WWC review of this study

Promoting the development of preschool children’s emergent literacy skills: A randomized evaluation of a literacy-focused curriculum and two professional development models.

Lonigan, C. J., Farver, J. M., Clancy-Menchetti, J., & Phillips, B. M. (2005, April). Paper presented at the biennial meeting of the Society for Research in Child Development, Atlanta, GA. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ915825

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    722
     Students
    , grade
    PK
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: July 2010

Cognition outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Word Span subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

8.86

8.54

No

--
More Outcomes

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Rapid Object Naming subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

48.21

49.57

No

--

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Non-Word Repetition subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

9.07

9.55

No

--
Oral language outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Preschool Language Scale- IV (PLS-IV): Expressive Communication subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

53.35

50.66

Yes

 
 
12
Phonological processing outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Elision subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

8.86

7.43

Yes

 
 
15
More Outcomes

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Blending subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

14.15

13.47

No

--
Print knowledge outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP): Print Knowledge subtest

Literacy Express vs. Business as Usual

Posttest

Preschoolers;
722 students

17.55

14.7

Yes

 
 
13

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 49%
    Male: 51%
  • Race
    Black
    56%
    Not specified
    1%
    White
    8%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    35%
    Not Hispanic
    65%
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    California, Florida

Setting

The study took place in 18 preschools in Tallahassee, Florida, and 30 preschools in Los Angeles, California. The majority of the preschools (77%) were Head Start programs

Study sample

Eighteen preschools from Tallahassee, Florida, and 30 preschools from Los Angeles, California, were randomly assigned to a Literacy Express workshop group, a Literacy Express workshop plus mentoring group, or a control condition. This resulted in 15 preschools in each of the two Literacy Express groups and 18 preschools in the control group. The study began with 808 preschool children ranging in age from 36 to 69 months (mean age = 50.63 months). At posttest, 722 children remained in the sample and ranged in age from 36 to 69 months (mean age = 50.71 months). The sample included 55.7% African-American children, 35.2% Latino/Hispanic children, 7.9% Caucasian children, and 1.1% children of other races and ethnicities. Forty-nine percent of the children were female; 52% of the children in the California sites and 1% of the children in the Florida sites were Spanish-speaking English language learners. All children were considered at risk for academic difficulties as determined by pretest scores on a measure of cognitive performance.

Intervention Group

Preschools in the intervention group participated in a Literacy Express plus professional development via workshops group (“workshop group”) or a Literacy Express plus professional development via workshops and mentoring group (“mentoring group”). Literacy Express is a preschool literacy-focused curriculum that is intended to promote children’s emergent literacy skills. The curriculum used in this study (an earlier version) was structured around 11 thematic units (with games and activities in each unit) that were sequenced in order of complexity. In the earlier and the current versions of this curriculum, each unit includes children’s books that address theme-relevant vocabulary for small- and large-group reading activities. Each thematic unit includes small-group activities that provide children with the opportunity to attend to and practice skills related to oral language, phonological sensitivity, and print awareness and to receive individual feedback. Small-group activities are conducted three or four times a week. The curriculum provides guidance to teachers on grouping children who are progressing at similar rates. Large-group and extension activities provide opportunities for children to use new skills. The workshop group teachers participated in two-day workshops at the beginning of the school year and three half-day workshops during the school year. The mentoring group teachers participated in the same workshops and received regular classroom visits by a trained project mentor.

Comparison Group

Classrooms in the business-as-usual comparison group participated in the preschool’s standard curriculum, which in most cases was High/Scope or Creative Curriculum®

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domains assessed were children’s oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, and cognition, all of which were assessed with standardized measures. Oral language was assessed with the Expressive Communication subtest from the Preschool Language Scales–IV (PLS-IV). Print knowledge was assessed with the Print Knowledge subtest from the Preschool Comprehensive Test of Phonological and Print Processing (Pre-CTOPPP). Phonological processing was assessed with the Blending and Elision subtests from the Pre-CTOPPP. Cognition was assessed with three subtests from the Pre-CTOPPP: Non-Word Repetition, Word Span, and Rapid Object Naming. Pretesting was done in fall of the preschool year, and posttesting was done in spring of the preschool year. Trained research staff administered all assessments in a quasi-random order at pretest and posttest. All assessments were conducted with all children in English. Research staff also observed the study classrooms for three hours twice a year to determine implementation fidelity and to administer two general measures of classroom language and literacy, but these measures are not discussed further in this WWC intervention report. For a more detailed description of the outcome measures, see Appendices A2.1–A2.5.

Support for implementation

The research staff provided all materials and training for the Literacy Express intervention groups. Classroom teachers and aides attended a two-day curriculum-specific professional development workshop at the start of the school year, as well as three half-day curriculum-specific professional development workshops throughout the school year. In all workshops, staff participated in both teacher-directed and hands-on components. Classroom staff in the mentoring group received regular classroom visits throughout the school year from trained project teacher-mentors in addition to the professional development activities.

In the case of multiple manuscripts that report on one study, the WWC selects one manuscript as the primary citation and lists other manuscripts that describe the study as additional sources.

  • Farver, J. A. M. (2005). Best practices in promoting literacy in young ethnic minority children: Lessons from the United States. Beijing, China: Soong Ching Ling Foundation and UNICEF.

  • Lonigan, C. J. (2006). Development, assessment, and promotion of preliteracy skills. Early Education and Development, 17(1), 91–114.

  • Lonigan, C. J., Farver, J. M., Clancy-Menchetti, J., & Phillips, B. M. (2005, June). Promoting the development of preschool children’s emergent literacy skills: A randomized evaluation of a literacy-focused curriculum and two professional development models. Paper presented at the 12th annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

 

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