WWC review of this study

Preschoolers with developmental speech and/or language impairment: Efficacy of the Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) curriculum

Wilcox, M. J., Gray, S., & Reiser, M. (2020). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 51, 124-143. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED598842

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    289
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: February 2022

No statistically significant positive
findings
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Alphabetics outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL), phonological awareness subtest

Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
289 students

92.74

91.16

No

--
More Outcomes

Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening PreK (PALS-PreK): Lower-case letter recognition

Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
289 students

22.60

23.05

No

--

Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening PreK (PALS-PreK): Upper-case letter recognition

Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
289 students

N/A

N/A

No

--

Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening PreK (PALS-PreK): Letter names

Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
289 students

17.57

18.34

No

--

Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening PreK (PALS-PreK): Beginning sound awareness

Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
289 students

N/A

N/A

No

--
General Literacy Achievement outcomes—Indeterminate effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals 2nd Edition: Preschool (CELF-P2) Core Language Subtest - English

Teaching Early Literacy and Language (TELL) vs. Business as usual

0 Days

Full sample;
289 students

90.27

89.52

No

--


Evidence Tier rating based solely on this study. This intervention may achieve a higher tier when combined with the full body of evidence.

Characteristics of study sample as reported by study author.


  • Female: 30%
    Male: 70%

  • Urban
  • Race
    Asian
    3%
    Black
    2%
    Native American
    2%
    Other or unknown
    39%
    White
    54%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    25%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    75%

Setting

The 58 schools in this study were recruited from 15 school districts. All of these districts had preschool programs through Part B of IDEA for young children with developmental disabilities, including children with developmental speech and/or language impairment (DSLI). These preschool programs also enrolled children with typical development. The authors did not specify the location or urbanicity of these districts beyond that they were in a large metropolitan area.

Study sample

All teachers were female and most were white (88%), followed by Hispanic (6%), multiracial (3%), and African-American/Black (2%). One teacher did not provide race/ethnicity information. All students in the study qualified for IDEA Part B preschool services by state criteria. None had an intellectual disability or other developmental or physical issue outside of developmental speech and/or language impairment (DSLI). Most (162) had a language or speech and language impairment, and 127 had only a speech impairment. Most (202) were boys and most were white (54%), followed by Hispanic (25%), multiracial (12%), Asian (3%), African-American/Black (2%), and American Indian (2%). Students were between 46 and 63 months old. Most (80%) students spoke English and it was the primary language in their homes. For the remaining students, English and another language were spoken at home.

Intervention Group

The intervention condition is a whole-class curriculum that embeds incidental and explicit oral language and early literacy teaching practices within planned learning opportunities. TELL includes the use of several practices known to support early literacy and language development, including general supporting strategies, explicit language teaching strategies, alphabet and print concepts, phonological awareness, and emergent writing. The curriculum includes 34 weeks of instruction with 14 thematic units (each lasting 2 weeks), with review weeks conducted every 5 weeks. Prior to review weeks teachers track student progress using curriculum-based measures to determine review week goals and lessons.

Comparison Group

In the comparison condition, teachers used whatever curriculum they would have used if they were not participating in the study. Nearly half (47%) reported using no curriculum, 44% reported using either State Standards or "Teaching Strategies Gold," 6% reported using the Creative Curriculum, 2% reported using Splash into PreK, and 1% reported using High Scope.

Support for implementation

Teachers receive one 6-hour training session held before the school year starts. That session is followed by 10 group content training sessions (20 hours total with three in August and September and the rest conducted between October and April); individual in-class coaching (weekly in fall semester and biweekly in spring semester); and weekly reflective discussions. Coaches have master's degrees in early childhood special education or reading and had taught and/or coached teachers in preschool classrooms serving young children with developmental disabilities for over 10 years. The coaching cycle was made up of modeling, observation, feedback, reflection, and planning for the next visit. Coaches also checked on the fidelity of implementation.

 

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