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IES Grant

Title: Efficacy of the Core Knowledge Language Arts Read Aloud Program in Kindergarten through Second Grade Classrooms
Center: NCER Year: 2016
Principal Investigator: Cabell, Sonia Awardee: Florida State University
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (7/1/2016 – 6/30/2021) Award Amount: $3,299,999
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305A170635

Previous Award Number: R305A160181
Previous Awardee: University of Virginia

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of the Core Knowledge Language Arts: Listening and Learning (CKLL) read aloud program for children in kindergarten through second grade. Many students struggle with reading comprehension in the United States and research has suggested that teachers may foster the development of comprehension by reading aloud to students in primary grade classrooms. However, many teachers are not strategic in choosing texts to read aloud, or follow curricular programs that do not build coherent knowledge. The CKLL curriculum is in wide use in the United States, emphasizes content coherence within and across grades, and uses read alouds to build listening comprehension.

Project Activities: CKLL is a fully-developed curriculum focused on literature, science, and American and World history. In order to test the efficacy of participation in the CKLL program in improving student achievement outcomes, researchers will randomly assign schools to either receive CKLL or to receive the regular classroom practices already in place. Students in the treatment schools will receive a total of three years of CKLL in kindergarten, first, and second grades. Student achievement outcomes will be assessed prior to the intervention in kindergarten and again in the spring of kindergarten, the spring of first grade, and the spring of second grade.

Products: The products of this project will be evidence of the efficacy of CKLL intervention for kindergarten through second grade children, and peer reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in the eastern half of the United States.

Sample: Approximately 1,440 students in 48 schools, and their teachers, will participate in this study.

Intervention: CKLL is a fully-developed curriculum that includes 160 days of instruction (110–120 days of unique read alouds and 40–50 days of review, culminating projects, and brief curriculum-based assessments). Each read aloud is designed to last 45–60 minutes and lessons also include brief, explicit vocabulary instruction, and reinforcing information from read alouds through hands-on activities. Each domain includes a Teacher Anthology with information for the teacher regarding an introduction to the domain, alignment to the Common Core State Standards, specific instructional lessons, and the text of read alouds. Anthologies also include pacing guides, images that correspond to the read alouds, and supplemental guides for teachers serving English learners or students with special needs. The Core Knowledge Language Arts program (of which CKLL is a part) has shown evidence of promise for increasing students' reading comprehension and domain knowledge.

Research Design and Methods: This project uses a multi-site cluster randomized trial. Forty-eight schools in two districts will be randomly assigned within district to the CKLL condition or to a business-as-usual control condition. In Year 1 of the project, the project team will finalize recruitment, procedures for measuring fidelity, and work with schools to adjust scheduling to accommodate the required time commitments for CKLL. In Year 2 of the study, kindergarten classrooms in the treatment schools will begin implementing CKLL, and ten randomly selected students in these classrooms will be assessed pre-intervention and in the spring of kindergarten. Beginning in year 2, participating students will be assessed on their listening and reading comprehension, domain knowledge, and student vocabulary. In Year 3 of the study, the same treatment schools will begin implementing CKLL in first grade classrooms, and in Year 4, the same treatment schools will begin implementing CKLL in second grade. The same students will be followed and assessed in the spring of first grade and the spring of second grade. Randomly selected students from the control schools will also be assessed at the beginning of kindergarten, in the spring of kindergarten, spring of first grade, and spring of second grade.

Control Condition: Students receive standard classroom practices in place at the school.

Key Measures: Listening comprehension will be measured using the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals—Fifth Edition (CELF-SC), and the Test of Narrative Language (TNL). Domain knowledge will be measured using subtests of the Woodcock Johnson III Tests of Achievement. Reading comprehension will be assessed with the Gates-MacGinitie Reading Test. Finally, student vocabulary will be measured with a researcher-designed measure of CKLL vocabulary, the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test—Fourth Edition (PPVT), and the Expressive Vocabulary Test (EVT). Implementation fidelity and comparison group practices will be assessed using classroom observations and teacher logs.

Data Analytic Strategy: Multilevel modeling will be used to examine the efficacy of CKLL on student vocabulary, domain knowledge, and comprehension. The models will examine individual growth trajectories by testing time within children and children within schools. The team will run models for both linear and non-linear growth trajectories. Researchers will analyze classroom observation and teacher log data using descriptive statistics to examine whether teachers can implement CKLL with fidelity.