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IES Grant

Title: Print Referencing Efficacy
Center: NCER Year: 2005
Principal Investigator: Justice, Laura Awardee: Ohio State University
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $2,626,659
Type: Efficacy and Replication Award Number: R305G050005

Previous Grant Number: R305G050057
Previous Institution: University of Virginia

Purpose: The preschool years are a critical period during which young children develop skills, knowledge, and interests in the code- and meaning-based aspects of written and spoken language. Research has shown that there are substantial early differences in children's emergent literacy skills and that those skills contribute to long-term outcomes in children's reading achievement. At the same time, research shows that intervening before children reach elementary school significantly decreases the likelihood of their developing reading difficulties. This research team will implement and rigorously evaluate a preschool literacy intervention designed to facilitate children's early achievements in print knowledge, including names of alphabet letters and the way in which print is organized and carries meaning in texts, including children's writing. The purpose of this project is to complete a systematic and rigorous replication and extension of research showing the effectiveness of the Print-Referencing Intervention in enhancing the literacy of all children, including those at risk of failure.

Setting: This project takes place in preschool classrooms in three states. Children living in the geographically isolated and rural coal-mining regions of Appalachia in Virginia and West Virginia, and children in the industrial urban regions of northern Ohio are participating.

Population: A total of 540 4-year-old children attending preschool classrooms serving at-risk children are participating in this research study. Many of these children live in low-income families and are attending Head Start. The majority of participating children are non-Hispanic white (estimated at 86 percent). Approximately 11 percent of the participating children are African-American and 3 percent are Hispanic.

Intervention: The Print-Referencing Intervention is an intervention approach designed to accelerate print knowledge in young children. During shared book reading interactions, teachers systematically and explicitly draw children's attention toward print. The intervention occurs over 30 weeks of instruction.

Research Design and Methods: Children in 90 preschool classrooms are being randomly assigned to one of three conditions, two experimental and one control. One group of experimental classrooms experiences daily explicit exposure to print in storybooks, while the second group of experimental classrooms experiences biweekly explicit exposure to print in storybooks. In addition to answering the central research question examining print-referencing effectiveness, the researchers are also addressing questions examining the processes and mechanisms of the intervention approach, such as the unique influence of procedural fidelity versus implementation quality, and potential moderators of effect (e.g., children's language ability, home literacy experiences).

Control Condition: Children in control classrooms experience daily implicit exposure to print in storybooks. This experience is the same as regular instruction that occurs during shared book reading in preschool classrooms. Control teachers receive the same 30 print-salient storybooks provided to the experimental teachers and are asked to read each week's book four times during its scheduled week.

Key Measures: Observational and descriptive measures of implementation fidelity, implementation quality, and potential moderators of child outcomes are being collected. A series of standardized measures are being used to assess child outcomes in literacy and academic adjustment.

Data Analytic Strategy: Given the nested design of children clustered in classrooms and the research team's interest in exploring moderators of impact, the major analytic techniques being employed include growth curve modeling using structural equation modeling. Descriptive analyses are also being carried out.



Justice, L.M., and Sofka, A. (2010). Engaging Children With Print: Building Early Literacy Skills Through Quality Read-Alouds. (1st ed.). New York : Guilford Press.

Book chapter

Justice, L.M., and McGinty, A. (2012). Early Literacy Intervention Intensity and its Relation to Child Outcomes. In C. Howes, B. Hamre, and R. Pianta (Eds.), Effective Early Childhood Professional Development: Improving Teacher Practice and Child Outcomes (NCRECE) (1st ed., pp. 89–110). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookes.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Bowles, R.P., Pentimonti, J.M., Gerde, H.K., and Montroy, J.J. (2014). Item Response Analysis of Uppercase and Lowercase Letter Name Knowledge. Journal of Psychoeducational Assessment, 32(2), 146–156.

Breit-Smith, A., Justice, L.M., McGinty, A.S., and Kaderavek, J. (2009). How Often and how Much?: Intensity of Print Referencing Intervention. Topics in Lauguage Disorders, 29(4): 360–369.

Cabell, S.Q., Justice L.M., Konold, T., and McGinty, A.S. (2011). Profiles of Emergent Literacy Skills Among Preschool Children who are at Risk for Academic Difficulties. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26(1): 1–14.

Dobbs-Oates, J., Kaderavek, J.N., Guo, Y., and Justice, L.M. (2011). Effective Behavior Management in Preschool Classrooms and Children's Task Orientation: Enhancing Emergent Literacy and Language Development. Early Childhood Research Quarterly , 26(4): 420–429.

Dynia, J.M., Justice, L.M., Piasta, S.B., and Kaderavek, J.N. (2013). Text Features and Preschool Teachers' Use of Print Referencing. Journal of Research in Reading, 36(3): 261–279.

Glenn-Applegate, K., Breit-Smith, A., Justice, L.M., and Piasta, S. (2010). Artfulness in Young Children's Spoken Narratives. Early Education and Development, 21(3): 468–493.

Guo, Y., Justice, L.M., Kaderavek, J., and McGinty, A.S. (2012). The Literacy Environment of Preschool Classrooms: Contributions to Children's Emergent Literacy Growth. Journal of Research in Reading, 35(3): 308–327.

Guo, Y., Justice, L.M., Piasta, S., and Kaderavek, J. (2010). Relations Among Preschool Teachers' Self-Efficacy, Classroom Quality, and Children's Language and Literacy Gains. Teaching and Teacher Education, 26(4): 1094–1103.

Guo, Y., Justice, L.M., Sawyer, B., and Tompkins, V. (2011). Exploring Factors Related to Preschool Teachers' Self-Efficacy. Teaching and Teacher Education, 27(5): 961–968.

Guo, Y., Kaderavek, J., Piasta, S., Justice, L.M., and McGinty, A. (2011). Preschool Teachers' Sense of Community, Instructional Quality, and Children's Language and Literacy Gains. Early Education and Development, 22(2): 206–233.

Justice, L.M., Bowles, R., Pence Turnbull, K., and Gosse, C. (2010). A Scalable Tool for Assessing Children's Language Abilities Within a Narrative Context: The NAP (Narrative Assessment Protocol). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 25(2): 218–234.

Justice, L.M., Kaderavek, J., Fan, X., Sofka, A., and Hunt, A. (2009). Accelerating Preschoolers' Early Literacy Development Through Classroom-Based Teacher-Child Storybook Reading and Explicit Print Referencing. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 40(1): 67–85.

Justice, L.M., McGinty, A., Piasta, S., Kaderavek, J., and Fan, X. (2010). Print-Focused Read-Alouds in Preschool Classrooms: Intervention Effectiveness and Moderators of Child Outcomes. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 41(4): 504–520.

Kaderavek, J.N., and Justice, L.M. (2010). Fidelity: An Essential Component of Evidence-Based Practice in Speech-Language Pathology. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 19(4): 369–379.

Logan, J.R., Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., Schatschneider, C., and Petrill, S. (2011). Children's Attendance Rates and Quality of Teacher-Child Interactions in At-Risk Preschool Classrooms: Contribution to Children's Expressive Language Growth. Child and Youth Care Forum, 40(6): 457–477.

Mcginty, A., Justice, L.M., and Rimm-Kaufman, S.E. (2008). Sense of School Community for Preschool Teachers Serving At-Risk Pupils. Early Education and Development, 19(2): 361–384.

McGinty, A.S., Breit-Smith, A., Justice, L.M., Kaderavek, J.N., and Fan, X. (2011). Does Intensity Matter? Preschoolers' Print Knowledge Development Within a Classroom-Based Intervention. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26(3): 255–267.

McGinty, A.S., Justice, L.M., Piasta, S.B., and Kaderavek, J. (2012). Does Context Matter? Explicit Print Instruction During Reading Varies in its Influence by Child and Classroom Factors. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(1): 77–89.

Pentimonti, J.M., Zucker, T.A., Justice, L.M., Petscher, Y., Piasta, S.B., and Kaderavek, J.N. (2012). A Standardized Tool for Assessing the Quality of Classroom-Based Shared Reading: Systematic Assessment of Book Reading (SABR). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(3):

Piasta, S., Dynia, J., Justice, L.M., Pentimonti, J., and Schatschneider, C. (2010). Impact of Professional Development on Preschool Teachers' Print References During Shared Read Alouds: A Latent Growth Curve Analysis. Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, 3(4): 343–380.

Piasta, S.B., Justice, L.M., McGinty, A.S., and Kaderavek, J.N. (2012). Increasing Young Children's Contact With Print During Shared Reading: Longitudinal Effects on Literacy Achievement. Child Development, 83(3): 810–820.

Piasta, S.B., Petscher, Y., and Justice, L.M. (2012). How Many Letters Should Preschoolers in Public Programs Know? The Diagnostic Efficiency of Various Preschool Letter-Naming Benchmarks for Predicting First-Grade Literacy Achievement. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(4): 945–958.

Tortorelli, L.S., Bowles, R.P., and Skibbe, L E. (2017). Easy as AcHGzrjq: The Quick Letter Name Knowledge Assessment. The Reading Teacher, 71(2), 145–156.