Authors: Goldstein H, Peters-Sanders LA, Madsen KM, Williams JM, Drobisz J, Broome EA, Freda S, McKeever LA, Spencer TD
Title: Efficacy of a Supplemental Small-Group Early Literacy Intervention Implemented by Early Childhood Educators
Source: American Journal of Speech Language Pathology 2024 33(1): 220-236
Year: 2024
Research Design: Randomised Controlled Trial
Rating Score: N/A
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PURPOSE: Phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge are fundamental building blocks for literacy development. We identified preschoolers with persistent delays in these skills and evaluated the efficacy of a supplemental curriculum to remediate deficits in early literacy skills. METHOD(S): Using a cluster design, 21 classrooms were randomly assigned to early literacy versus language intervention conditions. Sixty children identified through fall semester assessments of phonological awareness and alphabet knowledge were enrolled in small-group instruction. Teachers completed eLearning modules, used a digital platform to enter data and facilitate data-based decision making, received practice-based coaching, and delivered 12 weekly units of an early literacy curriculum. Comparison teachers delivered similarly administered small-group language instruction. RESULT(S): Large effects were evident for letter sounds, phoneme segmentation, first sound, and first sound fluency measures (d = 0.92, 4.77, 1.15, and 1.50, respectively), and nonsignificant, small effects for letter naming and blending measures (d = 0.26 and 0.27). DISCUSSION: This early literacy intervention package had practical benefits, with 90% of experimental group preschoolers exceeding the phonemic awareness benchmark for beginning kindergarten compared to 45% in the comparison group, for example. Providing preschool teachers with tools and support for implementing a tiered approach to early literacy intervention holds promise for producing impressive gains in skills required for children to succeed in later schooling.

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