WWC review of this study

An investigation of the effects of a prereading intervention on the early literacy skills of children at risk of emotional disturbance and reading problems.

Nelson, J. R., Benner, G. J., & Gonzales, J. (2005). Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 13(1), 3–12. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ694462

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    36
     Students
    , grade
    K
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: June 2016

Study sample characteristics were not reported.
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations

Reviewed: June 2007

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

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Initial Sound Fluency subtest

Stepping Stones to Literacy vs. None

Posttest

Kindergarten;
36 students

21.31

11.3

Yes

 
 
40
More Outcomes

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Nonsense Words Fluency subtest

Stepping Stones to Literacy vs. None

Posttest

Kindergarten;
36 students

12.34

3.9

Yes

 
 
33

Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP): Phonological Awareness subtest

Stepping Stones to Literacy vs. None

Posttest

Kindergarten;
36 students

98.24

90.9

Yes

 
 
28

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Phoneme Segmentation Fluency subtest

Stepping Stones to Literacy vs. None

Posttest

Kindergarten;
36 students

19.43

11.2

No

 
 
25

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Letter Naming Fluency subtest

Stepping Stones to Literacy vs. None

Posttest

Kindergarten;
36 students

25.18

19.9

No

 
 
14

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • 6% English language learners

  • 53% Free or reduced price lunch

  • Female: 6%
    Male: 94%
  • Race
    Asian
    3%
    Black
    28%
    White
    61%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic
    8%
    Not Hispanic
    92%
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    Midwest

Setting

The study took place in seven elementary schools in a medium-sized Midwestern city.

Study sample

Forty-two kindergarten students with behavior problems were randomly assigned to either the intervention (Stepping Stones to Literacy) or the comparison condition. Three students who were performing at or above average with respect to phonological awareness skills were removed from each condition. Therefore, the analysis included 36 students (18 students per condition). Most of the participants were male students (17 males and one female in each condition). Minority students were 44% of the intervention group and 34% of the comparison group. The percentages of students eligible for free/reduced price lunch were 72% and 44% in the intervention and comparison groups, respectively. One student in each condition was an English language learner.

Intervention Group

Over a five-week period, intervention group students received Stepping Stones to Literacy as a supplement to the core curriculum (Open Court Reading and early literacy developmental activities designed by the classroom teachers). The Stepping Stones to Literacy program consisted of twenty-five 20-minute one-on-one daily tutoring lessons. According to reports by tutors and independent observers, the tutoring sessions were implemented with a high level of fidelity to the Stepping Stones to Literacy curriculum.

Comparison Group

Comparison group students received the core curriculum and no other supplemental instruction. The study indicated that no attempt was made to change any of the teachers’ regular instructional practices in the classroom.

Outcome descriptions

The primary outcome measures were the Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP): Phonological Awareness subtest and the Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS): Initial Sound Fluency, Phoneme Segmentation Fluency, Letter Naming Fluency, and Nonsense Words Fluency subtests (see Appendix A2 for more detailed descriptions of outcome measures).

Support for implementation

Information on training of tutors was not reported in the study.

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.

  • Nelson, J. R., Cooper, P., & Gonzalez, J. (2003). Stepping Stones to Literacy: What Works Clearinghouse submission. (Available from the Center for At-Risk Children's Services, 202 Barkley Center, Lincoln, NE 68583-0732).

 

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