Efficacy of Read It Again! In Rural Preschool Settings
Purpose: The purpose of this project is to test the efficacy of a fully developed language and literacy curricular supplement for preschoolers participating in need-based programs in rural communities. Read It Again! targets a systematic and explicit progression of high-priority skills in four language/literacy domains (narrative ability, vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and print knowledge). These learning domains represent high-priority instructional targets as they are consistently linked to later developments in word recognition and reading comprehension, are likely to be under-developed among at-risk pupils during the preschool years, and are amenable to improvement within the context of high-quality instruction.
Project Activities: The research team will examine the efficacy of Read It Again!, a 30-week, 60-lesson program that targets a systematic and explicit progression of high-priority skills in four language/literacy domains (narrative ability, vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and print knowledge). Read It Again! was conceived for low-cost at-scale use by preschool educators working in rural settings in an iterative design process designed to bridge the research-to-practice gaps that negatively impact the scalability of many current programs into rural settings. Specifically, Read It Again! was designed for both reliability, whereby preschool educators can implement it with high fidelity regardless of background knowledge, prior educational training, and program configuration, and accessibility, whereby preschool educators can fully access the program at no cost and need few additional materials or professional development supports for its implementation.
Products: Products from this project include published reports of the efficacy of a supplemental literacy curriculum for high-risk preschoolers in rural communities.
Setting: The participating preschool programs are located in rural Appalachian communities in a four-state region.
Population: In total, 90 preschool teachers and an estimated 450 four-year-old children within their classrooms will participate.
Intervention: Read It Again! is a 30-week, 60-lesson program that targets a systematic and explicit progression of high-priority skills in four language/literacy domains (narrative ability, vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and print knowledge). Read It Again! was conceived for low-cost at-scale use by preschool educators working in rural settings.
Research Designs and Methods: With classroom as the level of analysis, teachers are randomly assigned to one of three conditions. In the Read It Again!: Traditional Professional Development condition, 30 teachers implement Read It Again! with their pupils for 30 weeks following a traditional one-day 12-hr introductory workshop; teachers receive the Read It Again! manual containing 60 lesson plans and all instructional supplies needed to fully implement Read It Again!. In the Read It Again!: Technology-Facilitated Professional Development condition, 30 teachers adhere to the same activities as the Traditional condition but they also complete self-study video-based lessons on quality implementation (15 20-min video-based professional development lessons over 30 weeks) .
Control Condition: In the comparison condition, 30 teachers implement their business as usual classroom programs and practices.
Key Measures: The frequency and quality of language and literacy instruction in each classroom will be studied over the academic year using systematic observational procedures. Additionally, in the fall and spring of the preschool year and in the fall of kindergarten, five children randomly selected from each classroom complete a standardized battery of language and literacy measures to determine intervention effects. For language ability, three subtests (Sentence Structure, Word Structure, and Expressive Vocabulary) of the Clinical Evaluation of Language Fundamentals-Preschool:2 (CELF-P:2) will be administered to children. A narrative sample of a fictional story will be elicited from each child, videotaped, and coded using the Narrative Assessment Protocol. For literacy outcomes, two subtests (Print Knowledge and Phonological Awareness) of the Test of Preschool Early Literacy (TOPEL) will be administered to participating children.
Data Analytic Strategy: To investigate program effects, the research team will use a variety of statistical analyses ranging from basic descriptive analyses to multi-level modeling of children’s language and literacy growth over time.
Publications from this project:
Pentimonti, J.M. and Justice, L.M. (2010). Teachers' Use of Scaffolding Strategies During Read-Alouds in the Preschool Classroom. Early Childhood Education Journal, 37: 241–248.
Turnbull, K., Bowles, R.P., Skibbe, L.E., Justice, L.M., and Wiggins, A.K. (2010). Theoretical Explanations For Preschoolers' Lowercase Alphabet Knowledge. Journal Of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 53 (6): 1757–1768.