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IES Grant

Title: Professional Development in Early Reading (Classroom Links to Early Literacy)
Center: NCER Year: 2004
Principal Investigator: Powell, Douglas Awardee: Purdue University
Program: Effective Instruction      [Program Details]
Award Period: 3 years Award Amount: $1,418,091
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R305M040167
Description:

Children from economically disadvantaged families often have lower levels of knowledge and skills at kindergarten entry than do children from non-poor families-skills that have been found to predict achievement during the school years. In general, there are few research-based models of professional development to improve the quality of early reading instruction. In particular, very little work has been conducted to develop and test professional development models for teachers in rural areas in which easy access to coaches or master teachers may be limited. The purpose of the current study is to examine the relative effects of two variants of a semester-long professional development intervention incorporating coaching, workshops, and case examples to improve teacher practices and child literacy outcomes.

Well-planned pre-kindergarten programs have been shown to be effective in narrowing these kindergarten-entry gaps in knowledge and skills. In particular, high quality preschool interventions focused on early reading have been found to improve skills that are predictive of subsequent reading ability. Currently, however, there are few research-based models of professional development to improve the quality of early reading instruction in general; less work has been conducted to develop and test professional development models for teachers in rural areas in which easy access to coaches or master teachers may be limited.

The purpose of the current study is to examine the relative effects of two variants of a semester-long professional development intervention incorporating coaching, workshops, and case examples to improve teacher practices and child literacy outcomes. Participants include 80 Head Start teachers and six children from each teacher's classroom (for a total of 480 student participants). Teachers are randomly assigned to receive either on-site or web-based remote coaching. Teachers in the on-site condition receive classroom visits from an expert coach twice each month, with immediate feedback designed to improve early reading instructional practices. Teachers in the remote coaching condition use digital video to record themselves twice a month while engaged in specific activities designed to support early reading and writing development. Videos are mailed to the coaching program; coaches then provide feedback to teachers via the program's website. Feedback includes commentary with links to cases demonstrating best practices. Case-based hypermedia that feature videos of best practices with links to explanatory text and additional instructional resources are provided for teachers in the remote coaching conditions; these cases are also available to teachers in the on-site coaching condition through a website, but are not emphasized. Teachers in both conditions participate in workshops designed to introduce and review key information about best practices for supporting early reading and writing development.

Observational assessments of teacher practices and classroom characteristics, and direct assessments of children's literacy skills will be conducted prior to and following the coaching intervention. Classroom-level observational data will be collected in the semester prior to the coaching semester as well as at the beginning and end of the semester during which coaching occurs, permitting analysis of both the effects of coaching on teachers' practice and the differential effects of the two coaching interventions. Child data, collected before and after the intervention using standardized measures of language and early reading competence, will be used to determine whether there are differential effects of on-site versus remote coaching on children's language and literacy outcomes. The overall goal of this project is to develop efficient professional development methods that enable teachers to effectively implement best practices in early reading instruction that enhance the language and literacy skills of children from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds as they enter kindergarten.

Related IES Projects: Classroom Links to Vocabulary and Phonological Sensitivity Skills (R305B070605)

Publications

Book chapter

Douglas R.P., and Diamond, K.E. (2011). Improving the Outcomes of Coaching-Based Professional Development Interventions. In D.K. Dickinson, and S.B. Neuman (Eds.), Handbook of Early Literacy Research (pp. 295–307). New York: Guilford.

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Diamond, K.E., Gerde, H.K., and Powell, D.R. (2008). Development in Early Literacy Skills During the Pre-Kindergarten Year in Head Start: Relations Between Growth in Children's Writing and Understanding of Letters. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 23(4): 467–478.

Froiland, J.M., Powell, D.R., & Diamond, K.E. (2014). Relations Among Neighborhood Social Networks, Home Literacy Environments, and Children's Expressive Vocabulary in Suburban At-Risk Families. School Psychology International, 35(4), 429–444.

Froiland, J.M., Powell, D.R., Diamond, K.E., and Son, S.H.C. (2013). Neighborhood Socioeconomic Well-Being, Home Literacy, and Early Literacy Skills of At-Risk Preschoolers. Psychology in the Schools, 50(8), 755–769.

Gerde, H.K., and Powell, D.R. (2009). Teacher Education, Book-Reading Practices, and Children's Language Growth Across One Year of Head Start. Early Education and Development, 20(2): 211–237.

Powell, D.R., Diamond, K.E., and Koehler, M.J. (2010). Use of a Case-Based Hypermedia Resource in an Early Literacy Coaching Intervention With Pre-Kindergarten Teachers. Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 29(4): 239–249.

Powell, D.R., Diamond, K.E., Bojczyk, K.E., and Gerde, H.K. (2008). Head Start Teachers' Perspectives on Early Literacy. Journal of Literacy Research, 40: 422–460.

Powell, D.R., Diamond, K.E., Burchinal, M.R., and Koehler, M.J. (2010). Effects of an Early Literacy Professional Development Intervention on Head Start Teachers and Children. Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2): 299–312.

** This project was submitted to and funded under Teacher Quality: Reading and Writing in FY 2004.


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