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IES Grant

Title: Reading RULES in Kindergarten: Development of a Small-Group Intervention to Support Emergent Reading and Writing
Center: NCER Year: 2018
Principal Investigator: Zucker, Tricia Awardee: University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
Program: Literacy      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years (07/01/2018-06/30/2021) Award Amount: $1,399,980
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305A180094

Co-Principal Investigator: Colby Hall

Purpose: In this project, researchers will revise and extend Reading RULES for Kindergarten (RRK), a small-group literacy intervention aimed at improving kindergarten students' word study and text reading. Early literacy skills are important predictors of later reading and writing achievement, but students enter kindergarten with varying levels of literacy skills and abilities. To date, there are few interventions that provide integrated reading and writing instruction for kindergarten students. The current project will revise existing materials, add vocabulary instruction, and develop new components on oral language and writing to help address that need.

Project Activities: In years 1 and 2, the researchers will iteratively develop the new components for RRK and revise existing components. Teachers will provide input on the development, and components will be tested with students and teachers. In the final year, the research team will pilot-test RRK with teachers and their students using a random assignment design.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed RRK, evidence of RRK's promise to improve student reading and writing outcomes, and peer reviewed publications. The researchers will also publish in practitioner journals, prepare reports for participating schools, and develop a website.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This project will take place in urban, rural, and suburban districts in Texas.

Sample: Participants in this study include approximately 100 kindergarten students and their 32 teachers.

Intervention: RRK is a small-group intervention for use with kindergarten students. The intervention features a word study component that provides explicit instruction in alphabetic knowledge, phonological awareness, phonics, word reading, and sound analysis/spelling. Additional components include: integrated handwriting lessons that teach pencil grip and letter formation; text reading that includes existing RRK shared reading books; and oral language/comprehension/decoding that teaches students to form sentences orally, interact verbally with peers, and respond to questions about text verbally and in writing. The intervention will include texts, mastery tests, and professional development for teachers.

Research Design and Methods: In years 1 and 2, researchers will work with participating teachers to develop and revise the intervention. Focus groups with teachers will inform design and development of prototypes, which will be implemented by teachers, and evaluated based on student and teacher data. Revisions will be made based on these evaluations. In the final year, researchers will randomly assign teachers and their students to a treatment group that uses RRK or to a control group that does not.

Control Condition: In the comparison condition, students receive standard classroom practices in place at the school.

Key Measures: Measures for this study includes subscales of the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS), and subscales of the Woodcock-Johnson Tests of Achievement IV. Other measures include assessments of listening comprehension, oral sentence formation, and handwriting. The research team will use teacher logs, coaching logs, and teacher focus groups and interviews to assess fidelity of implementation, feasibility, and usability.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will use analysis of covariance to examine the promise of RRK for improving student reading and writing outcomes. Additionally, they will use non-parametric tests to determine if RRK results in more students moving from at-risk to not-at-risk status than in the control group.