Authors: Girolametto L, Weitzman E, Greenberg J
Title: Facilitating emergent literacy: Efficacy of a model that partners speech-language pathologists and educators
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2012 21(1): 47-63
Year: 2012
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: 05/10
This rating is confirmed
Eligibility specified - Y
Random allocation - Y
Concealed allocation - N
Baseline comparability - N
Blind subjects - N
Blind therapists - N
Blind assessors - Y
Adequate follow-up - Y
Intention-to-treat analysis - N
Between-group comparisons - Y
Point estimates and variability - Y

Purpose: This study examined the efficacy of a professional development program for early childhood educators that facilitated emergent literacy skills in preschoolers. The program, led by a speech-language pathologist, focused on teaching alphabet knowledge, print concepts, sound awareness, and decontextualized oral language within naturally occurring classroom interactions. Method: Twenty educators were randomly assigned to experimental and control groups. Educators each recruited 3 to 4 children from their classrooms to participate. The experimental group participated in 18 hr of group training and 3 individual coaching sessions with a speech-language pathologist. The effects of intervention were examined in 30 min of videotaped interaction, including storybook reading and a post-story writing activity. Results: At posttest, educators in the experimental group used a higher rate of utterances that included print/sound references and decontextualized language than the control group. Similarly, the children in the experimental group used a significantly higher rate of utterances that included print/sound references and decontextualized language compared to the control group. Conclusion: These findings suggest that professional development provided by a speech-language pathologist can yield short-term changes in the facilitation of emergent literacy skills in early childhood settings. Future research is needed to determine the impact of this program on the children's long-term development of conventional literacy skills.

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