WWC review of this study

Supplementing literacy instruction with a media-rich intervention: Results of a randomized controlled trial [Media-rich early literacy supplement vs. media-rich science supplement]

Penuel, W. R., Bates, L., Gallagher, L. P., Pasnik, S., Llorente, C., Townsend, E., Hupert, N., Domínguez, X., & VanderBorght, M. (2012). Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27(1), 115–127. Retrieved from: https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ947504

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
     examining 
    396
     Students
    , grade
    PK

Reviewed: February 2022

At least one finding shows strong evidence of effectiveness
At least one statistically significant positive finding
Meets WWC standards without reservations
Reading & Literacy Related outcomes—Statistically significant positive effects found
Outcome
measure
Comparison Period Sample Intervention
mean
Comparison
mean
Significant? Improvement
    index
Evidence
tier

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

Media-rich early literacy supplement vs. Other intervention

4 Weeks

Full sample;
396 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
21
 
More Outcomes

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

Media-rich early literacy supplement vs. Other intervention

4 Weeks

Full sample;
396 students

N/A

N/A

Yes

 
 
16
 

Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening PreK (PALS): Beginning Sound Awareness

Media-rich early literacy supplement vs. Other intervention

4 Weeks

Full sample;
396 students

N/A

N/A

No

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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: 51%
    Male: 49%

  • Urban
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    California, New York
  • Race
    Asian
    10%
    Black
    28%
    Native American
    3%
    Other or unknown
    4%
    White
    6%
  • Ethnicity
    Hispanic    
    53%
    Not Hispanic or Latino    
    47%

Setting

The study took place in 80 preschool classrooms that served primarily low-income children in the New York City and San Francisco metropolitan areas.

Study sample

Sixty-eight percent of the overall sample of children were low-income and 26 percent of children had a mother with less than a high school diploma. 51 percent of children were female, 53 percent were Hispanic, 28 percent were African American, 10 percent were Asian or Pacific Islander, 6 percent were White, and 3 percent were Native American.

Intervention Group

The intervention group received the PBS Kids Raising Readers Curriculum Supplement. The intervention condition was a literacy-focused curriculum supplement with digital media materials and coaching. The curriculum supplement focused on developing four early literacy skills: letter naming, identification of letter sounds, understanding of story and print concepts, and phonological awareness. The curriculum supplement took 10 weeks to implement and was intended to provide participating children with 25 hours of activities. These hours were in addition to the literacy program already in place within the participating centers.

Comparison Group

The comparison group supplement focused on science and included media elements with a 10-week science supplement video that consisted of full episodes of Sid the Science Kid (produced by KCET/Los Angeles with Jim Henson Productions) and self-contained “focused viewing” segments from Peep and the Big Wide World (produced by WGBH Educational Foundation). Teachers guided children in exploring science content that was conceptually linked to transformation and change. Activities and instructional content were based on everyday experiences that were easily observable with the five senses. Teachers assigned to the comparison group also received coaching; teachers provided parallel training and guidance to coaches about how to support implementation.

Support for implementation

Coaches provided assistance to teachers aimed at supporting their implementation of the supplement. To develop the relationship between coaches and teachers, orientation sessions were held where coaches exchanged contact information with teachers and communicated their goals and expectations. Coaches reviewed materials that had been shipped to teachers and that included all the digital and print content required to implement the supplement. In the field, in the first four to five weeks of the supplement, coaches were instructed to lead activities that had been scheduled that day, co-lead them with teachers, or observe as teachers implemented the activities, as appropriate. In subsequent weeks, the study team gave coaches discretion as to how many times to visit sites, though they continued to make weekly contact with sites to complete implementation logs. After the first five weeks, coaches could decide how often to visit classrooms, in consultation with the study team directors. If a site was having difficulty with implementation, then the coach was to visit the site.

 

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