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Cognition and Student Learning


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FY Awards

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Child Instruction Interactions in Early Reading: Examining Causal Effects of Individualized Instruction

Year: 2004
Name of Institution:
Florida State University
Goal: Development and Innovation
Principal Investigator:
Connor, Carol M.
Award Amount: $1,691,582
Award Period: 3 years
Award Number: R305H040013


Co-Principal Investigator(s): Morrison, Frederick

Purpose: Research in the early 2000s indicated that the effects of instruction on reading depended on the specific early language and literacy skills that children brought to school. This research supported the idea that reading instruction should be tailored to the strengths and weaknesses of the individual student. In this project, the researchers aimed to develop and evaluate an approach to professional development and technology use designed to enable teachers to provide effective individualized reading instruction that would enhance children's early reading skills. Additionally, they planned to examine the effects of individualized instruction on growth in students' letter and word recognition as well as passage comprehension skills. The researchers' overall goal for this project was to produce new professional development and technology support tools to help teachers provide the kinds of individualized reading instruction that may be useful in promoting all children's early reading achievement.

Structured Abstract


The first phase of this project is devoted to developing a training program to show teachers how to create and implement lesson plans based on individual students' developing skills. In this phase, researchers will also create software and web-based materials for use by teachers that will analyze student assessment data and produce recommendations for individualized instruction. Following that, a study will be carried out to evaluate the efficacy of this professional development and technology support approach.

From an economically diverse school district, the researchers will randomly assign 20 first grade teachers to receive the training and technology support for implementing individualized instruction or the district's typical professional development training. A variety of observational methods will be used to determine whether teachers who receive the professional development and technology support program are more effective in providing individualized instruction than teachers who participate in district-typical professional development. The impact of the program in improving student literacy skills will be evaluated by comparing student performance on standardized measures of literacy skills across treatment and control classrooms.

Related IES Projects: Child-Instruction Interactions in Reading: Examining Causal Effects of Individualized Instruction in Second and Third Grade (R305B070074), Optimizing Learning Opportunities for Students' (OLOS) Early Learning Observation System (R305N160050),Making Individualized Literacy Instruction Available to All Teachers: Adapting the Assessment to Instruction (A2i) Software for Multiple Real-World Contexts (R305A160404), Personalizing Literacy Instruction for English Learners (R305A210077), Developing A2i Spanish Adaptive Progress Monitoring Assessments for PK-3rd Grade (R305A210136)

Products and Publications

ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

WWC Review: Connor, C. M., Dombek, J., Crowe, E. C., Spencer, M., Tighe, E. L., Coffinger, S., ... & Petscher, Y. (2017). Acquiring science and social studies knowledge in kindergarten through fourth grade: Conceptualization, design, implementation, and efficacy testing of content-area literacy instruction (CALI). Journal of educational psychology, 109(3), 301 [WWC Review]

Select Publications:

Book chapters

Morrison, F.J., and Connor, C.M. (2009). The Transition to School: Child-Instruction Transactions in Learning to Read. In A. Sameroff (Ed.), The Transactional Model of Development: How Children and Contexts Shape Each Other (pp. 183–201). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Journal articles

Al Otaiba, S., Connor, C., Lane, H., Kosanovich, M.L., Schatschneider, C., Dyrlund, A.K., and Wright, T.L. (2008). Reading First Kindergarten Classroom Instruction and Students' Growth In Phonological Awareness and Letter NamingóDecoding Fluency. Journal Of School Psychology, 46(3): 281–314.

Cameron, C.E., Connor, C.M., Morrison, F.J., and Jewkes, A.M. (2008). Effects of Classroom Organization on Letter-Word Reading in First Grade. Journal of School Psychology, 46(2): 173–192.

Connor, C. M., Dombek, J., Crowe, E. C., Spencer, M., Tighe, E. L., Coffinger, S., Zargar, E., Wood, T., and Petscher, Y. (2017). Acquiring Science and Social Studies Knowledge in Kindergarten through Fourth Grade: Conceptualization, Design, Implementation, and Efficacy Testing of Content-Area Literacy Instruction. Journal of Educational Psychology, 109(3): 301–320.

Connor, C.M., Morrison, F.J., and Underwood, P. (2007). A Second Chance in Second Grade: The Independent and Cumulative Impact of First- and Second-Grade Reading Instruction on Students' Letter-Word Reading Skill Growth. Scientific Studies of Reading, 11(3): 199–233. Connor, C.M., Morrison, F.J., Fishman, B.J., Schatschneider, C., and Underwood, P. (2007). The Early Years: Algorithm-Guided Individualized Reading Instruction. Science, 315(5811): 464–465.

Connor, C.M., Piasta, S.B., Fishman, B., Glasney, S., Schatschneider, C., Crowe, E., Underwood, P., and Morrison, F.J. (2009). Individualizing Student Instruction Precisely: Effects of Child by Instruction Interactions on First Graders' Literacy Development. Child Development, 80(1): 77–100.

Piasta, S.B., Connor, C.M., Fishman, B., and Morrison, F.J. (2009). Teachers' Knowledge of Literacy, Classroom Practices, and Student Reading Growth. Scientific Studies of Reading, 13(3): 224–248.

Terry, N., Connor, C., Thomas-Tate, S., and Love, M. (2010). Examining Relationships Among Dialect Variation, Literacy Skills, and School Context in First Grade. Journal of Speech, Language and Hearing Research, 53(1): 126–145.