in attainment of important early literacy skills during the preschool years, exhibit significantly poorer kindergarten readiness compared to their peers, and are susceptible to exhibiting a reading disability in the later primary grades. In the last decade, numerous intervention studies have focused on improving the language and literacy skills of young children. However, very few of these interventions emphasize teachers' use of differentiated instructional strategies, which are essential for such interventions to be used effectively in early childhood special education classrooms. Furthermore, very few available language and literacy interventions have been rigorously examined for their relevance to children with disabilities.

The purpose of this project is to examine the efficacy of an intervention called Read It Again! for children with disabilities enrolled in early childhood special education and their typically developing classmates over the academic year and during kindergarten. Read It Again! comprises 60 lessons delivered over a 30-week period in twice weekly whole-class sessions. Components of the intervention include a systematic scope and sequence of instruction targeting four key areas of literacy development (narrative, vocabulary, phonological awareness, and print knowledge) and embedding of explicit language and literacy instruction within shared-reading sessions.

Project Activities: The research team will conduct a randomized controlled trial of Read It Again! over the course of 4 years by recruiting over 100 early childhood special educators and their students. Two sequential cohorts of teachers will be assigned to a treatment or control condition and will participate in the study during an initial implementation year followed by a maintenance year. Data will be collected across a range of literacy outcomes at pretest and at posttest for each cohort of participants. Hierarchical linear models with children nested within classrooms will be used to compare the relative impacts of Read It Again! to the comparison condition on children's language, literacy, and school readiness outcomes.

Products: The main products from this project will be the assessment of evidence for the efficacy of Read It Again! in early childhood special education classrooms, peer-reviewed publications, and presentations.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in early intervention settings in Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Sample: Participants will include 104 early childhood special education classroom teachers, approximately 600 children with disabilities, and 400 typically developing children.

Intervention: Read It Again! is a 60-lesson intervention delivered over a 30-week period in whole-class sessions that center around a teacher-led shared book reading. The core components of the intervention include: (1) addressing a systematic scope and sequence of instruction targeting four key areas of literacy development: narrative, vocabulary, phonological awareness, and print knowledge; and (2) embedding explicit language and literacy instruction within shared-reading sessions, scaffolding the verbal participation and learning of children. The program is manualized, freely disseminated, and designed to promote high levels of implementation integrity.

Research Design and Methods: The research design involves a multilevel randomized controlled trial, implemented in two states, using a two-group pretest-posttest design to estimate the efficacy of Read It Again! on teacher and child outcomes. Two sequential cohorts of teachers and children will participate with approximately 100 teachers and an estimated 1,000 children sampled from their classrooms. Each cohort of teachers will participate for a 2-year period (an implementation year and a maintenance year) and fidelity of implementation will be measured during both years. Children will participate during the implementation year and then followed through kindergarten.

Control Condition: In the control condition, approximately 50 teachers will implement their business-as-usual classroom programs and practices.

Key Measures: Teacher measures include the Preschool Early Education Questionnaire, Teacher Knowledge Assessment Survey, Preschool Teacher Literacy Belief Questionnaire, and the Teacher Self-Efficacy Scale. The researchers will assess fidelity of implementation (e.g., adherence, exposure, program differentiation, and participant responsiveness) using lesson logs and videotaping of lessons along with a variety of specific fidelity measures developed for the Read It Again! program. The researchers will capture information about children's home literacy environments using the Home Literacy Environment survey and the Parental Reading Belief Inventory. Student print knowledge will be assessed using the Preschool Word and Print Awareness, the Alphabet Knowledge subtest of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening, and a short form measure of letter-sound knowledge to assess children's understanding of basic letter-sound correspondences. Phonological awareness will be measured by the Pre-Reading Inventory of Phonological Awareness. Narrative will be measured by the Narrative Assessment Protocol. Language ability, including vocabulary, will be measured by three subtests of the standardized, norm-referenced Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool–2. The Definitional Vocabulary subtest of the Test of Preschool Early Literacy will be used as an additional measure of vocabulary to capture more decontextualized knowledge of words. To assess children's cognitive abilities, the researchers will use the Kaufman Brief Intelligence Test-2 Nonverbal subtest.

Data Analytic Strategy: Hierarchical linear models with children nested within classrooms will be used to compare the effect of the Read It Again! intervention to business as usual on children's language, literacy, and school readiness outcomes. For language and literacy outcomes, the researchers will analyze the Read It Again! impact both at posttest and follow-up assessments using residualized change (posttest/follow-up scores controlling for pretest scores). For kindergarten readiness outcomes, the researchers will use children's initial language and literacy scores as covariates.

Related IES Projects: Efficacy of Read It Again! In Rural Preschool Settings (R305A080459)


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