Saturday, May 28, 2011

Accelerating Preschoolers’ Early Literacy Development Through Classroom-Based Teacher–Child Storybook Reading and Explicit Print Referencing (2009)

L. M. Justice, J. N. Kaderavek, X. Fan, a. Sofka, and Hunt, A. (2009).Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 40, 67–85. DOI: 0161-1461/09/4001-0067

Children at risk for delayed reading development need a preventive approach to developing emergent literacy skills through concept of print training in preschools. This study examined the effectiveness of print referencing style among low SES children. (Justice & Ezell, 2000, 2002)  Teachers used verbal and nonverbal techniques to draw children’s attention to print in storybooks. Examples: “Do you see the letter S on this page?” “That word says ‘Splash!" (Justice & Ezell, 2004). The author's premise is that children will learn about print through a quality, engaging experience with explicit instruction from a teacher (Justice & Ezell, 2004).

Review of Literature (Important quotes)
"Print knowledge is a multi-determined aspect of development that is influenced by both genes and environment (Lemelin et al., 2007; Petrill, Deater-Deckard, Schatschneider, & Davis, 2005).Lemelin and colleagues’ recent research on the school readiness of 840 children showed that alphabet knowledge was less heritable (i.e., genetically influenced) compared to other indicators of school readiness, such as mathematic ability. We can interpret such findings as showing that print knowledge is strongly influenced by the environments in which children are raised and, by extension, is an aspect of development that can be readily modified with changes to the environment" (p. 68).

"A preventive orientation advocates for broad implementation of systematic and explicit early literacy
instruction delivered within early childhood programs so as to prevent early delays in literacy development from progressing into serious reading and writing disabilities that require intensive and
expensive remediation (Torgesen, 1998)" (p. 68).

Participants: 106 preschool children in 23 classrooms serving disadvantaged preschoolers. Children demonstrated risk factors including poverty, family stress (unemployment, homelessness), or suspected /diagnosed developmental delays.

Treatments: Teachers randomly assigned to a condition -14 classrooms used print referencing style for 120 large-group storybook reading sessions over 30 weeks. (Focused on two print targets in each session)
Teachers in 9 control group classrooms read the same storybooks but used their usual style.

Materials: books contained print salient features - speech bubbles, font changes, and accentuated words. Selections were age appropriate ( for 3-5 yr olds). Books were mostly fictional, but included
poetry, informational texts, and alphabet books.

Teacher training:  For experimental condition, teachers attended a 1-day workshop that informed them of research on print knowledge, the importance of early literacy instruction for pre-k children, and the specifics of print referencing reading style. Teachers practiced style with peers, then had a follow-up 3-hr workshop (midway through 30 weeks) to review practices and fidelity to treatment. They videotaped themselves once every two weeks, and they also received written feedback on their print referencing sessions during weeks 8 and 22.

Outcome Measures:
(a) child print knowledge outcomes
Upper-Case Alphabet Knowledge and Name-Writing Ability subtests of the Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening:PreK (Invernizzi, Meier, & Sullivan, 2004).
Preschool Word and Print Awareness assessment (Justice & Ezell, 2001; Justice, Bowles, & Skibbe,
(b) classroom quality.
Classroom Assessment Scoring System—PreK (CLASS–PreK; Pianta, La Paro, & Hamre, 2005)
observation checklists conducted by trained GAs, measured instructional support, emotional support, and classroom management

Children in the print referencing treatment made larger gains from fall to spring and showed medium effect sizes on 3 standardized measures of print knowledge: print concept knowledge, alphabet knowledge, and name writing.
Controlling for classroom instructional quality, the two groups had statistically different gain scores on the three early literacy measures.

Research indicates a longitudinal relationship between preschool knowledge of print and later reading achievement (National Early Literacy Panel, 2004; Storch & Whitehurst, 2002). Children who understand rules about print, names (letters, words, sentences), and the purpose of print are ready for beginning reading instruction, able to connect their print knowledge with the alphabetic principle. On the other hand, children with little knowledge of print (according to longitudinal studies) are more likely to exhibit reading difficulties in later elementary grades (Catts, Fey, Tomblin, & Zhang, 2002; Juel, 1988). Also of interest, research has shown "that both parents and educators can learn to embed explicit references to print into reading interactions with relatively little training (Ezell & Justice, 2000)."  (p. 76)

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