WWC review of this study

Teachers learning Ladders to Literacy.

O'Connor, R. E. (1999). Learning Disabilities Research and Practice, 14(4), 203-214. (Study A: Intensive Professional Development). Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ597273

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    105
     Students
    , grade
    K
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards with reservations

Reviewed: August 2007

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

Segmentation

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

22.71

10.69

Yes

 
 
46
More Outcomes

Woodcock-Johnson (WJ): Letter-Word Identification subtest

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

16.14

13

Yes

 
 
36

Short term memory

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

11.69

10.23

Yes

 
 
35

Blending

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

16.24

11.89

Yes

 
 
30

Rapid letter naming

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

45.5

36.32

Yes

 
 
26

Rhyme production

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

9.87

9.44

No

 
 
10
Comprehension outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
index

Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test (PPVT)

Ladders to Literacy vs. Business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
105 students

111.04

104.79

Yes

 
 
17

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.

  • Race
    Black
    42%
    Not specified
    4%
    White
    54%

  • Urban

Setting

The study took place in four schools in an urban district.

Study sample

Two schools volunteered to implement the intervention and two schools were recruited with a financial incentive (contributions to their school libraries) to serve as controls. Ten classes of 8 to 22 students participated in the study. Six of the ten teachers taught in general Kindergarten classes that included at least three children with disabilities. Two teachers taught in transition Kindergartens composed of students repeating Kindergarten (with or without diagnosed disabilities). Two teachers taught in special education classrooms. All classes included at least two children with disabilities. The children were predominantly European-American and African-American. Students were divided by ability level and labeled as typical learners or at-risk learners. At-risk learners were defined as children with low skills (children with high-incidence disabilities or whose standard scores fell below 85 at PPVT pretest). Pretest equivalence was not established for at-risk learners so this subgroup (including the two special education classes) was excluded from the review. Therefore, this intervention report focuses on the findings reported only for the typical learners. The analysis sample of typical learners included 64 students in the intervention group and 41 students in the comparison group across general education and transition classes.

Intervention Group

In addition to their typical pre-reading instruction, children in intervention classes were given more than twenty activities from the Ladders to Literacy book, including sound isolation, first sounds, rhyming pictures, rhyming, onsets and rhymes with first letters, invented spelling, story grammar, and integrating spelling and reading. The districtsponsored pre-reading curriculum included reading and discussing Big Books, learning letters of the alphabet and common sounds, and practicing writing of letters.

Comparison Group

Children in comparison classes received the same district-sponsored pre-reading curriculum as intervention classes. Children were also introduced to the concept of rhyme. Activities requiring blending or segmenting (beyond the initial sound) were not observed in any of the classes. The students were matched to the intervention students on the Peabody Picture Vocabulary Test and demographic variables.

Outcome descriptions

For both pretest and posttest, the author administered the Peabody Picture Vocabulary test, the test of Short Term Memory, the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement: Letter-Word Identification subtest, and four tasks: Rhyme Production, Segmenting, Blending, and Rapid Letter Naming. The Dictation subtest of the Woodcock Johnson Tests of Achievement was also used in the study but is not included because it is outside the scope of this Beginning Reading review. (See Appendices A2.1–2.3 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures.)

Support for implementation

In this intensive model of professional development, 14 days of teacher training were spread across the school year. Teachers discussed implementation of program activities, solved issues with materials, and shared data on the progress of their students. Teachers modeled instruction and rehearsed upcoming activities. Researchers worked with teachers to determine appropriate timing of activities and often observed students directly to supply the rationale for the next set of activities.

 

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