Monday, February 14, 2011

(2005) Descriptive-developmental performance of at-risk preschoolers on early literacy tasks. Reading Psychology

Justice, L. M., Invernizzi, M. A., Geller, K., Sullivan, A., & Welsch, J. (2005). Descriptive-developmental performance of at-risk preschoolers on early literacy tasks: Associations with age, race, and gender. Reading Psychology, 26, 1-25.

Large study of screening data from VA Early Reading Initiative (N=2161) 4 & 5 yr olds in at-risk preschool programs, indicating literacy deficits of preschoolers prior to entering Kindergarten.

Screening tests:
Written Language Awareness: Upper-case Alphabet Knowledge, Print Knowledge, Concept of Word, Name Writing;
Phonological Awareness: Rhyme, Beginning Sounds, Verbal Memory.

Findings: All seven screening tests were needed to account for variability in performance

Manova Results
·         Statistically significant difference among age levels (4yr N=1952; 5 yr N=209); age correlated with performance on written language awareness and phonological awareness tasks with the exception of verbal memory scores.
·         Both Af American (N=1166) & Caucasian children (N=891) performed better than Hispanic (N=131)
·         Girls outperformed boys on all tasks except for rhyme (small effect sizes on individual tasks – only .11 for beginning sounds)

Findings converge with many studies showing that preschool children display measurable levels of literacy skills in a variety of areas linked to later literacy achievement (p. 20).

“Empirically derived descriptions of early literacy achievements for children who are at risk is an important arena for research and practice given current national and local initiatives focused on prevention of reading difficulties in vulnerable populations” (p. 19).

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