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An Exploration of Instructional Practices that Foster Language Development and Comprehension: Evidence from Prekindergarten through Grade 3 in Title I Schools

To date, efforts to include evidence-based instruction in large-scale reading programs have not generated meaningful improvements in student outcomes. To identify additional instructional practices that merit further evaluation, this evaluation brief provides an exploratory analysis of practices that are related to young students' growth in language skills and comprehension in listening and reading. The analysis is based on student test scores and observations of instructional practices in 1,035 classrooms in prekindergarten through grade 3 within 83 Title I schools during the 2011–2012 school year. Among the practices measured, those that were most consistently related to student growth include engaging students in defining new words, making connections between students' prior knowledge and the texts they read, promoting higher-order thinking, and focusing instruction on the meaning of texts.

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