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A Study of Classroom Literacy Interventions and Outcomes in Even Start

NCEE 2008-4028
September 2008

Executive Summary

The Even Start Family Literacy Program was established in 1989 (P.L. 107- 110, Sec. 1231) to help break the cycle of poverty and illiteracy for low-income families, by improving the literacy skills of parents and their young children (U.S. Department of Education 2003). Even Start projects offer family literacy services, defined as four integrated instructional components (P.L. 107-110, Sec. 9101 (20)):

  • Early Childhood Education (ECE);
  • Parenting Education (PE);
  • Parent-Child Literacy Activities (PC); and
  • Adult Education (AE).

Two previous studies of the Even Start Program showed that parents and children who participated in Even Start did not have better literacy outcomes than parents and children in a randomly assigned control group that did not receive Even Start services. The Even Start Classroom Literacy Interventions and Outcomes (CLIO) Study is the third randomized study of Even Start. As opposed to the earlier evaluations that investigated the effectiveness of Even Start relative to randomly assigned control groups in which parents and children were not enrolled in Even Start, the CLIO study was intended to intervene by offering the combination of research-based, literacyfocused early childhood education and parenting education curricula (the “CLIO combined curricula”). The CLIO study was intended to determine (1) whether the CLIO combined curricula were more effective than existing Even Start instructional services, and (2) whether research-based parenting education curricula that focus on child literacy (the “CLIO parenting curricula”) added value to research-based, literacyfocused early childhood education curricula (the “CLIO preschool curricula”).

This report presents 2-year impacts of the CLIO curricula on child language, literacy, and social competence; parenting skills; parent literacy; and instructional practices and participation in preschool and parenting classes.