WWC review of this study

Teachers learning Ladders to Literacy.

O'Connor, R. E. (1999). Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 14 (4), 203–214. (Study B: Traditional Professional Development).

  • Quasi-Experimental Design
     examining 
    318
     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;
318 students

20.63

11.39

Yes

 
 
32
More Outcomes

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

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
318 students

13.45

12.08

Yes

 
 
17

Rapid letter naming

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
318 students

36.67

31.51

Yes

 
 
11

Rhyme production

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
318 students

5.18

4.22

No

--

Short term memory

Ladders to Literacy vs. business as usual

Posttest

Kindergarten;
318 students

9.95

9.61

No

--
Comprehension outcomes—Indeterminate 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;
318 students

100.6

100.39

No

--

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


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    Midwest

Setting

The study took place in a large rural midwestern district.

Study sample

All the Kindergarten teachers in a district participated and were assigned to an in-service or comparison condition by geographical location, with all eight comparison classes coming from the same school. Students in each classroom were pre-tested and divided by ability level into typical learners and at-risk learners. In the combined analysis sample that included both subgroups, 192 students from nine classrooms were in the treatment group and 126 students from eight classrooms were in the comparison group. The children were predominantly of European-American descent. Class sizes ranged from 18–28 students and all included at least one child with a disability.

Intervention Group

In addition to their typical pre-reading instruction, children in nine intervention classes were given more than twenty Ladders to Literacy activities, including sound isolation, first sounds, rhyming pictures, rhyming, onsets and rhymes with first letters, invented spelling, story grammar, and integrating spelling and reading. The district-sponsored 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 eight comparison classes received the same district-sponsored pre-reading curriculum as the intervention group and were introduced to the concept of rhyme. The eight comparison classes formed a Kindergarten center in one school. The teachers of these classes routinely planned their instruction together and shared materials. The students were matched 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 Letter-Word Identification subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement, and the Rhyme Production, Segmenting, Blending, and Rapid Letter Naming tests. 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

Teacher participants included general education Kindergarten teachers, Title I teachers and other supporting staff. In this traditional model of professional development, teacher training totaled three and a half days spaced across the school year. Teachers discussed implementation of activities, solved issues with materials, and shared data on the progress of their students. Training provided teachers with modeling and rehearsal of upcoming activities.

 

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