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Read It Again—Mobile: Technology-Supported Language & Literacy Intervention for Preschoolers At-Risk

Year: 2015
Name of Institution:
Ohio State University
Goal: Development and Innovation
Principal Investigator:
Justice, Laura
Award Amount: $1,499,972
Award Period: 3 years (8/1/2015-7/31/2018)
Award Number: R305A150274

Description:

Co-Principal Investigator: Kui Xie and Jessica Logan

Purpose: The purpose of this project is to develop a mobile version of an efficacious early language and literacy intervention called Read It Again-PreK! (Efficacy of Read It Again! In Rural Preschool Settings), to improve preschoolers' language and literacy skills. Children's early language and literacy skills are predictive of later reading comprehension and long-term academic achievement. In addition, the quality of language and literacy instruction and teachers' effective implementation of curricular content are related to children's acquisition of important language and literacy skills. The research team will further develop the existing intervention and use technology to improve key components of the intervention in an effort to support the quality of teachers' instructional practices, implementation of the intervention, and improve child outcomes.

Project Activities: Key project activities will include the development of a mobile version of existing and new intervention components, field tests to examine teachers' use of the intervention, and a pilot study to evaluate the impact of the intervention on teachers' instructional practices and child outcomes.

Products: The products of this project include a fully developed intervention, Read It Again-Mobile, which will be available free of charge on the internet (ccec.ehe.osu.edu) through a web portal and as a mobile app. Researchers will also produce peer-reviewed publications.

Structured Abstract

Setting: This study will take place in Ohio in different types of preschool programs, including Head Start, early childhood special education classrooms, and private child care centers.

Sample: Study participants will include children from low-income backgrounds and children with disabilities. The initial field test will include 30 teachers and 300 children. The second field test will include 15 teachers and 150 children. The pilot study will include 30 teachers and 300 children.

Intervention: Read It Again (RIA) is a curriculum supplement. It includes 15 components that address three key elements that are expected to improve children's language and literacy skills: (1) a scope and sequence of instruction; (2) explicit instruction embedded in a literacy context; and (3) progress monitoring of children's growth accompanied by suggestions for differentiated instruction. The scope and sequence includes 23 instructional objectives that are implemented over a 30-week period of instruction. The content targets the development of children's vocabulary knowledge, narrative skills, print knowledge, and phonological awareness. Explicit instruction is provided via 60 lesson plans that guide teachers' use of explicit instruction to improve children's language and literacy skills. Teachers are also provided with progress monitoring tools and guidance to differentiate instruction for children in their classrooms. In this project, the research team will develop Read It Again-Mobile (RIA-Mobile), a technology-based version of the intervention components. They will develop digital versions of existing intervention components and professional development and learning management supports for effective implementation of key elements of the intervention.

Research Design and Methods: The researchers will develop, refine, implement, and evaluate the promise of the intervention over a three-year period. Researchers will collect data from teachers and children in each year of the study. Classroom observation data will be collected in the pilot study year. In year 1, the researchers will create a prototype of the app and digital versions of all 15 intervention components. In year 2, they will conduct two field tests to examine the usability and feasibility of the intervention. They will use data from each field test to revise the app and the intervention components in preparation for the year 3 pilot study. In year 3, the research team will conduct a pilot study to examine the impact of the mobile version of the intervention on teacher practice and child outcomes. They will randomly assign classrooms and teachers to treatment and control conditions.

Control Condition: For the year 3 pilot study, the comparison group will engage in typical classroom practices. The teachers will receive equivalent amounts of training and project materials (unrelated to the focus of RIA-Mobile) and tablet computers to use in their classrooms.

Key Measures: Data collection will include teacher questionnaires, classroom observations (pilot study only), in-app data analytics, and child assessments. The Classroom Assessment Scoring System will be used to rate classroom and teacher quality. Teachers will complete the Stages of Concern Questionnaire to assess their perceptions about educational innovations. Three subtests from the Test of Preschool Early Literacy will be used to assess children's vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and print knowledge. The Narrative Assessment Protocol will be used to assess children's narrative skills. The researchers will review data analytics, information collected while teachers are using the app, to examine teachers' use of the mobile version of the intervention content. Data about children's performance on progress monitoring assessments will be generated and used to inform the development of the app, as well as to examine teacher- and child-level outcomes.

Data Analytic Strategy: For the iterative development phase of the project, researchers will conduct both qualitative and quantitative data analyses to inform the development and refinement of the mobile version of the intervention. They will use systematic analysis of qualitative data to identify emerging patterns and themes. They will code and quantify notes from the initial field tests to examine teachers' implementation of the intervention. In the pilot study phase of the project, the research team will conduct multi-level analyses to examine the impact of the intervention on teachers' implementation of intervention components, the quality of teachers' language and literacy instruction, and children's language and literacy skills.

Related IES Projects: Efficacy of Read It Again! In Rural Preschool Settings (R305A080459); Read It Again! In Early Childhood Special Education (R324A130066)

Project Website: http://ccec.ehe.osu.edu/practice/ccec-curricula/read-it-again-pre-k/