WWC review of this study

Outcomes of an enhanced literacy curriculum on the emergent literacy skills of Head Start preschoolers.

Pietrangelo, D. J. (1999). Dissertation Abstracts International, 60 (4), 1014A. (UMI No. 9927614).

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    129
     Students
    , grade
    PK
No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: December 2006

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

Word memory

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

4.37

3.98

No

--
More Outcomes

Sentence memory

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

10.24

10.11

No

--
Early reading/writing outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Invented spelling

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

0.45

0.28

No

--
More Outcomes

Word Identification

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

0.63

0.69

No

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

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test III (PPVT-III)

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

93.78

92.5

No

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

Phoneme blending

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

6.56

5.23

No

 
 
18
More Outcomes

Alliteration

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

5.02

4.31

No

 
 
15

Rhyming

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

7.1

5.94

No

 
 
15
Print knowledge outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Print conventions

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

5.96

5.45

No

--
More Outcomes

Alphabet knowledge

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

24.29

23.68

No

--

Letter identification

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

12.25

11.45

No

--

Letter-sound correspondence

Phonological Awareness Training plus Letter Knowledge Training vs. Business as usual

Posttest

4 year olds;
129 students

1.97

1.61

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 17% English language learners

  • Female: 48%
    Male: 52%
  • Race
    Asian
    7%
    Black
    29%
    White
    42%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    22%
    Not Hispanic
    88%
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    New York

Setting

The study took place in a Head Start program in upstate New York.

Study sample

The study began with 139 four-year-old low-income children. During the course of the study, 10 children left the study, resulting in a final sample of 129 children from 10 classes. Eighty-three percent of the treatment and comparison children came from English-speaking families, and 17% of the children resided with non-English-speaking families. Twenty-nine percent of the children were black, 22% were Hispanic or Latino, 42% were white, and 7% were Asian (primarily Afghan). Forty-eight percent of the children were female. Classrooms were first matched on half-day or full-day status, and nine of the classrooms were randomly assigned to either the intervention or comparison conditions. The 10th classroom was placed in the comparison group because the intervention materials were not accessible to the teacher. Because the 10th classroom was assigned by convenience, the design for this study is quasi-experimental.

Intervention Group

The children in the intervention group participated in 14 weeks of early literacy instruction designed to supplement the existing Head Start curriculum. The early literacy instruction focused on teaching phonological awareness skills and letter knowledge, such as letter names, letter sounds, and phonemic composition of words. Twenty pre-school books were introduced in large and small groups (about six children per small group), and children were encouraged to participate in discussions and to read. Children were also exposed to explicit instruction in letter names and letter sounds, and each lesson plan included phoneme awareness training using game-like activities.

Comparison Group

The children in the comparison group participated in their regular Head Start curriculum that consisted of few emergent literacy activities and varied book reading activities.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome domains assessed were oral language, print knowledge, phonological processing, early reading/writing, and cognition. Oral language was measured with the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT-III), a standardized measure. Print knowledge was assessed with four nonstandardized measures—alphabet knowledge, letter identification, letter-sound correspondence, and print conventions. Phonological processing was assessed with three nonstandardized measures—alliteration, rhyming, and phoneme blending. Early reading/writing was assessed with two nonstandardized measures—invented spelling and word identification. The cognition domain was assessed with two nonstandardized measures—sentence memory and word memory. (See Appendices A2.1–A2.5 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.)

Support for implementation

Teachers received an orientation packet, participated in one session of training prior to the intervention, and received weekly training once the intervention began. During the weekly training, teachers reviewed lesson plans, and trainers addressed teacher concerns and suggestions and answered teacher questions. Because teachers implemented the intervention in their respective program and groups, they were familiar with the children in the intervention and comparison conditions.

 

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