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IES Grant

Title: The Development and Efficacy of a Curriculum-Based Language and Early Literacy Intervention for Preschool Children with Developmental Disabilities
Center: NCSER Year: 2006
Principal Investigator: Wilcox, M. Jeanne Awardee: Arizona State University
Program: Early Intervention and Early Learning in Special Education      [Program Details]
Award Period: 7/1/2006 to 6/30/2009 Award Amount: $1,470,185
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324E060023
Description:

Purpose: The purposes of the proposed investigation are to (a) develop a language and early literacy curriculum called Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum for use with preschool children with developmental disabilities, (b) to evaluate the extent to which the addition of an explicit oral language teaching protocol (EOLT) further enhances children's gains in oral language, pre-reading, and pre-writing skills, and (c) to determine the intensity of intentional instruction required for all children to progress in the curriculum. Secondary purposes are to examine factors that influence children's response to the interventions, professional development and intervention fidelity, and the perceived value and feasibility of the interventions from the perspective of the preschool classroom personnel.

Project Activities: The researchers are developing an early literacy curriculum called Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum for use with preschool children with developmental disabilities. A repeated measures design with random assignment will be conducted across three conditions (i.e., Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum, Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum + EOLT, and contrast conditions) in three cohorts of preschool children, one cohort each project year. The first and second cohorts will be followed into kindergarten, and the first cohort will be followed into first grade. Language and early literacy outcomes will be measured at the beginning and end of each year. Data will be analyzed using mixed and multivariate ANOVA, growth models, and moderator/mediator analyses to determine the efficacy of the modified curriculum.

Products: The expected outcomes from this study include:

  1. A new intervention designed to support language and early literacy skills for use with preschool children with speech and language impairments or speech and language impairments and developmental delays,
  2. Mentoring, training, and developed materials on the adapted curriculum for teachers in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area; and
  3. Published reports on the efficacy of the intervention and the extent to which supplementing the intervention with an explicit oral language protocol further enhances gains in oral language, pre-reading, and pre-writing skills of children with developmental disabilities.

Purpose: This project will develop a language and early literacy curriculum called Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum for use with preschool children with developmental disabilities and evaluate the extent to which the addition of an explicit oral language teaching protocol (EOLT) further enhances children's gains in oral language, pre-reading, and pre-writing skills. It will also examine factors that influence children's response to the interventions, professional development and intervention fidelity, and the perceived value and feasibility of the interventions from the perspective of preschool classroom personnel.

Setting: The preschools are located in Arizona.

Population: Approximately, 45 classes and 216 preschool children will participate in this research. Of these 216 children, half of them will be children with speech and language impairments while the other half will be children with speech and language impairments plus developmental delay in other areas (e.g., cognitive) and have a nonverbal IQ of at least 65.

Intervention: Both experimental intervention conditions include the Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum intervention. The conditions are differentiated by the presence or absence of an EOLT. Teaching Emergent Literacy and Language across the Curriculum is a comprehensive curriculum designed to promote oral language and emergent literacy development in young children with developmental disabilities. An EOLT will be added to the curriculum in the second intervention condition. This will determine whether providing teachers with explicit oral language teaching strategies that can be integrated with the curriculum and infused across all classroom activities further enhances children's gains in oral language, pre-reading, and pre-writing skills.

For both intervention conditions, teachers and their teaching assistants will be provided with training, mentoring, and support to implement their assigned intervention for all children in their classrooms. A total of 24 hours of formal training is planned throughout the year for each intervention. This training includes three key activities tailored to the specific intervention: (a) Didactic instructional classes to give teaching teams the knowledge and skills to teach intervention content; (b) In-classroom mentoring to ensure that teachers know how to provide explicit and intentional instruction within teacher-directed and child-directed activities, and (c) Guided teacher practice in the classroom to ensure that training has a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction and teaching team performance.

Research Design and Methods: An experimental study implementing random assignment of classroom to treatment condition will be implemented to determine the potential efficacy of the two interventions as compared to each other and a business as usual control group. A sample of 45 preschool classrooms will be recruited from the Phoenix metropolitan area. This sample will be recruited in three cohorts of 15 classrooms, which will then be randomly assigned to treatment condition. In each condition, approximately 4–5 children with speech and language impairments or speech and language impairments plus developmental delay in other areas will be randomly selected, and their progress will be measured through preschool. In addition, the progress of children in the first cohort will be measured through first grade, and the progress of children in the second cohort will be measured through kindergarten.

Control Condition: The control groups will use the current preschool curriculum in their districts. One district will be implementing Creative Curriculum while the other will be implementing Hi-Scope.

Key Measures: Children's nonverbal cognitive abilities, expressive and receptive vocabulary development, pre-writing, and literacy skills will be measured. In addition, data on the print richness of the classroom literacy environments, teacher use of oral language teaching practices, and teacher perspective regarding classroom activities, goals and environment will be collected. Finally, parents will complete surveys regarding their home literacy environments including the availability of literacy items and implementation of literacy-focused activities.

Data Analytic Strategy: A combination of quantitative and qualitative analyses will be utilized to show evidence of the potential efficacy of the interventions and estimate growth trajectories over time for children with speech and language impairments and children with speech and language impairments plus developmental delay in other areas. The influences of family and home characteristics and environments on child outcomes will also be examined. Data will be analyzed using mixed and multivariate ANOVA, growth models, and moderator/mediator analyses to determine the efficacy of the modified curriculum.

Publications

Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Wilcox, M.J., Gray, S., Guimond, A., and Lafferty, A. (2011). Efficacy of the "TELL" Language and Literacy Curriculum for Preschoolers With Developmental Speech and/or Language Impairment. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 26(3): 278–294. doi:10.1016/j.ecresq.2010.12.003


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