Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Technical Report on Early Childhood Literacy Research (2009)

WestEd. (2009). Technical Report: Recommendations for Future Early Childhood Literacy Research. National Institute for Literacy: Early Childhood Literacy. Washington, D.C.

Identified needs: 

Target children from birth to 3 yrs with more measures of early literacy to determine if there's a broader impact of early childhood intervention.

Increase experience with early writing and enhance language development.

Focus on including parents in interventions as well as in the classroom, to increase the effect on language development.

Research studies of younger children should examine complex interventions aimed at improving children's functioning with multiple measures, e.g., rapid naming, print awareness, name writing, language development beyond vocabulary.

Prioritize Research (what should be done first)

  • Identify prerequisites to reading and adequate levels of performance. What can be done to increase the number of preschoolers attaining the determined level of competence?
  • Study children's writing
  • More studies on parent involvement and onset of children's early language and literacy development.
  • We don't know about the impact of the family.

Research Design Issues
Research often lacks:

  • comparison groups with random assignment
  • info on reliability and validity of researcher developed measures
  • adequate sample sizes
  • details for replication and analysis
  • appropriate statistical analysis

Research Needs

  • A wider range of outcome measures to increase the quality of the design
  • Studies should address the scalability of the intervention within the context of actual classrooms implemented by preschool teachers.
  • Don't resist school settings
  • Develop a deep understanding of how to get good implementation in classrooms
  • Background characteristics to report demographics including language, developmental delays, SES, household make-up, child behavior
  • Evidence of equal variance between groups indicating all from the same population. 

Domains of early literacy skills and instructional practices to address in research:

  • alphabet knowledge and fluency at naming letters
  • phonological awareness
  • rapid naming of pictures/objects
  • name writing and other writing
  • phonological memory (ability to remember and repeat spoken information)

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