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IES Grant

Title: The Read Aloud Curriculum in First Grade Classrooms: Furthering Our Understanding of Immediate and Long-Term Impacts and Causal Influences
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Baker, Scott Awardee: Pacific Institutes for Research
Program: Reading and Writing      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $2,885,585
Goal: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305G050216

Co-Principal Investigators: Lana Edwards Santoro, David Chard

Purpose: Although much reading instruction in first grade is focused on developing children's word recognition skills, it is becoming increasingly apparent that reading success in third grade depends upon young children developing comprehension skills in the early grades. The researchers have developed and preliminarily evaluated a first-grade read aloud curriculum designed to expose children to narrative and expository text and provide instruction about the structural elements of text, key vocabulary, and how to make connections across related texts. The purpose of this project is to test the effectiveness of the Read Aloud Curriculum and to investigate factors that account for its impact. The researchers are examining the effects of the intervention on a range of student comprehension and vocabulary outcomes and are studying the degree to which student engagement during read aloud lessons contributes to learning. The research team is also gathering data at the end of second grade in order to judge the durability of the curriculum's effects.

Setting: This project will take place in working class communities in the Northwest and urban settings in the Mid-Atlantic.

Population: Two groups of students are participating in this project: native English speakers from working class communities and English language learners from urban settings.

Intervention: The Read Aloud Curriculum consists of nine two-week units on different animals, topics that are of high interest to first-grade students and also meet state content standards in science. Each unit pairs a narrative storybook and an expository book. Lessons include before, during, and after reading components, and emphasize setting a purpose for reading, building vocabulary knowledge, making text-to-text and text-to-life connections, and having children retell stories or information on a regular basis.

Research Design and Methods: Two groups of 12 teachers are randomly assigned to experimental and control conditions. Four successive student groups, nested within classroom, will participate in the experimental or control condition.

Control Condition: Teachers in the control condition engage in their normal read aloud practices. They will be asked to engage in read aloud activities for the same amount of time as the experimental teachers.

Key Measures: Both standardized and experimenter-developed measures are being used to assess (a) student comprehension and vocabulary knowledge, (b) student engagement during story read aloud, (c) implementation fidelity among teachers, and (d) teacher perceptions of the story read aloud time at general and specific levels.

Data Analytic Strategy: Multivariate analysis of variance techniques and hierarchical linear modeling will be used to test the effectiveness of the curriculum and the underlying factors that influence impact.

Related IES Projects: The Story Read Aloud Project: The Development of an Innovative Instructional Approach to Promote Comprehension and Vocabulary in First Grade Classrooms (R305G020057)


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Baker, S.K., Santoro, L., Chard, D.J., Fien, H., Park,Y., and Otterstedt, J. (2013). An Evaluation of an Explicit Read Aloud Intervention Taught in Whole-Classroom Formats in First Grade. The Elementary School Journal, 113(3): 331–358.

Fien, H., Santoro, L., Baker, S.K., Park, Y., Chard, D.J., Williams, S., and Haria, P. (2011). Enhancing Teacher Read Alouds With Small-Group Vocabulary Instruction for Students With Low Vocabulary in First-Grade Classrooms. School Psychology Review, 40(2): 307–318.

Santoro, L. E., Baker, S. K., Fien, H., Smith, J. L. M., & Chard, D. J. (2016). Using Read-Alouds to Help Struggling Readers Access and Comprehend Complex, Informational Text. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 48(6), 282–292.