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IES Grant

Title: Efficacy of TeacherRead-MaestrosLeer for Enhancing the Foundational Language and Literacy Skills of Dual Language Learners
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: Bos, Johannes Awardee: American Institutes for Research (AIR)
Program: Early Learning Programs and Policies      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years (07/01/2022 – 06/30/2026) Award Amount: $3,798,194
Type: Initial Efficacy Award Number: R305A220086

Co-Principal Investigators: Artzi, Lauren; Pentimonti, Jill

Purpose: Interventions that improve the language and literacy outcomes of dual language learner (DLL) children before they enter kindergarten can improve the long-term academic outcomes of these children and produce long-term savings in supplemental and remedial education supports. Evidence about promising early interventions for DLLs is therefore highly policy relevant, especially since DLLs are a large and growing share of the U.S. student population. The purpose of this randomized controlled trial (RCT) is to evaluate the impact of TeacherRead-Maestros Leer (TRML) on the language and literacy skills of pre-K children who are Spanish-English Dual Language Learners (DLLs).

Project Activities: Researchers will conduct a three-level cluster randomized control trial (RCT). They will randomly assign preschool program sites to TRML or a control group. Teachers in the treatment group will receive initial training and ongoing coaching to implement the intervention. The research team will collect baseline data from program staff, teachers, and parents. They will assess children at baseline and follow-up (after completion of the 100-lesson program sequence). All children in the classroom will be screened upfront and the five children in each classroom with the lowest literacy skills (in English and Spanish) will receive the intervention. Teachers will deliver 20-minute small group shared book reading sessions five times a week to up to five children in their classroom for 20 weeks (100 lessons total). The research team will collect extensive implementation data, including lesson logs and shared book reading videos from treatment and control group teachers, cost and time use data from program staff and teachers, and qualitative process data on barriers to and facilitators of implementation. After children move into kindergarten, the research team will ask school districts to provide kindergarten readiness and English proficiency data. The research team will conduct impact analyses (full sample and subgroups), implementation fidelity analyses, dose-response analyses, cost-effectiveness analyses, and mediation analyses.

Products: Products will include a fully implemented and tested intervention (TRML), including  information about fidelity of implementation, barriers to and facilitators of implementation, program costs and cost-effectiveness, and short and longer-term impacts on the classroom reading environment and child outcomes. The dissemination products will be designed for a range of media (journals, newspapers, podcasts, videos) and a variety of academic and non-academic audiences.

Structured Abstract

Setting: The research will take place in Fresno County and Orange County in California. These two counties have some of the largest proportions of DLL students entering kindergarten in California. They include urban and rural areas. Children attend a variety of early learning and care (ELC) programs of different sizes and with different program and staffing resources.

Sample: The sample will include approximately 100 early learning and care providers across two cohorts from a population of over 2100 providers in the two counties. All children will be 4 or 5 years old and will be approximately one school year away from enrolling in kindergarten. Because the study focuses on Spanish-English DLLs, all children will be Latino. The study findings will generalize to DLL children in California but may also generalize to similar populations in other states.

Intervention: The TeacherRead-Maestros Leer (TRML) intervention is a version of TeacherRead, an IES-funded shared book reading intervention designed to improve the early language and literacy skills most closely linked to later reading development and to provide more intensive learning opportunities for struggling learners. TRML combines practices from three effective shared book reading interventions with evidence-based practices for DLLs to help young DLLs prepare for the transition into kindergarten. The shared book reading interventions include dialogic reading, print knowledge training, and phonological awareness training. The evidence-based instructional practices for DLLs include (a) explicit instruction with reinforcement, (b) use of Spanish-English bridging strategies, (c) additional peer engagement with language scaffolds, (d) enhanced vocabulary instruction, (e) nonlinguistic supports such as act outs, gestures, and images, and (f) use of books in the home language.

Research Design and Methods: Researchers will carry out a cluster randomized control trial with random assignment at the program/provider level, blocked by location, program type, program size, and other relevant characteristics.

Control Condition: Teachers in the control group will implement their usual classroom reading activities using the same books as the teachers in the treatment group. They will not have access to the professional development and coaching provided to teachers in the treatment group.

Key Measures: The research team will assess children at baseline and after the 20-week intervention period. They will use the Woodcock Johnson IV, Woodcock Muņoz IV, and Test of Preschool Early Literacy instruments. After children enter kindergarten, the research team will obtain teacher-reported Early Development Instruction kindergarten readiness data as well as the English Language Proficiency Assessments for California assessment of English proficiency, which will capture longer-term impacts of TRML. To assess the fidelity of implementation and describe the treatment contrast, they will collect and code class logs and classroom videos. They will collect extensive cost and time use data to assess TRML's net cost.

Data Analytic Strategy: Researchers will conduct impact analyses using an intent-to-treat framework, including moderation analyses to examine how impacts vary across subgroups. These analyses will be supplemented with descriptive quantitative and qualitative implementation analyses, mediation analyses (using structural equation modeling), and dose-response analyses.

Cost Analysis: The researchers will combine the cost data and the impact data to assess the cost effectiveness of TRML and make comparisons with other pre-K interventions.

Related IES Projects: Efficacy of a Targeted Shared Book Reading Intervention for Children Who Meet Screening Criteria in Pre-K (R305A170064); Development and Validation of the Systematic Assessment of Book Reading (R305A150587)