[R-0024] S2. Instructional Strategies

Citation: Bernhard, J. K., Winsler, A., Bleiker, C., Ginieniewicz, J., & Madigan, A. L. (2008). “Read My Story!” Using the Early Authors Program to promote early literacy among diverse, urban preschool children in poverty. Journal of Education For Students Placed At Risk, 13, 76-105. doi:10.1080/10824660701860458

Abstract: This article evaluates the utility of the Early Authors Program, a 12-month early literacy intervention emphasizing highly meaningful language interactions that was implemented in childcare facilities in an ethnically and linguistically diverse, urban, low-income community. Children learn to be writers and readers by creating their own self-authored, storybook texts, supported by the sensitive guidance of adults. Children (n = 280) in 32 experimental group centers and children (n = 87) in 9 similar control group centers were individually assessed at pretest and posttest on measures of language and cognition. Teachers completed pretest and posttest surveys and interviews, and interventionists were also interviewed. 3- to 5-year-old children receiving the intervention, as predicted, made significantly greater gains than the control group specifically on the child language measures but not on other measures. The quality of the classroom literacy environment and teachers literacy-promoting practices improved considerably in centers receiving the intervention. Teachers reported high satisfaction and sustainability for the program.

 Integration: This article reports on an evaluation of an early literacy intervention program, the EAP, implemented in Miami-Dade County Florida in 2003. The 12-month intervention program approached literacy skills and attitudes through meaningful, empowering activities involving children and families. Finding interventions that work on a large scale to improve the emergent literacy of low-income children is critical and a key element of all contemporary policy and intervention efforts in the area of early childhood and school readiness (Barnett, 2002; Snow et al., 1998). This study evaluated the potential utility of a literacy intervention program that was implemented on a large scale in an ethnically and linguistically diverse sample of young children in poverty receiving subsidies to attend community-based childcare programs in an inner-city, urban environment. Results of this study show that the EAP shows great promise, at least for 3- to 4-year-olds. First, it is accessible, well-liked by caregivers, and appears able to be implemented on a fairly large scale. Participating early childhood teachers reported that they liked the intervention and that they felt like they could continue to implement EAP in their classrooms without assistance. Second, the literacy environment of the early childhood classrooms, both in terms of the availability and quality of literacy materials and teachers literacy-supportive teaching practices, increased considerably in the EAP classrooms. Third, and most important, independently, directly-assessed child developmental outcomes were found to be enhanced in EAP classrooms relative to control classrooms, at least for children 3 to 4 years old. More specifically, 3- and 4-year-old children who participated in the EAP intervention showed greater gains than control children in language and literacy development, according to all measures, the PLS-R, the LAP-D (expressive and receptive language), and teacher reports of children’s interaction with books.

Content Focus: Instruction and Teaching; Teaming and Collaboration; Language and Literacy Experiences

 Notes: Interesting article; long.

Barnett,W. S. (2002). Early childhood education. In A. Molnar (Ed.), School reform proposals: The research evidence (pp. 1–26). Greenwich, CT: Information Age.

Snow, C. E., Burns, M. S., & Griffin, P (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.