Let’s Begin with the Letter People and the comparison were implemented in full-day Head Start and public pre-K (Title I and non-Title I) programs in Houston, Texas.
For the Let’s Begin with the Letter People group, 7% of the children were Black, 33% were White, and the remaining 60% were multiple races/other/unspecified. Forty-nine percent were Hispanic (race unspecified). For the comparison group, 19% of the children were Black, 24% were White, 7% were Asian or Pacific Islander, and the remaining 50% were multiple races/other/unspecified. Forty percent of the comparison group were Hispanic (race unspecified).
Let’s Begin with the Letter People (LBLP) is a prekindergarten curriculum in which literacy learning is integrated across topic areas including science, health and safety, art, mathematics, spatial concepts, and music, as well as development of large and small motor skills. This curriculum focuses on supporting development of literacy and language skills such as oral language, phonological and phonemic awareness, and letter knowledge.
The curriculum lessons are provided in multiple contexts (such as circle time, small groups, and large groups) and activities (like center activities and story times). Classroom practices include teacher directed activities, application of skills, and independent practice on curriculum activities. The LBLP classroom includes clearly defined interest centers (for example, Paint Corner, Drama Center, and Mathematics). The curriculum materials include Letter People (huggables). Each Letter Person represents a letter of the alphabet and has distinguishing characteristics that are associated with the sound represented by the letter.
Teachers in the comparison condition used teacher-developed, nonspecific curricula.
Support for implementation
Teachers received curriculum implementation training prior to the start of the 2003-2004 school year. The teacher sample included 45 teachers who participated in the pilot year of the study (2002-2003), and seven new teachers who started in 2003-2004. A total of 44 (37 returning) teachers participated in the study during the second year of implementation. The new teachers received 12 hours and returning teachers received 6 hours of curriculum implementation training.