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IES Grant

Title: Project ILIAD: Independent Lexical Instruction and Development
Center: NCSER Year: 2006
Principal Investigator: Goldstein, Howard Awardee: Florida State University
Program: Reading, Writing, and Language      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5/1/2006 to 4/30/2009 Award Amount: $1,338,773
Type: Development and Innovation Award Number: R324L060023

Purpose: The purpose of Project ILIAD (Independent Lexical Instruction and Development) is to develop a comprehensive intervention program of vocabulary instruction that can be applied reliably and effectively in grades K–3. This research will compare a focus on vocabulary enhancement versus a focus on phonics as a means of preventing and intervening with children with and at-risk for delays in reading, language, and academic development. These 15–20 min daily interventions supplement on-going literacy instruction in the classroom.

Project Activities: Researchers will develop a comprehensive early intervention program of vocabulary instruction that can be applied reliably and effectively in K–3rd grade. Audio CDs will be created for use in "listening centers" that will deliver instruction in a highly engaging manner and with controlled treatment fidelity. The vocabulary intervention is supplemental to a core curriculum and consists of daily 15–20 minute lessons. The efficacy will be investigated by comparing the vocabulary intervention group to a phonological awareness/phonics intervention group.

Products: The expected outcomes from this study include:

  1. Development of an easy-to-implement, automated supplement to reading instruction curriculum for the early grades, and
  2. Published reports on the potential efficacy of the intervention.

Setting: The elementary schools are located in Florida.

Population: Approximately 292 students (146 K students and 146 1st grade students) from low-income environments will participate in a 3-year study. Participants will include children with disabilities and children at high-risk for developmental disabilities. Students with developmental disabilities who are not included at least part-time in general education classrooms will be excluded.

Intervention: There are two intervention conditions: Project ILIAD and Phonological Awareness/Phonics Intervention.

Project ILIAD is a vocabulary intervention that consists of five 6-week units presented during the school year. The curriculum incorporates the following requirements for effective and efficient vocabulary instruction: (1) Provide lots of opportunities for language stimulation and opportunities to respond. (2) Engage children in language learning and use consistently and frequently. (3) Provide repeated exposure to words in context. (4) Ensure high fidelity of implementation and easy use for teachers. (5) Include language and vocabulary that relates to current curriculum, but also prepares children for future curricular requirements. (6) Select challenging words consistent with high academic standards, but ensure high levels of student success. (7) Include assessments sensitive to varying levels of knowledge associated with word learning.

The Phonological Awareness/Phonics Intervention uses scientifically-based principles outlined by the NRP (2000) to teach decoding and encoding skills. The intervention will include instruction in rhyming, alliteration, blending, and segmenting. In addition, children will received explicit instruction in phonics. Lessons will progress in difficulty from learning consonant sounds to explicit instruction on alternate spellings and syllabic spelling patterns.

Both interventions are administered in "listening centers" that are largely independent of direct teacher involvement. Each center has a CD player and headphones to accommodate 3 to 6 students. Each child is provided with a daily packet that contains a copy of a decodable book, a worksheet, and a writing implement. All children listen to a story and engage in choral reading at the beginning of each session. Children listen to the CD and complete the vocabulary or phonics worksheets independently following the instructions provided. A question-and-answer review session concludes each session.

Research Design and Methods: Short- and long-term efficacy will be investigated by randomly assigning students with or at-risk for language and reading disabilities to either a curriculum-based vocabulary program or a phonological awareness/phonics comparison group. A total of 146 kindergarten and 146 1st graders will be randomly assigned to two intervention groups in Year 01 and will continue in those interventions for three years; 36% of those students are expected to demonstrate significant language delays or be identified for special education services. This study will employ a longitudinal sequential design that will enroll two cohorts of children who will be followed for 3 years, beginning in K or 1st grade. Short-term effects will be assessed using multiple measures of vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and decoding abilities.

Control Condition: There is no control condition. Two intervention conditions will be compared (Project ILIAD and Phonological Awareness/Phonics Intervention).

Key Measures: Measures will include vocabulary assessments (5 researcher-developed and 2 standardized measures), phonics assessments (2 researcher-developed and 1 standardized measure), literacy assessments (9 standardized measures), language and cognition assessments (2 standardized batteries), academic achievement assessments (2 standardized batteries), and behavioral assessments (direct observation of attendance and on-task behavior). All measures will be used to generate 10 latent variables: (1) trained vocabulary; (2) generalized vocabulary; (3) phonological processing; (4) decoding accuracy; (5) decoding fluency - individual words; (6) decoding fluency - connected text; (7) encoding; (8) reading comprehension; (9) general cognitive ability; and (10) general language ability. Various measures will be administered weekly, every 6 weeks, every semester, or annually depending on its purpose.

Data Analytic Strategy: Effects will be analyzed using ANCOVA mixed designs (group x repeated measures). Long-term effects will be assessed using standardized measures of vocabulary, phonological processing, decoding fluency, encoding, reading comprehension, language abilities, cognitive abilities, and academic achievement, as well as receipt of special education and related services. Latent variable HLM analyses will augment these analyses in the evaluation of longitudinal effects over 3 years of data collection. Moderators of growth, such as initial achievement measures and child characteristics, will be examined.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Ziolkowski, R.A, and Goldstein, H. (2008). Effects of an Embedded Phonological Awareness Intervention During Repeated Book Reading on Preschool Children With Language Delays. Journal of Early Intervention, 31(1): 67–90. doi:10.1177/1053815108324808